Alcoholics Anonymous


Communications Audit and Strategic Planning


Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) knew it had a communications problem. Despite being one of the world’s most recognized organizations — with over two million members globally — A.A. was at a crossroads, challenged with stagnant growth over the past decade, while fatal outcomes associated with alcohol abuse have grown during the same time period.

In order to capture the diverse needs of A.A.’s more than 2 million stakeholders worldwide, and those who turn to A.A. for help, Impact Collaborative (IC) undertook an extensive audit that examined A.A.’s internal and external communications culminating in 83 one-on-one interviews, 4 focus groups, 1,504 completed survey, 7 field observations, and over 158 asset reviews.


Synthesis of the quantitative and qualitative data gathered during the audit’s discovery phase resulted in 32 recommendations, with the overarching goal of empowering A.A.’s internal stakeholders to become more courageous and effective communicators of the organization’s life-saving mission.

Two critical recommendations — creation of a centralized communications function and a strategic, multi-year communications plan — were culled and synthesized from the 32 overall recommendations. The proposed courses of action were built to remedy gaps, and elevate and advance the quality, modes, and impacts of A.A.’s communications.


Over an eight month period, IC gained consensus and buy-in from A.A.’s three corporate boards, administrative leadership, staff, and 91 area delegates to move forward on a comprehensive communications plan and centralized function; both that are currently under development by IC.



Non-profit strategy, stakeholder engagement, research & planning, integrated communications, health, global


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