Introduction to Public Information Work
Public Information work supports the fellowship in spreading the message of FA recovery to food addicts who may not have heard about this solution. We convey FA information to the general public, to the media, and to health professionals, reaching out not just to suffering food addicts, but to those who want to help them. From handing someone a meeting trifold or a phone number to presenting at health care conferences, to publicizing meetings online--our goal is that anyone anywhere who needs FA can find FA.
Although no one member ever represents FA as a whole, whenever we contact people about FA, we leave a lasting impression about our organization. In all of our efforts at reaching out to the public, our abstinence and the quality of our recovery speak most eloquently of what is possible in working the FA Program. In that spirit, please use these Public Information Standards and Resources in your outreach efforts.
I. Public Information Standards
To preserve the integrity of FA’s portrayal to the public, it is important that we follow these guidelines in our Public Information work:
1. Adhere to the Twelve Traditions in all FA public information activities. These are especially helpful in framing PI work.
- Tradition Three: “The only requirement for FA membership is a desire to stop eating addictively.” For example:
- When talking with non-FA members, communicate that FA is for anyone who is addicted to food, not just for those who are overweight. Food addiction is manifested in many ways.
- Tradition Five: “Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the food addict who still suffers.” For example:
- The only reason for doing any PI or outreach work is to help the still-suffering food addict.
- Larger meetings or media interviews should not be our goal. If these are achieved by skirting the Traditions, individual recovery or FA as a whole may be adversely affected.
- Tradition Ten: “Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the FA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.” For example:
- FA does not endorse a specific food plan.
- FA does not have opinions about controversial issues (i.e. why obesity is increasing in the USA, etc.)
- FA does not have opinions about the food plans of weight-loss programs.
- When speaking of a Higher Power or God, we avoid religious terminology or jargon that might lend the appearance of an affiliation with any religion.
- Tradition Eleven: “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.” For example:
- FA members never use their full names or faces when speaking about FA with the media.
- While at their jobs, FA members only identify themselves as FA members if their primary purpose is to do FA service. For example, if an FA member is a nutritionist, s/he should not endorse FA to his/her clients. Instead, s/he may present FA as an option among many options, for people to lose weight.
- We generally find that mass mailings are not as effective as building personal relationships.
- An FA member’s tone in all communications should be calm, clear, and informational, not promotional.
- FA members should not aggressively pursue media attention, interviews or media appearances. FA members do the groundwork and let their Higher Power do the rest.
- Tradition Twelve: “Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.” For example:
- When speaking to groups, remember that none of us represents FA as a whole. We are only sharing our personal stories and experiences. Be sure the reporter/producer/audience understands this as well.
NOTE: In keeping with the spirit of both Traditions Eight and Eleven, FA does not use business card handouts. The “professional” feeling associated with business cards (and cards of similar size and appearance) may convey to the recipient a professional, for-profit impression that is not in keeping with our Traditions. Personally writing our phone number on a pamphlet or trifold can touch a heart, AND leave someone with ta piece of literature to study when they are ready.
2. Present FA recovery effectively
- Remember that Public Information work is a service: Conduct FA Public Information work with the humility, sense of usefulness and gratitude that guide all FA service work.
- We are neither a diet company nor a counseling organization. We are simply folks who have found a way to live contentedly while not eating addictively a day at a time. We can effectively pass this solution on one-to-one, face-to-face.
- Dress neatly, with respect for the setting and occasion.
- Use a calm demeanor and clear communication on the phone, in person, and online.
3. Ensure that the FA literature you use is current and appropriate.
- Do not photocopy literature (except the Meeting Lists and tri-fold brochures), but rather order what you need from the FA literature webpage.
- Do not use self-designed flyers to publicize FA meetings. Use the approved flyers and trifolds found here.
- As stated in the FA bylaws, no materials may be offered for sale or distribution at an FA meeting except:
- FA Conference-Approved Literature includes: Twenty-Four Hours A Day book (Hazelden), Alcoholics Anonymous (the “Big Book”) (AA), The Little Red Book (Hazelden), The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (AA), and All FA pamphlets and books that have been approved by World Service Conference-recognized literature (i.e. connection magazine)
- WSB-approved literature (i.e. qualification CD’s approved by WSI)
- Materials distributed by the boards or committees of WSI, FA intergroups, or FA chapters (i.e. WSB reports, approved flyers)
- PI Telephone lists (of registered FA meetings)
- Meeting directories (of registered FA meetings)
- FA Information Session notices
4. Keep Records Organized
- Keep clearly organized records of all your Public Information activities, so that the group has a record of the Public Information Representative’s role or project details even after service positions change. We suggest a 3-ring binder (for your notes, news clippings, pertinent articles, etc.) and/or online files which can be shared.
5. Explore the FA Website: foodaddicts.org, and give this address to anyone inquiring about FA: food addicts, friends and families of food addicts, medical professionals or the media.
II. PI Resources
Here is an online “PI Kit” of resources to assist you in your outreach efforts. Click on each for more information.
- Help for PI Representatives
- Health Fairs
- Health Care Outreach
- Faith Community Outreach
- Information Sessions
- Upcoming Information Sessions
- Calendar Announcements
- Media Outreach
- PI Materials: Banners and Tablecloths
- Social Media Policy
- Policy on Paid Ads
- Sponsoring Community Trifold Racks
- Trifold and Flyer Templates
- Contacting Mediawatch, Blogwatch, and Weblinks
- FA Podcasts
If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documents & Forms:
Requesting WSI documents in Word Format:
In order to have a secure website, every document on our website is in PDF format. To request a Word version of a document, email your request to email@example.com
• In the subject line of your email, type the name of the document you need.
• In the body of the email, copy and paste the URL of the web page where the document is posted.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org