SIGCOMM Planning: Treasurer

General budgeting issues:

Most organizations expect a percentage of the year's gross to be kept in surplus; having a large surplus is key to retaining permission to run multiple, large conferences. It should be consumed sparingly and replenished quickly.

Start only 1-2 new workshops a year, and limit their fixed costs in advance. If registrations fall below expectations or high fixed costs fail to be covered by expected support, be prepared to cancel to reduce exposure.

  • Protect the surplus.
  • Limit exposure.
  • Balance ongoing expenses with ongoing revenue.

    If you want to give everyone proceedings, increase dues OR require the conference provide funds from their support for the additional costs. The money has to come from somewhere.

General Conference Budgeting issues:

  • Overall budget principles

    Try to cover fixed costs with fixed advance income; cover per-person costs with per-person fees.

    Every person should break-even. Do not count on ratios of students/regular, advance/on-site, etc. - they vary a LOT even year-to-year within a single conference.

    Minimize fixed costs - fundraising is challenging enough.

  • Fundraising

    Start early, start often.

    Be consistent - keep in mind that what you decide this year will affect next year's ability to raise funds.

    Keep the pricing structure simple - 2-3 levels at best.

    Only donations of cash or those that cover pre-existing budget items are counted.


    Donations to a conference are called "support" or "donations", those providing that donation are called "supporters" or "donors". The term sponsor should never be used; this term has special meaning in the ACM, where it refers to accepting liability for potential conference losses. I.e., the SIGCOMM SIG sponsors the Sigcomm Conference, but (e.g.) the NSF supports it.

  • Setting fees

    Try to make every head help balance the budget (bring in revenue), or at least not lose revenue.

    Remember that tutorials are typically NOT for students; the fees should reflect the intended audience (typically employed researchers who want to come up to speed in a new field or refresh their knowledge).

    Here is some past information:

    Member Student Non-member
    SIGCOMM conference 2005 $525/600 $350/425 $650/725
    Fee per workshop $150/200 $150/200 $180/235
    Fee per 1/2day tutorial $200/235 $200/235 $235/270

    SIGCOMM conference 2004 $525/600 $350/425 $650/725
    Fee per workshop $150/200 $150/200 $180/235
    Fee per 1/2day tutorial $200/235 $200/235 $235/270

    SIGCOMM conference 2003 $400/460 $250/300 $500/590
    Fee per workshop $ 95/140 $ 95/140 $115/160
    Fee per 1-day tutorial $300/340 $190/255 $385/450
    (based on EU, 1 USD = 0.85 EU, rounded to $5)

    SIGCOMM Conf 2002 $375/450 $110/250 $450/550
    Full Day Tutorial $325/375 $150/200 $425/450
    Half Day Tutorial $ ?/230 $ ?/130 $ ?/300
    Workshops $125/150 $125/150 $125/150

    Sigcomm Conference 2001 $ ?/450 $ ?/210 $ ?/550
    Full Day Tutorial $ ?/350 $ ?/200 $ ?/450
    Half Day Tutorial $ ?/230 $ ?/130 $ ?/300

    Sigcomm Conference 2000 $370/415 $110/200 $445/495
    Tutorial $300/345 $150/200 $400/445
    (excludes VAT, based on 1000 SEK/100 USD, rounded to nearest $5)

    Sigcomm Conference 1999 (same as 1998?)

    Sigcomm Conference 1998 $375/420 $110/$200 $450/$500
    Tutorials $300/350 $150/200 $400/450

    Sigcomm Conference 1997 $375/420 $110/200 $450/500
    Tutorials $300/350 $150/200 $400/450

    Sigcomm conference 1996 $325/375 $110/140 $425/475
    TUTORIALS: $250/300 $140/150 $350/400

    Some notes:

    2003: The student fees jumped to represent the real cost per-head; this
    was due to a large influx of student attendees in 2002 with a
    recognition that member/nonmember fees could no longer subsidize an
    arbitrary number of student attendees.

    Fees have increased as follows (since 1996, focus on member):

    1997 15%
    2001 7% (1.7%/yr avg since 1997)
    2003 7% (3.3%/yr avg since 2001)
    2004 31% (jump to bring us in line with
    other conferences, as well as to
    compensate for under-inflation increases)

    Since 2004: Tutorial fees no longer have a student discount, reflecting
    the fact that tutorials are intended for professional continuing
    education rather than as a substitute for graduate courses.

  • Sticking to the budget

    Anything that isn't in the budget doesn't get approved unless there is a current surplus OR it can be charged against an existing budget item.

    Fix the number of hidden costs early, including: prepaid registrations, waived fees, etc. Remember that every registrant costs the per-head money; consider alternative comps - e.g., dinner out, etc., esp. since they are typically 1/10 the cost of a comp'd registration.

    Remember that most conferences EXPECT supporter revenue as part of a balanced budget; a supporter cheque is NOT 'found money', and should not be used except to reduce pre-existing expenses.

Sigcomm-specific Conference Budgeting issues:

  • Prepaid / internally budgted registrations

There are NO complimentary registrations; all registrations are pre-paid or internally budgted.


Sigcomm award winner (max 2)
Student award winner(s) (max 2)
tutorial instructors (2 max per full-day tutorial)
volunteers (max 6)


All prepaid registrations are paid explicitly using the transfer of explicit funds. These include:

Corporate student travel awards (paid from the received funds)

SIG Geodiversity travel awards (paid by the SIG)

Funding agency (e.g., NSF) student travel awards (paid from the agency or agent thereof)

Prepaid / internally budgeted registration does NOT include tutorials or workshops, EXCEPT for the Sigcomm award and student award winners.

  • Supporters subsidizes student attendance

if support is down, the fees have to goup

e.g., if support is down by 1/2, fees have to
go UP by 1/2 the difference with full-time regs
(raising $50 won't put a dent; we lose $300 per!)

  • Current support funding levels and benefits:

    $5000 US name/logo on proceedings and website
    $10000 US name/logo banner also at a specific event e.g., student poster session, reception,
    banquet dinner, etc. (one supporter per
    event; make sure there is no overlap)

    NB - amounts may vary, esp. to match a nice number in the local currency, but should not dip below approx. 80% of these numbers ($4000/$8000). They cannot vary from year to year more than that. The conference is a persistent event, and consistency is very important.

    all funds are in money; funds in kind (equipment loans, equipment gifts, etc.) do NOT count toward the totals

    gifts in kind may be considered ONLY if they reduce the conference budget by the above amounts, for items which are already budgeted and core (i.e., not optional). e.g., gifts to the award winner, student, etc. are not counted, as they are not budgeted.

    all funds listed here are UNRESTRICTED. seek unrestricted funds FIRST, then request restricted funds (e.g., for student travel, student registration, etc.)

    in order to support the student award, the supporter would need to contribute 10,000 US (to get to the 'visible at a specific event' level) AND cover the student's travel, registration, and hotel costs (IMO).

    terminal room / connectivity again has to reduce real meeting costs by $5000 or more to be listed in the program and web page

    There has not been a distinction between the proceedings and web page; visibility is not sold differently in those two places. I.e, once a supporter pays $5000 or more, they're on both.

    Size of the logo should not be used as a distinction. Size of all logos should be similar (eyeball it).

    Supporters are NOT given an opportunity to speak per se, either to the general conference or the event (even those they specifically support).

    Supporters are given 1 prepaid registration for small donors, 2 for large donors. Book publishers are given 1 prepaid registration.

  • Info for book publishers

The following is a template for book publisher responses:

	I appreciate your interest in exhibiting your company's books at  ACM SIGCOMM 2005.  We are continuing our tradition of offering table space for publishers to exhibit and promote their books.  This year space will be provided in the [LOCATION], i.e. [DESCRIBE LOCATION RELATIVE TO REGISTRATION
AND THE CONFERENCE HALL].  The fee for exhibiting is [FEE FROM TMRF HERE], which includes one complementary registration, so that the representative managing the exhibit can attend the various events (including the social events).  Our current plan is to provide exhibit space during the main technical program, which this year is: [DATES OF TUES - THURS], i.e. Tuesday morning through Thursday afternoon.  We will provide 1 6ft table and 2 chairs for your book exhibit in a rather large lobby with 2-3 other book vendors.  The laptop bar and terminal room will be around the corner.  Note, that the lobby is an open area, and thus cannot be locked.  We are not providing security, and the conference is not responsible for stolen books.  (It may be possible for you to lock the books up in a nearby closet at the end of Tues and Wed; please let me know if you wish to pursue this.)  Once your check arrives at ACM, then I will ask the registration chair to give you a URL and a "code" specific to you, so that you can complete the registration form.  We will provide you with a pre-printed badge (which is your "ticket" to the conference and social events) and we'll be able to accommodate any special needs that you mention in the form.  SIGCOMM does not permit open recruiting (e.g., posting or distributing job descriptions).  This policy is common to most research conferences so that employers can comfortably send their key technical staff members.  Please let me know if you have further questions.  Thanks for participating in SIGCOMM [YEAR].  [TREASURER'S NAME]  SIGCOMM [YEAR] Treasurer, [EMAIL]  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------INSTRUCTIONS FOR PAYING THE EXHIBIT FEE:  a) The fee is [FEE], and includes one non-member registration.  We would  like to receive it by July 15th at the latest.  b) Please make the check out to: "ACM/SIGCOMM [YEAR]", and mail it  to: [OUR CONTACT] at ACM, our SIGCOMM Conference Program Director.  [INSERT NAME] ACM SIGCOMM Conference Program Director 1515 Broadway, 17th Floor New York, NY  10036  USA  Tel.:  212-[TEL] Fax:  212-[TEL]  email: [EMAIL]  c) In order for ACM to acknowledge the exhibit fee, please include with the  check, the name and corporate address where the acknowledgment should  be sent.  d) In order to track the check, please notify me once the check has been  mailed.  e) If you need an invoice from ACM for your book exhibit fee, then  please send me ASAP:  * the Purchase Order (PO) number,  * where to send the invoice,  * and any special info needed.  And I will ask ACM to create the invoice.  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------INSTRUCTIONS FOR REGISTERING:  a) Once ACM notifies me that the check is received (by August 2nd), I will  ask the Registration Chair to give you the URL and code for your  "pre-paid" registration.  b) Once you have the URL and code, please fill in the registration form  BY [EARLY REG DEADLINE] (at the latest), so that we can have your badge ready,  and any special needs you may have.  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS: a) Please note that material must not arrive more than 4 days before the event, due to limited storage space.  Please send your books to the following address:  [CONFERENCE HOTEL OR LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS CHAIR]  ACM SIGCOMM [YEAR] Conference  Attn.: [HOTEL CONTACT AND LOCAL ARRANGEMENTS CHAIR]  [ADDRESS]  b) When you arrive Tuesday morning to set up your exhibit, look for a table  with your company's name on it.  You will be responsible for getting the  books delivered to your exhibit table.  c) In case there are any on-site issues, please contact either one of  the SIGCOMM [YEAR] local arrangements chair ([NAMES HERE}).  To contact
  either one of them or their representative, please start with the conference  registration desk.