Contributing to NA through planned giving

Re-posting from the July 2017 NA Way Magazine:

Many of us are aware of the ways in which our time and energy make it possible to carry NA’s message to others. And the money we contribute is just as valuable to making NA’s message of hope and recovery available to more and more addicts. Our Twelfth Step teaches us that the more we help others, the more we help ourselves—and the generous act of contributing money to ensure our success to help other addicts is no different. We’re all familiar with what we do when the basket is passed at a meeting, but there are other ways to contribute financially, too. NA members and their loved ones often ask about contributing to NA World Services through planned giving. The fol- lowing information is offered to attempt to answer some of those questions.

The first and most common question is: “Is it appropriate to leave money (or other personal assets) to NA?” Our Seventh Tradition reminds us that NA is funded by our members’ contributions. Our intention to donate after our death isn’t confined or prevented by our Traditions. So in the spirit of our guiding principles, yes, we can choose to bequeath assets to NA after we die.

If a member is interested in contributing to NA in this way, arrangements must be made while he or she is alive to ensure harmony with our Traditions and our ability to accept the contribution. Often, family members or friends want to donate to NA World Services in memory of a member who has passed. Unfortunately, accepting such a donation would be in conflict with our Tradi- tions because it wasn’t clearly initiated or made by the NA member, and World Services declines several offers like this each year.

How much? Our Seventh Tradition tells us that each NA member should not “contribute more than their fair share” (It Works: How and Why, Tradition Seven). Beyond that, our literature doesn’t specify restrictions on members’ contributions. Just as when a basket is passed at a meeting, your fair share is completely your own determination based on your individual circumstances. Currently, there is no minimum or maximum limit on what an NA member can contribute, either while they are alive or after they die.

Here are some general guidelines for those interested in planned giving:

  • Intentions to leave something to the NA Fellowship need to be in writing, and that usually takes the form of your last will and testament. The best resource to prepare for planned giving is a licensed probate or estate planner.
  • To better ensure that the contribution is received, the written instruction should direct that it be made to “NA World Services, a California nonprofit public benefit cor- poration organized under Section 501(c)(3), bearing tax identification number 95-3090596; 19737 Nordhoff Place; Chatsworth, California, USA 91311.”
  • Gifts of money or other liquid assets are always the most flexible, so are generally the most useful gifts. If you wish to leave items other than liquid assets, we’ll do our very best to deal with those in the way that will best benefit the Fellowship. In the case where noncash assets are be- queathed, NA World Services may liquidate those assets for cash, through proper means, and put the resulting funds into the general fund.

NA World Services will always devote your gift where the need is the greatest. We never know exactly what that will be, as our worldwide Fellowship’s needs are constantly changing. We will attempt to honor any preference or dedication of your gift, but must ask that you allow us the flexibility to make the final determination ourselves.

In harmony with our Eleventh Concept, we have no pro- cesses to accept restricted funds or funds for stipulated purposes. If we receive earmarked or targeted donations, we must return them. To avoid this, it is important that your written intentions state your understanding and agreement with this flexibility so that we can accept the donation. A sample of such a statement is: “Although I understand that no assurances can be given, it is my preference that this gift be used for ________, if possible.”

As mentioned, engaging a licensed probate or estate plan- ner as a part of your efforts will ensure that the planned giving process is completed accurately.

As members, we all invest our time and energy in service to our Fellowship, and we contribute what we are able to give financially. We give freely, knowing that our efforts help our Fellowship grow. Whether we’re giving to our area or regional service committees or to NA World Services, the “return on our investment” in NA is priceless. Because of our collective efforts, we have a thriving and vibrant NA Fellowship that supports our personal recovery and, “when we step back and look at Narcotics Anonymous as a whole, the view is breathtaking.”

You may also want to check out IP #24, Money Matters: Self-support in NA, and IP #28, Funding NA Services, for more on our Seventh Tradition at work in NA.

All literature quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from Guiding Principles: The Spirit of Our Traditions, Tradition Seven

For additional information, or if you have comments or questions on planned giving, please email World Services at