AFG, Inc. Strategic Plan & Bylaws
Working within the framework of Al‑Anon’s Legacies, the Board, Executive Committee, and Senior World Service Office Staff have developed the AFG, Inc. Mission Statement, Envisioned Future, and Strategic Goals to assist the World Service Office in the work it carries out on behalf of Al‑Anon Family Groups.
As a non-profit organization, AFG, Inc. operates in accordance with its Bylaws, which represent the Board’s legal agreement with our members.
Letters from the Chairperson of the Board
Letters containing information about the most recent Board, Policy, and Finance Committee Meetings.
Chairperson of the Board Letter – Section View
Dear Al‑Anon members,
It is my pleasure to share with you the highlights from the July 2019 Board Week. Along with this letter, you will be receiving updates from the Policy Chairperson, a Finance update from the Treasurer, and an update from the Conference Leadership Team (CLT).
Each year, one of the highlights arising from the July Board of Trustees meeting is the announcement of the World Service Conference (WSC) theme for the upcoming year. The 2020 WSC will be held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The CLT recommended and the Board approved that the theme for the 2020 WSC will be:
Dreaming Big with 20|20 Vision
Rêver grand avec une vision 20|20
Soñar en grande con visión 20|20
It is our sincere hope that all Al‑Anon members embrace this theme and utilize it in their groups, their Areas, and their personal lives.
The Board passed another motion of note regarding the WSC. Beginning in 2020, the Open Policy Meeting will now occur once per panel during Conference rather than once a year and will be set to occur the year when Conference members are not visiting Stepping Stones or the World Service Office (WSO). Please refer to the CLT update included with this letter for additional information regarding plans for the 2020 WSC.
During the Finance Report, the Board was invited to revisit the July 2018 motion for funding interpretation when required during WSC, as that motion had inadvertently been based on a high expense year for Conference instead of being set on a typical year. Following discussion, a motion to rescind motion #7 from July 2018 regarding cost of interpretation was made and passed. A new motion was then presented and approved:
Motion to approve a special project to provide professional interpretation, when required, to support Spanish and French speaking Delegates who attend the World Service Conference. The project will start in 2019 as a three‑year trial, with the cost of interpretation to be transferred from the Reserve Fund. (unanimous)
Another date to mark on your Al‑Anon calendar is the Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) International Convention with Al‑Anon participation being held in Detroit, Michigan on July 2–5, 2020. Registration opens September 9, 2019. The Al‑Anon program at this Convention is very similar to the Al‑Anon International Convention program, with the exception that Al‑Anon members join together with A.A. for the Big Meetings held Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday morning. The number of Al‑Anon members registering at the A.A. International Conventions have typically also been very similar to those attending the Al‑Anon International Convention in past years. There is just something very deeply spiritual about saying the Serenity Prayer with 50,000 plus people!
This July the International Coordination Committee (ICC) met and discussed the planning aspects of the 2020 International Al‑Anon General Services Meeting (IAGSM) which will be held in London, England. The ICC worked on the agenda and made the decision to use AFG Connects to ask eligible IAGSM Delegates for ideas on the theme for the 2020 meeting. The Committee received updates on the three Zonal meetings being held this year in Slovenia, Mexico, and El Salvador. The Associate Director—International and the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees will attend the Zonal meeting in Slovenia, the Director of Programs and a Spanish‑speaking Trustee will attend the one in Mexico, and two WSO members will attend the El Salvador meeting virtually this year due to conflicts with Executive Committee commitments and other concerns.
The Regional Committee on Trustees (RCT) Selection Work Group provided the Board with an update on their ongoing work refining the process of selecting Out‑of‑Region Delegates and Alternates and electing the RCT Chairperson and Alternate Chairperson, beginning in 2021. The goal is not to alter the actual process, only the method by which the process is carried out, so as to aid in removing the confusion from the Conference floor. There was a suggested proposal discussed of utilizing a hybrid format for electing the RCT Chairperson and Alternate Chairperson, which may occur like this:
- Pull Out‑of‑Region Delegates at the January 2021 Board meeting
- Schedule a web conferencing meeting before Conference with the Delegates from each participating Region and the Out‑of‑Region Delegates (possibly in March)
- Review the RCT process
- Elect the RCT Chairperson and Alternate Chairperson
- At WSC announce the RCT Chairpersons and Alternate Chairpersons, draw and announce the Out‑of‑Region Delegate Alternates.
To illustrate the hybrid format, the RCT Selection Work Group has proposed providing a presentation to the 2020 WSC explaining the new process for Conference member consideration and vote. There was a consensus to approve the proposal of the Work Group and a suggestion to do a skit in which the whole Board would participate and demonstrate the chaos of the current process. I, for one, am looking forward with great anticipation to the future developments on this process!
In keeping with our new Strategic Plan, the Trustee résumé form has been reformatted into a web form which will be posted on August 16, 2019. All Trustee résumés going forward must be completed using the new online form. It is hoped this new fillable form will provide ease of access, uniformity creating equality, and will do away with the confusion around “old” and “new” editions of the forms.
The Board looked at the recommendation brought forth by the Executive Director on behalf of the Staff Committee Liaisons to align At‑Large Committee selection processes for both At‑Large members and Committee Chairpersons. This process ensures the committees have positions filled and in place to serve a full term running from May to April. A motion was then made and carried to approve the Staff Recommended Process and Timeline for Members and Chairpersons of At‑Large Committees (see Appendix).
Recommended Selection Process and Timeline for At-Large Committee members
- Vacancies for specific committees are announced bi-annually (January and June) through the general Solicitation Letter and in November through an At-Large Committee-only letter.
- Résumés are due by January 1 each year.
- Acknowledgments are sent to each candidate, with a cc to the Area Delegate, At-Large Chairperson, and the Staff and Trustee Liaisons.
- In January–February, the Staff Liaison collaborates with the Committee Chairperson and Trustee Liaison to review and assess the résumés based on skills, with consideration given to Regional diversification to ensure wide representation.
- For the Audit Committee, the Trustee Committee Chairperson collaborates with the Staff Liaison.
- Recommendations for Committee membership are made to the Executive Committee in February or March.
- Congratulatory letters, including an invitation to participate as guests in the April Committee meetings by web conference, are sent to new At-Large members by the Executive Administrative Coordinator (EAC). The Area Delegate, At-Large Chairperson, and the Staff and Trustee Liaisons are copied on the email.
- Updates to the iMIS database are completed.
- Other candidates are sent an email inviting them to apply again in future.
- Confirmation of candidates is formalized through approval of the interim actions of the Executive Committee during the April Board Consent Agenda.
Service Term: New At-Large members begin their assignment in May and serve through April. Delegate members serve from May through the following year’s Conference, unless their term ends in December.
At-Large Member Vacancies: In case of mid-term vacancy, the At-Large Committee Chairperson and the Staff and Trustee Liaisons can recommend an appointment to the Executive Committee.
Recommended Selection Process and Timeline for At-Large Committee Chairpersons
- In March, the Staff Liaison collaborates with the Trustee Liaison to recommend, typically from continuing At‑Large members, a new At‑Large Chairperson.
- This timeline utilizes the knowledge and experience of the outgoing Trustee Liaison and Chairperson of the Board (COB).
- The incoming At-Large Chairperson is assigned by the COB prior to the World Service Conference (WSC).
- Congratulations are sent by the EAC to the incoming At-Large Chairperson prior to the WSC enabling the new At-Large Chairperson to watch and learn during the April Committee meeting.
- The new At-Large Chairperson is announced by the COB at the April Board of Trustees Quarterly Meeting.
- Updates to the iMIS database are completed by the EAC.
Service Term: New Chairpersons begin their assignments in May.
Another discussion brought to the Board was the number of term(s) that a member can sit on the Executive Committee. A motion was made, seconded and carried that Executive Committee members serve a maximum of three one‑year terms.
The Nominating Committee and the Nominating Thought Force have had a very busy couple of months and provided the Board with updates and recommendations on their work. Following the 2019 WSC, it became apparent we had been somewhat unsuccessful in our efforts to be transparent with Conference members about the election and affirmation process for Trustees of the Board. It was felt Delegates required more insight into the full scope of work accomplished prior to candidates’ names being presented at Conference, so they could feel more confident in the process before being asked to cast a vote. The Nominating Thought Force suggested this could entail sharing the number of different Conference members who have scrutinized the résumés received and the personal interviews held before any Trustee candidates are brought to the Conference floor. By consensus, the Board adopted the recommendation of the Nominating Thought Force to form a Nominating Task Force to evolve how the WSC is informed about the affirmation process.
During this Board week, Trustees were very excited to receive training on accessing information using Asana, the new online program through which the Strategic Plan Strategies are managed. This allows the Board to follow and monitor the progress of all the work being carried out by Staff in attaining our Strategic Goals for Members, Goals for Public, and our Goals for our Organization. The Staff Strategic Leadership Team also provided a review of the 2019 accomplishments and commitments, among them the work being done building an Al‑Anon mobile app, delivering the Annual Report in all three languages, prioritizing and determining how to address the Spanish and French translation backlog, and automating meeting searches for international meetings registered with the WSO. Following this, a discussion was held and conceptual approval was given for the 2020 Strategies presented. Strategic Plan Goals run on a three‑to‑five‑year time frame, Objectives on a two‑to‑three‑year time frame, and Strategies on a one‑to‑two‑year time frame.
The next steps include Staff developing measurable outcomes for the 2020 Strategies and presenting these for discussion and approval at the October Board week and the Board prioritizing plans for 2021 Strategies.
The whole Board participated in a lively Knowledge-Based Decision-Making (KBDM) gallery walk exercise on replacing Together Empowering Al-Anon Members (TEAM) Events, as our TEAM Events will conclude in 2019. A task force will now be created to come up with the next exciting, engaging, and energizing mode of connecting WSO Staff and Volunteers with other Al‑Anon members. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, be sure to mark your calendar for Road Trip! You and Your Board Connect. This event is held following the end of the October Board Week and provides members with an opportunity to spend an interactive day with the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee members. There will be presentations, personal sharings, roundtable discussions, and of course, lots of fellowship (and food too)! This year, Road Trip! You and Your Board Connect will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Seattle Airport, 18740 International Blvd., Seattle, Washington on October 19, 2019. If you would like further information or would like to go ahead and register, please go to Road Trip!. Deadline for mailed registrations is Monday, September 30, 2019 and for online registration is Friday, October 11, 2019. We are looking forward to meeting you in Seattle.
Just an added note is that Delegates can find all the information and criteria required to apply to host a Road Trip! You and Your Board Connect event on AFG Connects. The deadline for submitting a bid to host for 2020 is September 14, 2019, so hurry if you want your Area in the hat! The Board did hold discussion on airport size criteria for hosting and the consensus was that, in fairness, we could not make any changes to criteria this year. We will revisit this topic in the future.
Following along the lines of the Mega Issue discussed at the April 2019 WSC regarding a hybrid World Service Conference, the Board took part in an exercise and discussion exploring the concept of a hybrid Board meeting. Our objective was to see how we could utilize technology to shorten our Board week by one calendar day without working extreme hours. Taking into consideration all the ideas put forth during our exercise, the Board agreed to look at a draft agenda option at the October Board meeting so we could make an informed decision on how to go forward.
Two weeks following the posting of this letter, the Trustees will begin contacting their assigned Delegates. The purpose of this contact is to allow Trustees to offer clarification of any information contained in this letter, if so desired, and to provide an opportunity for the Board to hear Delegate comments on topics we are looking at. If Delegates prefer not to have a Trustee phone them, they can let the Trustee know when initial contact is made.
To aid the Board in further visionary planning, we are asking current Delegates to share their responses to the following questions when their Trustees contact them in the upcoming weeks:
How are your groups/Areas dealing with a cashless society?
How will you, your groups, and your Area utilize the 2020 Conference theme?