TL;DR: This blog post details the financial commitments of SIGCHI for the fiscal year that just started (July 1, 2023 — June 30, 2024).
What is the SIGCHI Budget?
Around the start of the calendar year, the ACM asks all its Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for their upcoming fiscal year budgets, communicating the funds available for each SIG as well as projected incomes and expenses for current/upcoming fiscal years. The projections draw on the SIG’s conference budgets and the initiatives budgeted for by the Executive Committee (EC) in the prior year.
SIGCHI is beginning the 2024 fiscal year with USD 4.3 million, with a total projected income of USD 7.7 million and projected expenses of USD 8.5 million (ACM allows us to plan for spending more than our projected income, but not more than our total assets: USD 12 million). Sources of revenue generally include conferences, downloads from the ACM Digital Library (DL), and membership dues. Expenses come from conferences, EC spend, and ACM overhead.
Our 26 conferences are projected to bring in USD 6,439,775 (84% of the SIG’s total projected income), mainly through registration fees and sponsorship. The ACM calculates these numbers according to submitted budgets or projections based on the last available budgets. The remaining USD 1,223,838 is estimated as follows:
- USD 90,905 — membership dues and subscriptions
- USD 1,026,393 — SIGCHI-related downloads from the ACM DL
- USD 106,540 — other incomes (e.g., interests and proceedings sales)
The ACM has thus far distributed funds to each SIG according to the number of downloads from the DL. SIGCHI is projected to have 2,742,366 downloads in the next year, which the ACM has converted into USD. The move to Open Access may impact our future revenues, although not in FY24. We are in conversations with the ACM to understand (and be prepared to contend with) the implications of this change, we assure you.
The expenses, estimated at USD 8,540,931, are expected to come from SIGCHI conferences (64%), EC initiatives (27%), and ACM overhead (9%).
Our conferences are projected to spend USD 5,494,481, based on ACM estimates, on food and beverage, logistics (e.g., location rentals), online platforms, contracts with external companies (e.g., event management or registration support), and more.
The EC, instead, is planning to spend USD 2,292,000 (see below). Arriving at this amount required multiple group meetings and 1:1 conversations over about a month to ensure that our plans were realistic and in alignment with SIGCHI values and priorities.
In FY24, SIGCHI is expected to give ACM an overhead amount of USD 754,450. This is a fee that is part of doing business at ACM (e.g., staff support). Each conference covers (roughly) the overhead associated with its own spending, and the EC covers the rest.
The EC focuses on addressing barriers to participation across the SIGCHI community to be inclusive of and responsive to its increasingly diverse membership. We prioritize accessible, safe, sustainable, equitable, global, and hybrid participation, with leadership roles, committees, and working groups dedicated to engaging community and infrastructure to put these values into practice. It is then fundamental that the expenses reflect and support such goals while keeping the SIG running. Our expenses for FY24 are summarized in the following image and detailed below.
Around 30% of our planned expenses will go towards conference support, at USD 694,000, broken down as follows:
- USD 524,000 goes towards the development, maintenance, and operations of QOALA for conference management and our Programs App (PWA).
- USD 100,000 is allocated for supporting PCS and CVENT use.
- USD 70,000 is reserved for conferences to experiment with new modes, innovate on hybrid/virtual engagement, etc.; they can apply through the SIGCHI Development Fund (SDF).
General expenses form the second-largest segment of our budget at USD 412,000 (18%). This includes all our operational costs:
- USD 275,000 — travel and meeting expenses (for 200+ EC committee volunteers, ACM, and event management personnel).
- USD 135,000 — external project management contracts.
- USD 2,000 — miscellaneous expenses (e.g., mailing, printing, etc.).
At USD 260,000 (11%), community support is our third-largest commitment. It comprises the Development Fund for community initiatives (USD 90,000) and the Gary Marsden Travel Awards (USD 170,000).
Around 10% of the expenses are for various community-focused initiatives that are organized by the EC and its committees (USD 235,000). They are:
- USD 110,000 — for our upcoming SIGCHI Summit on peer review.
- USD 24,000 — for supporting our Futuring SIGCHI committee’s projects.
- USD 15,000 — towards a safety plan for conferences and events.
- USD 60,000 — to support local events collocated with EC meetings.
- USD 10,000 — for mini-courses on producing/reviewing research.
- USD 13,000 — to support the maintenance/redesign of the website and communication.
- USD 3,000 — for showcasing global HCI research.
Membership benefits account for another 7% of projected expenses, at USD 150,000. These include Interactions (USD 110,000), and Grammarly and Overleaf discounts (USD 40,000 for both).
3% of our expenses are dedicated to accessibility (USD 65,000). This area consists of the following support:
- USD 25,000 — to support SIGCHI conferences to cover accessibility requests.
- USD 25,000 — for making accessible PDFs available in the ACM DL (process piloted by UIST, DIS, and TEI).
- USD 15,000 — for accessibility support for EC/committees’ meetings (e.g., CART, SLI, mobility aids).
SIGCHI awards, operations, and chapter support each represent around 3% of expenses:
- USD 80,000 — for assigning and managing SIGCHI awards.
- USD 76,000 — to support our video capture stations and the organization’s various software subscriptions (e.g., Zoom, Submittable, SurveyMonkey, etc.).
- USD 58,000 — for the development of existing SIGCHI chapters.
Around 2% of expenses will support each of these initiatives:
- USD 50,000 — for the Latin America, Asia, and Mediterranean regional committees.
- USD 48,000 — sustainability grants for the community (available via the Development Fund).
- USD 50,000 — to support the CHI conference organization and CHI Steering Committee meetings.
- USD 50,000 — the President’s Discretionary Fund to cover unexpected expenses. In the past, this fund was used to cover accessibility requests for SIGCHI conferences, in addition to the dedicated funds reported above.
Finally, the rest of the budget is dedicated to the following areas, each accounting for 1% or less of expenses:
- USD 25,000 — to enable relationships with external partner organizations.
- USD 16,000 — to sustain publication-related initiatives: ToCHI/PACM support and SIGCHI Tech News production.
- USD 15,000 — training and support for SIGCHI CARES members to serve at our conference locations.
- USD 8,000 — to create initiatives for promoting and showcasing volunteers’ efforts.
2024 and Beyond
SIGCHI’s finances for 2024 are in good shape, and our budget gives us ample room to continue our earlier, relatively established offerings, while also starting initiatives that will potentially benefit more members of our community, and in more ways than before.
If things go according to plan, SIGCHI should start the 2025 fiscal year with an availability of USD 3,508,409. Our hope is that at this point it will be well-positioned to transition from our current expansive phase, having explored several and varied new initiatives, towards consolidating and stabilizing successful initiatives centering and enabling core SIGCHI values and goals. To this end, we will be monitoring our finances carefully through the year, ensuring that we have enough data to responsibly determine what and where our next investments should be.