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Frequently Asked Budget Questions

FAQ for the Area Budget:

 

Q.)  What do the budget categories cover?

 

A.) Categories of income include donations from members who attend the Area World Service Committee (AWSC) meetings; group & district meetings; Spring, Fall & Delegate’s Assemblies; as well as donations from the Area Convention Committee; and refunds from deposits made by the Area on behalf of Assemblies & Conventions (ie: meeting space).

 

Categories of expenses for trusted servants cover the administrative costs of doing Area business (stamps, envelopes, photocopies, printing, etc.) as well as travel (gas, food, lodging) to three AWSC meetings and three Area Assemblies each year.  The budget also covers annual expenses for our Area Delegate to attend the World Service Conference in Virginia Beach (Our Fair Share) and the North East Regional Delegates Meeting (NERD) that takes place throughout the U.S. Northeast.  Round-Up Chair incurs additional travel costs related to Sugarloaf; and the AIS incurs costs for the 1-800 telephone number.    Action Groups are members who meet at the Spring & Fall Assemblies to create projects that cover Public Outreach, Alateen, CAL/History, and Membership Outreach (each w/ $100 budget for admin).    

 

Q.) What are the dates of the annual budget?

A.) January 1 – December 31.

 

Q.) When is the budget created?

A.) The Finance Committee meets each May at the Delegate’s Assembly to create the budget for the upcoming year. That budget is then presented at the September AWSC meeting for approval.  Then the District Representatives discuss the budget with the GRs at their District meetings.  The GRs discuss it with their group members.  At the Friday GR Caucus at the Fall Assembly, the voting GRs discuss their members’ views of the budget, and suggest changes.   The budget is discussed/changed/approved by the GRs on Saturday at the Fall Assembly (third weekend in October.)

 

Q.) When does the AFG Convention make a donation to the Area budget?

A.)  The Area Convention is organized by a committee of trusted servants who have a budget separate from the Area’s.  Each year during their three-year term, they forecast their expenses and work to ensure enough seed money is passed on from year-to-year to allow the continuation of the convention.   Planners must factor in annual increases in marketing materials and location costs, as well as the fluctuation of attendance, to arrive at the amount of seed money to keep.  Usually after the end of the three-year term, the convention makes a donation to the Area while ensuring enough seed money for the next committee. 

 

 

Q.) There seems to be a sizeable difference between the income  and expenses that are budgeted and the column to the right showing the actual income and expenses.  

 

A.)  In order to keep it simple, we budget total income to equal total expenses.  And since donations are voluntary, it’s difficult to accurately forecast.  The same is true for expenses.  Not all trusted servants use their budget.  For instance, a member may live near the location of the Fall Assembly and choose to sleep at home, saving lodging expenses.     

 

Q.) The Area Treasurer annually sends an appeal letter asking for individual appeals. Where is the line item for this income?

 

A.) We follow the process used by the World Service Office and include individual donations with group/district donations.  The Area Treasurer often receives checks with no designation of whether it is from the Area appeal letter or just a quarterly donation. To keep it simple, one line item is used. 

 

Q.) How often are adjustments made to the budget?

A.) The budget is a working document.  Adjustments are made to the budget as needed.  Some years no adjustments are made.  Other years, many adjustments are made.  It’s a dynamic process that responds to the needs of the Area, District and Groups as expressed at the Area Assemblies.

 

Q.) Are balances carried over into the next year?

 

A.) Yes, they represent the ample reserve (Concept 12, Warranty One) that allows our Area to continue to function despite fluctuations in the economy, membership levels, etc. 

Q.) Why don't we have any income from the AA Round Up?  We are part of that event and contribute to it? 

A.) Every three years the GRs vote to accept the invitation from the AA Area to join their Round-up.  Our Area also invites AA to join our Maine Area Convention.  This mutual support comes from a relationship based on gratitude for a shared history.  Equally important to remember is that we are separate organizations with separate budgets.  On Page 97 of the Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual 2014-2017 it states, “Al-Anon and Alateen groups do not accept contributions of money, goods or services from outside the Al-Anon membership in order to adhere to the Seventh Tradition of full self-support.”

 

Q.)  How much should we have in a cash balance?

A.)  The Area budget follows Concept 12, Warranty One, “that only sufficient operating funds, including an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle.”  Our goal is to have an ample reserve, which helps us cover expenses no matter how much money groups are able to donate and how many trusted servants use the full budget allotted to them.  This ensures that the Area continues to function irrespective of the financial condition of individual members or the economy as a whole.    

 

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