Chapter 2:  Budget


Budget:           Develop cost and income estimates for all aspects of the meeting. Work closely with the President regarding budget approval and fund-raising.



General Approach to the Meeting Budget


There is no set budget for a MAALL meeting.  The Local Arrangements Chair develops a budget based on estimated costs and income. The goal should be to have the meeting break even if possible, though some meetings have required subsidies from the MAALL treasury. Any such Adeficit spending@ should be approved by the President.



Developing the Budget


The Local Arrangements Chair should develop an initial budget in the spring before the meeting and have it approved by the President.


No commitments should be made to caterers, transportation companies, outside speakers, etc. until the preliminary budget has been approved. A commitment will have to be made earlier to the hotel, when the contract is signed. (See Hotel chapter.)


Developing the initial budget is a tricky business, as just about everything at this point is based on estimates. (See budgeting sections in specific chapters throughout this Manual for budget considerations in particular areas.)


Especially important is the estimate of attendees, since this has a significant effect on both the income (registration fees) and the expenses (costs for catered meals, etc.). Use registration counts from recent meetings as a guide, though other factors, such as location, joint meeting with another chapter, etc. should also be considered. It is recommended that you develop at least 2 scenarios (budget for 80 attendees, budget for 100 attendees, etc.).


Estimated costs and income should be charted on a spreadsheet or other type of balance sheet. The difference between the two will indicate how much fund-raising is required in order to go forward with all plans! (See sample spreadsheets at end of chapter for MAALL 2001 St. Louis.)


Registration fees


Registration fees should be set based primarily on costs of covered per person expenses (meals, transportation, etc.) Other overall costs, such as registration materials, printing and mailing, and program costs, such as speakers= fees or transportation, may also be considered. The fee should be kept as low as possible to encourage participation, but not so low as to make it difficult for MAALL to pay the meeting=s expenses!


Note that vendor donations have declined as many vendors have merged, so higher fees may be needed. MAALL remains a bargain compared to many meetings!

Any increase in the registration fees over the previous year should be approved by the President.

[Note: St. Louis 2001 broke the previous $99 registration fee ceiling by charging $125.]


Higher fees are normally charged for non-members, late registrations, and per day registrations.




Each Local Arrangements Committee member who is responsible for a particular area (such as hotel food, transportation, outside caterers, equipment, registration, etc.) should develop a cost estimate.


Also check with the Program Chair regarding any anticipated need to pay for outside speakers. Payment for outside speakers is normally limited to one or two and should be approved by the President. (MAALL member speakers are expected to pay their own costs.)


MAALL is also responsible for paying hotel, meals, and other incidental costs for the AALL Executive Board representative. (AALL pays transportation costs.)


The budget should also include the cost of travel grants, which are awarded by the Grants Committee.


Tax exemption


Important!! A major factor in costs may be whether or not MAALL has to pay sales tax. This can vary by state. Payment of sales tax can significantly increase costs.


MAALL is registered with the IRS as a non-profit corporation, but this does not automatically insure tax exemption.


Check your state=s laws early! If MAALL has met in your state in recent years, contact previous Local Arrangements Chair to see if he/she may have any information on this.


It may be necessary to apply for a tax exemption status, which takes time. Work with the MAALL Treasurer to complete the application and locate any necessary documentation.


Even if state tax exemption is available, MAALL still may have to pay other local taxes. Also, liquor may not be tax exempt. Check local regulations.


Note: If MAALL is tax exempt in your state, you will need to present documentation of this status to the hotel, caterers, etc. Some businesses, such as stores where you may buy Hospitality food and drink, may not honor the tax exempt status unless you have an organizational account there. Check ahead for the store=s policies.





Contributions received from vendors, law firms, law schools, etc. are an important part of the MAALL meeting budget.




Traditionally, the President is responsible for fund-raising, though other arrangements may be made if necessary or desirable. (Example: The President=s library position may prohibit fund-raising, or the Local Arrangements Chair may have local contacts he/she wishes to handle.)


A plan for fund-raising should be developed early on between the President and the Local Arrangements Chair. Coordination and regular communication are essential.


Note that many vendors may be contacted both by the President for donations and by the Exhibits Chair who will be soliciting paid exhibit space at the meeting. (See Exhibits chapter.) Vendors may also contact the Local Arrangements Chair about either of these.


The Local Arrangements Chair, the President, and the Exhibits Chair should discuss this early and determine how such contacts will be handled.


Potential donors


The President (assuming the President handles the fund-raising) should contact major legal publishers and electronic service vendors, law firms and law schools in the meeting area, and other library or law-related organizations or individuals. The Local Arrangements Chair can be very helpful in suggesting local contacts.


In addition to asking for cash donations, the President should also request donations of promotional merchandise, such as registration bags, pens, notepads, etc. It is particularly important to find a vendor that will provide good quality registration bags! [MAALL 2001 St. Louis got them from Lexis.]


Receipt of donor checks


Donor checks should be clearly identified as meeting donations and sent to the MAALL Treasurer for deposit. The President should write a thank you letter to each donor, and keep the Local Arrangements Chair informed of donations received.


Sometimes vendors wish to pay the hotel, caterer or other contractor directly for a sponsored event. This is not recommended, but if they insist, be sure to notify the contractor how payment will be handled. Also, keep a record of the donation for recognition and for future meeting planning. Note that vendors, if paying directly, are not eligible for any state tax exempt status MAALL may have. 

Donor recognition


The President should find out whether a donor wishes to be recognized as a sponsor of a specific event, such as a luncheon, reception, etc. If so, he/she should work with the Local Arrangements Chair to determine the cost of these events and match the amount the vendor is willing to donate with the cost of events.


The President should notify the donor of what event it can sponsor and be sure the donor concurs.


All donors should be recognized in the program, including organizations which donate services, copying, etc. Sponsors of specific events should be recognized both in the program and with signs at the event. The vendor sponsors should also be publicly thanked at the event by the President or the Local Arrangements Chair; and their representatives introduced.



Receipts and Payments


Note that all income should be sent to the MAALL Treasurer for deposit.


All bills should be reviewed and approved by the Local Arrangements Chair and then sent to the MAALL Treasurer for payment.


After the meeting, when all bills have been paid, the Treasurer should prepare a detailed meeting report identifying all income and expenditures. Copies should be sent to the Local Arrangements Chair, the President, and the new Local Arrangements Chair.



Recommendations of the MAALL Special Committee on Annual Meeting Policies
MAALL Annual Business Meeting, July 19, 2005

Reimbursement of Expenses for Speakers Outside of the MAALL Library Community 

MAALL will pay meeting registration, travel, hotel and meal expenses.

Travel expenses are defined as coach airfare and shuttle/taxi service to and from the hotel.  Automobile mileage or an alternative to airfare will be paid but should not exceed the cost of coach airfare.

Hotel expenses are defined as the room rate plus tax.  Any additional hotel charges, such as telecommunications or movies, must be paid by the speaker.  MAALL will only pay for those nights required by the meeting and transportation schedules.


Some meals are included as part of the meeting registration which MAALL provides.  It is expected that the speaker will join MAALL for meals included in the  registration.  MAALL will pay for other meals required as part of the travel.


MAALL will not be responsible for expenses other than those listed above.


Honorarium for Speakers

When MAALL has a healthy budget, the President is encouraged to supplement the programming for the annual meeting.  The President may elect to spend up to 20% of the budget balance carried forward from the previous year on speakers and other educational programming.  The Board must approve such expenditures if they will exceed this amount.

Complimentary Meal Tickets


Complimentary meal tickets may be offered to honored guests such as city officials, managing partners, executive directors, judges, deans, and/or guests of the speakers.  None will be given to local arrangement members.

Cancellation and Refund Policy


The cancellation and refund policy should be clearly stated on the registration form. Full refunds will be given when notice of cancellation is received at least 21 days in advance of the conference. Half of the registration fees will be refunded when notice of cancellation is received between 7 and 20 days in advance of the conference. No refund will be issued if the cancellation is received fewer than 7 days before the conference. Approved refunds will be made only after the annual  meeting. In lieu of cancellation, an alternate may be sent. If the alternate is not a MAALL member, she must pay any difference in rate. The Board shall have the discretion to refund the registration fee in extraordinary circumstances.


The following language is to be used on the registration form itself:

Cancellations and Refunds 

 If you register and find you cannot attend, you will receive a full refund if you notify [Registration Chair, contact info] by [date of 21 days in advance of conference]. If you cancel between [dates of 7 days in advance and 20 days in advance], half of your registration fees will be refunded. No refund will be issued after [date of 6   days in advance]. Approved refunds will be made only after the annual meeting. Instead of canceling, you may choose to send an alternate. If the alternate is not a MAALL member, she must pay any difference in rate.



Budget Samples

           Budget spreadsheet, POST meeting actual expenditures and income, 2001 St. Louis    (PDF)
           Budget spreadsheet, original estimate, March 22, 2001, 2001 St. Louis                       (PDF)
' reports, post-meeting:
                2001    St. Louis          (PDF)
                2000    Fayetteville      (PDF)
                1999    Kansas City     (PDF)
           Missouri sales tax exemption certificate, 2001 St. Louis    (PDF)
           Sample thank you letter to donor, 2001 St. Louis             (PDF)



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