Crafting a Proposal

A Proposal is a group’s vehicle for bringing an idea, issue, or concern before the entire fellowship. Each year the World Service Organization (WSO) issues a Call for Proposals to all registered groups. Once the WSO adds an analysis, proposals are sent in the form of a Ballot to all the Groups. Groups vote for and comment on proposals to potentially be included in the agenda at the next ABC.

Proposals may total no more than 500 words each, and are formatted in three parts:

  • Issue -The specific action or change you are seeking from WSO, preferably as a single statement.
  • The background or history of the issue or item.
  • An argument in favor of the action or change.

As an international organization we have meetings in many languages, countries, and settings. Proposals must be quickly analyzed before they can be translated and sent for voting. Therefore, Proposals are best kept as specific and succinct as possible, addressing matters of concern to ACA as a whole.

If you have questions about drafting a proposal, or need help to put your idea in the needed format, please contact the Ballot Preparation Committee at

Ideas for new literature, edits to existing items, and literature submissions may be sent directly to the Literature Committee using the Contact form on the WSO website – – choose the ACA WSO Literature Committee from the dropdown menu.

Examples of Past Proposals

#1From 2016: This proposal was very well written. Although it would better have been submitted to the Literature Committee as noted above, it is an example of the group submitted a specific issue, put it in context, and made a clear case as to why it should be addressed by the fellowship.

Issue: We propose that… The New Meeting Packet include different alternatives for a Meeting Format.

History/Reasoning: The present suggested format seems inadequate and even awkward. We realize it is an editable format, but it doesn’t have some of the essential elements many meetings use, including the Traditions and the reading of the day from the Meditation Book. It also doesn’t include some of the meeting format sample in the BRB that seem essential, such as the part about Fixing and that ACA is not therapy. Many meetings also do things in a different order, for instance, announcements come before sharing.

Argument in favor: We realize that this document can’t be all things to all people. We just would like to give people more choices that come from the experience, strength and hope of established meetings, rather than have new meetings reinvent the wheel, especially those started by newcomers in new areas. It’s about providing information they can choose from, not making decisions for groups. We hope to give each meeting the best start they can

#2From 2015: This proposal, like the previous example, addresses a specific issue, offers relevant background, and makes a logical argument.

Issue: We propose that copies of any material referenced in a ballot proposal be made available with the ballot or on the WSO website for groups to review before voting. (Exclusive of the 500 word limit.)

History/Reasoning: In the past ballot proposals have requested action regarding specific materials without making them available for review. 

Argument in Favor: Materials could easily be attached to paper or electronic ballots, posted on the webpage, links or at least citations provided. However, without access to the material in question an informed group conscience is not possible. (Of course, we would gladly withdraw this proposal should any changes to the OPPM render it moot.)

#3From 2015: Like the other examples this proposal introduces a specific issue for consideration with some flexibility in outcome or implementation. (Mostly what, not how.)

Issue: We propose a requirement for future WSO Trustees to be qualified by at least one year’s active service to an Intergroup, Region, or other intermediate-level service body. If needed, this requirement may be implemented incrementally, intending to apply to all trustees by the 2025 ABC.

History/Reasoning: Currently prospective trustees are required to attend five monthly Board teleconferences. Other than suggesting prior service with the WSO Board itself, the current Operating Policies and Procedures Manual requires no previous service experience; neither does the Board currently accept nominations for trustees from the fellowship at large

Argument in Favor:Trustees without prior service experience may find it difficult to “hit the ground running” once seated, increasing the workload for other trustees and leaving the Board less responsive to the needs of the fellowship. Developing servant leaders at the intermediate level will create a more vital and effective Board. This requirement will also enhance the Trustees’ commitment to the wider service structure by emphasizing intermediate levels of service. It will establish a more effective and consistent means for the Board to draw on the Experience, Strength and Hope of the wider fellowship. Furthermore, it supports the traditions’ ideal of bottom-up servant leadership.