The A.A. statement reads: "There are no fees or dues to pay to be a member of A.A.; we support ourselves through our own contributions." This is more clearly explained in the Seventh Tradition: "Every A.A. group must be self-supporting, refusing outside contributions."
Perhaps, so expressed, this may not be understood, but it will be if we keep in mind that the traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous took shape based on the objective analysis of both personal and group experiences.
Experience has shown the self-financing policy to be very positive. A.A. is aware of the power money has to divide people; thus, the fundamental nature of the fellowship is spiritual and not material.
A.A. groups do not need large amounts of money for their own operation or to maintain the service structure they have created. Therefore, it is customary in A.A. meetings to "pass the hat around," and each alcoholic anonymously contributes whatever amount he wishes.