5 Finance and Budget

Your budget is going to be refined and adjusted as you determine how many attendees will participate, and how much funds you are going to commit to spending up-front. You are not going to know all these numbers immediately, but it’s valuable to start thinking about them as you are choosing a venue, and estimating the budget corresponding to different numbers of participants, and proportions of participant categories, as early as you can. Update this budget (and the different scenarii) as frequently as you can, and note that the actual number of participants is likely to be available very late (In some years, more than half of the registrations took place in the last week before the closing of the early bird registration period). Be also aware that a proportion of attendees, which can represent up to 1/6 of the total number of participants, are invited, i.e. they do not pay for their registration and some of them can also be invited to the gala dinner or other special events in your program.

An example for writing a budget for an in person conference can be found in the appendix

Note: Some important categories to consider can be found below.

5.1 Income

  • Sponsors (could be up to 75% of your income, depending on sponsorship levels)
  • Registrations (make sure to set this such that you are covering per-attendee costs)
  • Additional tutorial fees or gala dinner fees, if applicable
  • Publishers’ exhibition fees (if applicable)

5.2 Expenditures

5.2.1 In-person

  • Venue for the conference
  • Cost for the conference website development and hosting, cost for the management of the submission and registration platforms
  • Streaming/recording of talks
  • Internet for attendees and additional AV equipment (computers, microphones, …), or furniture, etc. for the venue
  • Catering for breakfast/coffee breaks/lunches (some venues require the use of their caterer), water at all time (fountains), trash sorting and recycling service if possible
  • Scholarships, stipend for tutorials, keynote speakers invitations (including travel, accommodation, gala dinner, and meals) and free registration (+ gala dinner) for some members of the R foundation board
  • Venue for the gala dinner (if any and if a venue different from the conference venue is needed), with caterer for the gala dinner and shuttle service if needed
  • T-shirts/other swag (local and sustainable gifts are usually appreciated)
  • Badges/lanyards, and communication materiel (signage for the venue, printing of the participant book if needed, custom t-shirt for team members, …)
  • Childcare service
  • Insurance/taxes and financial costs (credit card payments are sometimes charged; also note that VAT can apply differently depending on the participant country of origin and on the local laws)
  • Payment for administrative and accounting services (a part of this is usually handled by host institutions team)
  • The host institution team is usually not large enough to handle all tasks during the conference (welcoming and helping attendees, making sure all technical equipment are properly working in the different rooms, helping speakers to upload their files before their sessions, …), so additional salaries for temporary staffs during the conference might be needed (sometimes this task can be handled for free by students in exchange of some time to attend for free their favorite part of the conference)

5.2.2 Virtual

  • Digital infrastructure for
    • streaming and recording of talks
    • networking and participants engagement
    • conference schedule
    • social events
  • T-shirts for organizers

5.3 Both / Either

  • Captioning of talks
  • Code of conduct
    • Training, if needed
    • Stipeend for the team

Important Reminder: useR! conferences are not intended for individual or corporate profit. This includes unnecessary high personal expenditures for the benefit of organizers. We can’t give precise numbers as to what qualifies as large amounts, since that would vary widely. Consider typical appropriate pricing for your region, and determine if you would find it to be unusually expensive.

5.3.1 Reasonable expenses for organizers

  • Travel & lodging to participate in your event
  • Local transportation to & from your useR! event or planning meetings
  • Clothing such as shirts to make the team stand out during the event
  • Food and beverage for meetings before and after the event (at typical prices for the region)
  • Expenses for one or two team members to attend the previous useR!

Expenses for organizers which may be inappropriate

  • Gifts for organizers which are not given to attendees and/or speakers
  • Expensive food and beverage for organizer meetings (outside of typical prices for your region)
  • Travel outside of useR! participation needs (including luxury packages, travel to other events, etc).

When deciding on appropriate expenditures, check with your local team and reach out to the core team if you’d like guidance. Remember, these funds are intended to serve your community!