In 2021, the FA World Service Conference voted to include video conference and phone meetings as recognized and supported FA meetings. This change necessitates a review of how chapters organize themselves and evolve to meet new challenges.
Meeting groups located in a specific geographical area may find it helpful to join together to simplify communication and strengthen service work. Intergroups, Chapters, and Local Service Groups all serve a similar purpose but differ in their structure, scope, and requirements.
Provide support to all chapter-affiliated FA meetings
Promote unity and recovery through service and fellowship
Share the responsibility of reaching the still suffering food addict across a specific region
Further the FA program in accordance with the Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of FA
How Intergroups and Chapters Differ
Are legal nonprofit entities and are incorporated
Submit financial statements and other documentation as required by local law
Carry Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance
Write and follow intergroup bylaws. The intergroup bylaws meet the intergroup bylaw requirements outlined in Article IV Section 2 of the FA WSI Bylaws, Article IV, Section 2.
Are not legal entities nor incorporated
Are not required by law to submit financial statements or other documentation
Do not carry D&O Insurance
Do not write bylaws
Chapters are required to follow the bylaws established by their affiliated intergroup and provide that intergroup with an annual report. In turn, Chapters receive the same non-profit protections and insurance benefits as the intergroup.
How Chapters and Local Service Groups (LSGs) Differ
Are subgroups of intergroups (IG). A chapter registers with an IG and adopts the IG’s bylaws. Chapter business is conducted in accordance with the FA WSI Bylaws: Article IV, Section 3a-d and other relevant IG bylaws.
Receive the same non-profit protections and benefits as their affiliated IG. This allows the chapter to establish a bank account and conduct business transactions in the name of the chapter, e.g., video conference license, rent, liability insurance for chapter meetings and events.
Submit an annual report to the IG. This includes a financial report.
Rotate chapter board service positions every two years. Board members who meet the requirements outlined in IG bylaws may register as World Service Conference (WSC) members at the World Service Business Convention (WSBC). Board members are covered by the IG’s Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance.
Can submit main motions directly to World Service Inc. (WSI) for the World Service Business Convention (WSBC).
Local Service Groups (LSGs)
Are informal groups that consist of two or more FA members from more than one FA meeting group. Because they are informal:
Members with at least 90 days of continuous abstinence in FA who are working with an FA sponsor have a voice and a vote. Refer to: FA WSI Bylaws: Article IX, Section 2b.
Do not receive the same non-profit protections and benefits of their affiliated IG, LSGs cannot establish a bank account or video conference account and cannot conduct business transactions in the LSG’s name. Business transactions are done in the name of the individual member performing the service. The LSG treasury follows the same guidelines used by an FA meeting group. Refer to: Your FA Seventh Tradition pamphlet for more information.
Are not required to submit an annual or financial report to the IG.
Decide what service positions are needed and ask for and accept volunteers for the positions. Service positions require a member to have at least 90 days of continuous abstinence in FA and an FA Sponsor. LSGs may determine additional abstinence requirements for certain service positions by referring to the recommendations for Meeting Service Positions on the FA website. The Help for PI Representatives page on the FA website provides guidance for abstinence requirements when planning a PI event.
Are not able to submit main motions directly to WSI for the WSBC.
Establishing a Chapter
First, does the area have enough FA meetings and members willing to do service continuously at a Chapter level?
Establishing a new chapter begins with members willing to consistently do the service work of a chapter.
- An FA chapter is an unincorporated association between six or more FA meeting groups formed for geographical convenience to perform certain administrative functions common to its constituent FA meeting groups. An FA chapter is a sub-group of an FA intergroup.
- Six or more committed FA members who are willing to meet regularly, four of which are willing to serve initially as Officers: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer. Officers must meet the Qualifications in the FA WSI Bylaws. Refer to “What are the next steps?” for the nomination and election process.
- Three or more committed FA members who meet the Qualifications in the FA WSI Bylaws) and are willing to serve as chapter committee chairs. Refer to What are the next steps? for the list of core and optional committees and the process of appointing chairs.
- FA members with 90 days of abstinence who are willing to participate in chapter service work consistently and attend monthly chapter meetings.
- Contact the WSI Service Group Support Committee (SGSC) Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org for resources to assist with the process of forming a new chapter.
- Contact the Intergroup Chair and the Committee Chairpersons of the SGSC, Office, and Bylaws as necessary to coordinate resources.
- Schedule a special meeting to decide whether to proceed with forming a chapter. Each interested meeting group is represented by at least one member. The decision is made using group conscience.
- Inform your intergroup of the intent to form a chapter.
- Request a copy of the intergroup’s bylaws for requirements for officer and committee chair positions and the process for nominations, elections, and appointments.
- Follow the guidance outlined in the intergroup bylaws to nominate and elect the chapter officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer).
- Follow the guidance outlined in the intergroup bylaws for the newly elected officers to appoint the chapter committee chairs to the following committees: Office, Public Information. and Bylaws (a chapter may choose to delegate the Bylaw Chair responsibilities to the Vice Chair initially). Note: Chapters may consider the option of establishing additional committees, such as Information Technology (IT) and 12th Step.
- Contact the Intergroup Office Chair to determine the process for setting up email accounts with WSI.
- Contact the Intergroup Treasurer for assistance with financial procedures and to request start-up funds, if necessary.
- Establish a bank account and accounting system for the chapter’s Seventh Tradition funds.
- Schedule chapter meetings, accessible by video conference, at a time that is conducive for participation by the majority of affiliated meetings.
- Create a Continuing Effects Motion (CEM) Standing Rules of Order (SRO) Manual to guide the chapter’s day-to-day operations and record the chapter’s organizational history. Resources: Maine Chapter Continuing Effects Motion Manual, the Bylaws Chair of the intergroup.
Inventory Checklist for Established FA Chapters
Once established, use this checklist to review best practices and the chapter’s effectiveness in meeting the “Purpose of a Chapter”.
- Are chapter meetings accessible by video conference and at a time that is conducive for participation by the majority of affiliated meetings?
- Are all chapter voting members committed to a registered FA meeting affiliated with the chapter?
- Is there a process in place for remote voting?
- Are service opportunities available to all members of the chapter with 90 days or more of continuous abstinence?
- Do all affiliated meetings have an established chapter contact position?
- Do committee procedures allow for regular rotation of service positions?
- Is the chapter self-supporting through Seventh Tradition donations? Refer to Your FA Seventh Tradition pamphlet and the intergroup’s bylaws for further information.
- Is all financial reporting in order and up to date?
- Is the Standing Rules of Order (SRO) Manual up to date?
- Are eligible chapter board members registered as voting members at the World Service Business Convention (WSBC)?
- Does the chapter have a procedure for submitting motions to the WSBC that is codified in the SRO Manual?
Chapter Bylaw Requirements
- Does the chapter refer to and follow the intergroup bylaws?
- Do the Officers and the Bylaws Chair of the chapter consult with the Intergroup Bylaws Committee Chair when questions regarding the bylaws and interpretation of bylaws arise?