Manual Table of Contents

Preconference Budget

Preconference budgets do not receive support from ALA. ALA policy states that "all institutes, workshops, etc., sponsored by ALA and/or its units shall be self-supporting and shall include provision for ALA administrative costs." The ALA administrative cost is determined annually. The budget should be prepared by the preconference program chair in consultation and with the approval of the IS Section chair. You can use the prior preconference budget as a guide for format and content. See sample budget, Attachment 3. Appropriate ACRL headquarters staff are available for consultation if needed. In addition, you can consult the prior preconference chair for budget preparation strategies.

The following guidelines will help in preparing the preconference budget:

  • The budget must be approved by the ACRL Board at the Midwinter Meeting 18 months prior to the preconference, as noted above under "Preconference Proposal".
  • Final approval for the budget and registration fees comes from the ACRL Executive Director and the ACRL Budget and Finance Committee.
  • Registration fees for each preconference must be set at a level to cover all costs of the preconference, including ALA direct costs for staff.
  • These costs can be minimized by judicious use of IS volunteer time. The difference in the registration fee between non-ACRL members and ACRL members must be at least the amount of the cost of ACRL membership fees.

Only 80% of the total projected registration revenue may be included in the budget to afford ACRL financial protection. All costs being reimbursed must be budgeted to include total revenue (including donations) and total expenses. The budget must include staff salary and benefit amounts based upon ACRL staff time studies for the most recent fiscal year. Consult ACRL headquarters staff for these figures.

Program planners and unit leaders of preconferences may waive the personal preconference registration fee for preconference planning and local arrangement committee chairs. This waiver is limited to no more than three responsible persons per conference.

Consider solicitation of financial support and gifts from vendors and corporations to offset budget costs. Prior to approaching a potential donor, the section must submit a plan to the ACRL Executive Director for approval. See the guidelines on ADA Donor Coordination at Attachment 1.

The list of exhibitors in last year's ALA Annual Conference program can be used to identify appropriate prospective donors. Begin the solicitation process as early as possible after the approval of the preconference proposal and budget (assuming the donor plan was also approved). It can be advantageous to have speakers/presenters selected and confirmed prior to solicitation as well, as name recognition may be a selling point.

The following elements should be considered for inclusion in the preconference budget:

Printing costs

  • Preconference brochure (you may save money by making extensive use of listservs and web pages for publicity and distribution of registration forms)
  • Mailing lists(s) for the preconference brochure
  • Registration materials (handouts, list of registrants, registration folder)
  • Meal tickets, if needed
  • Name tags


  • Brochure mailing (again save money by using electronic distribution)

  • Registration confirmation

  • Other mailings and correspondence, as needed

Speaker expenses

  • Housing and meals

  • Travel (if the speaker would not otherwise be attending the meeting)

  • Honoraria for non-librarian speakers (Based on ALA practice, no honorarium will be paid to a librarian except under unusual circumstances and when approved by the ACRL Board.)

Meeting rooms and equipment

  • ALL audiovisual equipment rental, installation, and labor. Costs can be estimated from the prior preconference budget in consultation with appropriate ACRL headquarters staff

  • Meeting space if the preconference is not held in one of the conference hotels or convention center

Expenses for free registrants (speakers, preconference planners)

  • Meals, registration packets, badges


  • Meals

  • Breaks: coffee, soft drinks, cookies, etc.

  • Receptions

  • Estimate of tax and gratuities

ACRL office expenses

  • Photocopying (in-house)

  • Postage

  • Telephone and fax charges

  • ACRL indirect costs calculated on expenditures, excluding meal functions, salaries, and inter-unit charges (e.g. in-house photocopying, mailing, etc.)

Special supplies

  • Pens, pencils, markers

  • Transparencies

  • Computer disks

  • Pads of paper, flip charts

  • Folders and other materials for the conference packets


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