Charles Wilt, ALCTS Executive Director
Each January around ALA means it's time to finalize and submit the preliminary budget for the next fiscal year. The ALA fiscal year begins September 1. The preparation begins the previous November. For fiscal year 2005 (which begins September 1, 2004), I begin to receive budget information in November 2003. The budget process, like the Eveready Bunny, keeps on going and going and going, through the summer just prior to the start of the fiscal year. And if you tallied that up, that's ten months or so. Of course, there are periods of time when there isn't any activity on my part, but there is the usual hurry up and wait. The high points in the calendar for ALCTS are: December - I begin to prepare the preliminary budget; January - the budget is submitted to the Budget & Finance Committee and the Board at Midwinter AND then to the ALA Budget Office; March - my budget hearing with the ALA management takes place; April - ALA approves a preliminary budget; June - we revise our budget and the Board votes on it; and then July - last minute changes go to the ALA Budget Office. Presto! We start the new fiscal year.
What we do for our members depends a great deal on our financial health:
So then where does the money go? About 35% goes to salaries and benefits. There are expenses associated with the revenue activities: LRTS production costs, pre-conferences expenses (AV, catering, handouts, speakers), CE expenses (see pre-conference), and some publication expenses. Then ALCTS has what I refer to as "unfunded mandates," which are historical in nature and separate ALCTS from other divisions: support for IFLA representatives, new initiatives money, higher level of support for the Board and Executive Committee to conduct business, more general member support including program support, and a higher emphasis on our awards. And then there is the ALA overhead charge we pay, which segues nicely into:
Where does ALCTS really fit into the ALA budget structure?
On March 1st, I have my annual appointment with the internal ALA management to talk about the ALCTS budget. No matter how intimidating it might sound, this meeting is a great opportunity to sing the praises of ALCTS programs, CE, publications, and our innovation and initiatives. Make no mistake about it, though; the bottom line is a discussion of what ALCTS will do to support the ALA budget through the only means we have, producing overhead. In the last fiscal year, ALCTS contributed over $60,000 in overhead to ALA. This happens in two ways: a 20.3% charge on gross registration revenue and a 10.15% charge on gross publication sales revenue. In relation to the other divisions, ALCTS is tucked neatly somewhere in the middle, not as big as ACRL but not as tiny as ALTA.
A couple of other quick notes concerning the staff role and the role of the Budget & Finance Committee:
The Budget & Finance Committee is not passive.