This article about Alcoholics Anonymous is not about how they help alcoholics, but reviews their unusual management and organizational practices, which fly in the face of much conventional wisdom about what good nonprofit management looks like. As part of our Blue Avocado philosophy of challenging assumptions, let this article stimulate your thinking about your own assumptions.
What U.S. nonprofit do you know that has more than one million members, more than 55,000 local chapters, elects its leaders, and does no advertising or fundraising?
Answer: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
AA may be the largest and least visible nonprofit organization serving your community. Within just a few miles of Silicon Valley where this writer lives, there are 115 meetings per week. In Humboldt County -- a rural area of California with a population of only 130,000 -- there are 174 weekly meetings! And these numbers are replicated across the globe.
AA's twelve-step philosophy and meeting structures are well known to much of the public. This article touches briefly on some of the lesser-known organizational aspects of . . .