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Section 1.2.2 Sponsor/Co-Sponsor Conference TMRF Guidelines

Section Number 1.2.2 TMRF Guidelines (Sponsor/Co-Sponsor)

SIG Conference Manual

Section Number 1.2.2

TMRF Guidelines (Sponsor/Co-Sponsor)

Why are organizers requested to fill out the Technical Meeting Request Forms [TMRF]?

  • It is a basic planning document to help you identify which decisions must be made before the conference details are publicized.
  • ACM has ultimate fiscal responsibility for the event. The ACM sub-unit has immediate fiscal responsibility.
  • The TMRF is a living document and should be referred to regularly by all committee members during the critical conference planning process.
  • For conferences also requesting cooperating status, please see cooperating guidelines.

Completing the 3-Part Technical Meeting Request Forms [TMRF]
Section I - General Conference Information

Full Title of Sponsored Conference

Provide the frequently used acronym followed by a colon and the full name of the conference/symposium/workshop. The acronym is incorporated into the full name of the event when listed in the calendar. Check for consistency with any trademarked names that might exist or with names used for previous events.

Dates of the Conference

The dates of the technical conference are very important. Check with an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison to avoid conflicts with other SIG, local or professional chapter conferences. You may also check the calendar listing in COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM (CACM), the ACM web page [], or the calendars in the individual SIG newsletters to avoid conflicts with other ACM meetings/conferences which cover similar subject matter.

Length of Conference

Indicate the number of total days the program will be held. Include pre and post-conference tutorial programs.

Conference Facility/Hotel Site Selection - Stephanie Sabal (

List the hotel and/or facility that are under consideration. To take advantage of ACM's total buying power all site contracts should be negotiated by an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison. All contracts require the signature of a volunteer leader and an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison.

Location of Conference

Select the location of your technical meeting with convenience, availability of lodging and transportation, availability of local support, seasonal weather, and recreation in mind. The location usually has considerable impact on the success of the technical meeting.

Meeting Type

The ACM considers that the term "conference" generally implies a technical meeting in which expected attendance will exceed 300 attendees; the term "symposium", 100-300, and "workshop", fewer than 100. Conferences and symposia usually publish proceedings.


Indicate the frequency of the meeting. If this is a recurring conference, be sure to check with the SIG officers for existing policies or guidelines.

Conference Type

This form is only to be utilized for conferences seeking ACM sponsorship or co-sponsorship. This means that ACM and its sub-units share in the planning and financial support of the conference, as well as in the surplus or loss if there is one. Common courtesy dictates that anyone seeking ACM sponsorship or co-sponsorship should discuss it first with the Vice Chair for Conferences or with the Chair of the intended sponsoring SIG(s) or sub-unit. Current ACM policies require those ACM Co-Sponsor Conferences with incorporated not-for-profit organizations, which can provide proof of liability insurance coverage.

Listing of Sponsors and Co-Sponsors

*If this is a brand new conference to ACM/SIG, please check our website ( for specific SIG requirements (if any)

List all ACM and non-ACM sponsors and co-sponsors along with their percentage of responsibility. The total % of responsibility must equal 100%. The ACM sponsorship percentage should not be 0. To simply lend the ACM/SIG name without getting something tangible in return (such as proceedings copyright, or surplus) must be weighed carefully against the use of resources (volunteer and staff time and energy) and the return of benefits to the sub-unit membership as a whole. Listed sponsors should have made a firm commitment. Include a representative or contact (with address and telephone number) for each non-ACM sponsor.

Co-sponsored conferences require a Joint Sponsorship Agreement between ACM and the other sponsoring organizations. Please note that approval will not be given to a co-sponsored conference unless a Joint Sponsorship Agreement is on file.

Below is a list of ACM/SIG Staff Contact Information for submitting the Joint Sponsorship Agreement:
Ashley Cozzi ( - for SIGDA and SIGGRAPH
Farrah Khan ( - for SIGARCH, SIGCHI and SIGHPC

Listing of Cooperating Organizations

List all ACM and non-ACM cooperating organizations and sub-units. If an ACM Sub-unit is seeking cooperation (i.e. borrowing the name) from another organization, there are normally formal procedures for doing so. The Conference Chair must obtain formal written approval before using the name of any organization in conference promotions.

Outline of Topics

The proposed topics will assist the approvers in deciding whether or not the conference is appropriate for their constituency. This outline will help you to publicize the conference in the technical community so be as specific and focused as possible.

Anticipated Audience

Provide audience job functions and locations. This information can be used to identify additional publications appropriate for listing the conference announcement. Please include job types and areas of interest.

Solicitation of Papers

There are many ways of putting together a conference program, including the solicitation for papers. Other types of programs include tutorials, panels, invited speakers, roundtables, workshops, etc. If you have been seeing a decline in conference attendance, perhaps it is time to try a different type of programming to appeal to the needs of the members of that SIG and that technical community. Prior to finalizing the program, the program committee will need to decide whether the presentations will be in-depth or survey, research or application oriented, or tutorial or advanced treatment. If you are soliciting technical papers, you will need to advise the audience about the scope of the subject matter and the paper length limitations.

Selection of Papers

Whether the papers are solicited or not, all papers should be reviewed by at least two anonymous reviewers before final acceptance. Each conference or SIG must establish its own particular criteria for acceptable quality. All of the ACM sub-units require that papers contain original contributions to computing literature incorporating substantially new information not previously published.


Indicate if tutorials will be given during the conference. If yes, indicate the number of full-days and/or half-days. This program format is widely accepted and preferred by some audiences. Tutorials are usually add-on fees and sometimes more heavily attended by a local audience seeking training opportunities. A break-even point should be established for each and speaker agreement constructed with an understanding about minimum numbers required holding the tutorial.

Proceedings (ACM Staff - Adrienne Griscti [Coordinator] / 1-212-626-0615)

Whether or not proceedings will be produced depends on the nature of the membership of the SIG(s) sponsoring the conference and the value of the information, which will be made available at the conference. ACM and the SIGs have long been known for high quality technical conferences and conference proceedings. You should seek the assistance of ACM staff in your planning, pre-publication, assembly, publication, printing, and distribution stages. In most cases ACM can provide conferences with the lowest costs for proceedings and other printed matter. ACM can also take care of arranging distribution of the books to the conference in time for the meeting and will make arrangements for placing the books in the ACM Publication Catalog for post-conference sale.

Number of Proceedings Pages

Provide the anticipated number of total proceeding pages.

Maximum Number of Papers

Provide the maximum number of papers to be accepted for the conference. Consider the amount of time available for technical program, multi-track, and the amount of function space available and the cost of production.

Maximum Number of Pages per Paper

Provide the maximum number of pages for each paper. Consider production and distribution costs. The maximum number of papers multiplied by the maximum number of papers should not exceed the total number of proceedings pages anticipated above.

Published by ACM

All publications produced by ACM are done so under the ACM Press as a uniform way of identifying all ACM publications. ACM Copyright and ACM Press as published go hand in hand. In some extenuating circumstances, however, the Publication Board will entertain proposals for other publishing houses to become involved. This will require the conference chair to the Publication Board chair submit a proposal far enough in advance for action to be taken by the Board as a whole.

Sold by ACM after the conference

Revenue from the post conference sales of proceedings is returned to the sponsoring SIG(s). Proceedings are one of the major services provided by the SIGs to their members, for which members are willing to pay a reasonable price. Please consult with an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison to determine the total number of copies to be printed.

Sold by Other Organizations

If the meeting is co-sponsored with another organization, they should be given the opportunity to purchase copies of the proceedings for post conference sales.

Will ACM Hold Copyright

The Proceedings are a valuable asset of the organization and therefore ACM will not approve a conference for sponsorship or co-sponsorship if the conference proceedings are to be copyrighted by another organization or published by another press organization. With some sister societies we have agreements for jointly sponsored conferences that call for the proceedings copyright to alternate in a prescribed manner. ACM requires copyright transfers for all papers appearing in proceedings. Special permission must be obtained from the Publications Board before any commitment is made to relinquish the proceedings copyright.

Proceedings as a SIG Newsletter

If you budget the issuance of the proceedings as a SIG Newsletter we assume that you have secured the SIG Chair's approval. If the proceeding has been distributed as a newsletter for the previous conference, a precedent has been set which should be carefully considered. The membership will begin to expect this as a member service.
Will there be a Proceedings CD-ROM

Indicate if the proceedings or other conference by-product will be issued as a CD-ROM.

Sold by ACM after the conference

The revenue from the post conference sales of CD-ROM's is returned to the sponsoring SIG(s). CD-ROM's are another of the services provided by the SIG(s) to their members, for which members are willing to pay a reasonable price. For conferences fully sponsored by ACM, the conference should include the counts for single copy sales following the conference in the production run. Please consult with ACM to find out the number of copies to include.

Sold by Other Organization

If the meeting is co-sponsored with another society, they should be given the opportunity to purchase copies of the proceedings for post conference sales.

Recording of Technical Sessions/Video and Audio

Electronic recording and/or reproduction for commercial purposes, in whole or part, of any technical sessions, tutorials, or other presentations at an ACM sponsored or co-sponsored conference is strictly prohibited without prior written consent of ACM and the speaker. This applies to audio-tape or videotape recording. Complete release forms must be signed by all parties involved (a sample can be found in the Conference Manual), identifying the specific use of the recording as part of the release. Attach any proposals to undertake this venture.

Other Conference Products

List any other items which might be distributed such as tutorial notes, conference tokens, etc.

Will there be a conference evaluation

The evaluation process is very important to future conferences you or others may plan. In addition to determining reaction to the current program, you should also seek information for activities to be included in future conferences. This could include ratings for technical sessions, evaluations of social events, effectiveness of the promotions, etc.

Submitted by

Please provide contact information including your name, conference position, address, phone #, fax # and e-mail ID. If any questions should arise regarding the contents of this form, it is necessary to know to whom these issues should be addressed.

When is the best time for your ACM/SIG Staff Liaison to contact you?

If you intend to complete the 3-Part TMRF, without the assistance of your ACM/SIG Staff Liaison please provide a time you can be reached to answer questions regarding the information submitted.
If you intend to complete only Section I (General Conference Information) of the TMRF, please provide a time an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison can reach you. Your ACM/SIG Staff Liaison will arrange a time to discuss your expectations regarding the conference. Their conversation with you will enable them to complete sections II (Budget Detail) and III (Budget Rationale) of the TMRF and send it to you for approval. Once you approve, it will be submitted to the sponsoring SIG(s) for approval.

Meeting Committee Information

In this section, the main technical organizational positions should be identified. If you have a roster of committee persons you may reference it in the TMRF. During the course of your conference planning, if addresses or assignments change, please send those changes to the ACM/SIG Staff Liaison so that we may keep our records on the conference updated. It is generally unwise to select a conference committee from only one or two organizations or companies. Selection of a broader range of participants in the technical area will allow for cross-fertilization of ideas. Employers have also been known to withdraw support for volunteers when the number of people involved becomes excessive. Both the Conference Chair and the Conference Treasurer must be members of ACM.

A complete collection of conference committee job descriptions can be found in the conference manual under each functional section.

Section II - Meeting Budget Elements
Meeting Revenue Detail

(ACM Staff - Diana Brantuas (Budget Coordinator)

Registration Income

Registration counts should be estimated conservatively as it is better to estimate too low than too high. All surpluses are returned to the sponsoring sub-unit to fund non-revenue producing activities, or to subsidize student activities. The most frequent reason that a conference does not deliver its surplus to the sponsoring sub-unit is an overestimation of registration revenue. You should base your estimates on the previous year's actual registration, unless you know of some factor, which would lower the participation (location of meeting, other conferences being held on the same topic, reduction in the SIG membership, etc.).

Please Note: As an incentive to encourage advance registration, which cuts down on personnel for on-site registration and also gives an indication of the expected number of attendees, conferences should offer a discount for early registration. There should be a deadline of approximately one month before the conference and the discount should be substantial enough ($50-$100) to make it worthwhile to the registrant. This also means that registration forms will have to be available several weeks before the early registration deadline. If membership dues are to be accepted at the conference the procedure must be reviewed in advance by ACM.

In budgeting income, attendance should be conservatively estimated by category: Members registration fees (except student fees) should be approximately 25% lower than the fees for non-ACM/SIG Members. Conferences of two or more days should consider offering one-day registrations. The categories of registrations reflected in the budget are for planning purposes only. You may or may not wish to have all of these registration categories. There are four possible classes of registrants at a SIG meeting: l) ACM and SIG members, 2) ACM only, 3) SIG only, 4) Non-ACM and Non-SIG.

The registration fee for an above numbered class cannot be higher than that of the next higher numbered class. This policy does not apply to special classes like students, exhibitors, etc.

Please note: There can be no special registration fees for academic employees.

If complimentary registrations are provided, please attach a list indicating for whom such exceptions are being made. Keep in mind that complimentary registrations will affect your registration income, so dispense complimentary registrations with discretion and only if they have been included in the budget. Complimentary registrations are normally given to press representatives so that editorial coverage might be afforded the conference.

Special Functions

Income from special functions, which is not included in the registration fee, should be based on the estimated price of tickets and the number you expect to sell. Tickets should be priced at cost plus 20% to cover contingencies (such as minimum guarantees) and comps. Most hotels and conference facilities will require minimum guarantees from 48 to 72 hours in advance. Therefore, estimates should be conservative and the Conference Committee should be cautioned against over committing. Guarantees for food and beverage functions can always be increased, but never decreased.

On-site Merchandise Sales

The pricing of SIG Proceedings is calculated as follows: ACM/SIG Members $.07 per page / Non-Members $.14 per page. Therefore, if you are planning to have a 400 page proceedings, ACM's post-conference selling price would be Members $28.00/Non-Members $56.00. The conference committee may price the proceedings for on-site sales using the post conference prices as a guideline. Conferences should make extra copies of the proceedings available on-site. Estimate only the income from sales of proceedings at the conference. Proceedings of SIG conferences sold by ACM Headquarters after the conference are credited to the sponsoring SIG(s). Aside from the member discount given, the conference policy regarding who shall not be given free copies or proceedings (e.g., student, partial registrations) will influence the number of proceedings sold. Conference by-products such as CD-ROM's, posters, T-shirts, mugs, etc. can also be listed in this section.


The registration fee suggestions listed above also apply to tutorials.

Exhibits Program

Average industry increase for growth in Exhibit space is 3-5%. Therefore, you should budget conservatively. Exhibits should be included as part of the program only if the hands-on examination of equipment products or face to face discussion is very important to the audience. Both technical program participants and exhibitors must agree that exhibits add a positive dimension if exhibits are to be successful.

The rate charged for exhibitors must cover all costs associated with the exhibit and should provide some financial contribution to the conference. In 2002, ACM Conferences charged in the range of $1500 -$2,750 per 8' x 10' or 10' x 10' booth. Table top exhibit fees ranged between $150 and $600.

Miscellaneous Income

Before solicitation is made for funds from sources outside ACM, it is best to check with ACM to be certain that the policy on Solicitation of Funds is adhered to. All NSF Grant requests must obtain ACM Headquarters approval in advance of submission. Solicitation of funds of small magnitude (not to exceed $5,000), from a single source and which are for specific goals or services of temporary value may be approved in advance by the chairman of the ACM sub-unit, as appropriate, who shall also be responsible for ensuring that donors are acknowledged and thanked. A copy of the acknowledgment letter shall be provided to the ACM Director of SIG Services (Donna Cappo - The purpose of the fundraising should be identified to donors and should be directly related to the sub-unit's activities, e.g., chapter newsletter, travel to programming contest, conference reception, etc.

When soliciting funds of small magnitude, sub-units should restrict their solicitations to organizations related to the sub-unit's scope of activity, e.g., corporations or branches thereof in the geographical area of a chapter or conference, organizations with products or services in the technical area of the sub-unit. In accepting small donations, sub-units shall not obligate ACM to any liabilities or delivery of services. Credits acknowledging donors are appropriate, e.g., in newsletters or conference programs.

Other Solicitations

Any solicitation of funds that exceeds the threshold of small magnitude, or is outside the other limitations defined above, requires the advance approval of the ACM President. Requests for approval will be sent in writing to the ACM President with a copy to the ACM Executive Director, providing the specific details for the requirement, the dollar amount of funds to be solicited, and the organizations to be solicited. No action should be taken until approval is received. In those instances where the donor requires a special letter for tax purposes, the ACM Executive Director upon receipt of such request will prepare the letter. Some conferences are funded in part by grants (NSF, corporate, school) or gifts. This income should be included in the budget and appropriate confirmation of such funding or in-kind contributions must be on file before the meeting can be approved.
Interest earned on bank account, investments, etc. should also be included in miscellaneous income.

Meeting Expense Detail

The purpose of this section is to assure a realistic estimate of the costs associated with conducting the technical meeting. The budget will be reviewed carefully to assure that ACM's financial obligations for the meeting are not excessive.
You should make every effort to get information such as menus or AV supplier prices that are from the city or facility in which you will be meeting.

The budget suggests three promotional pieces for the conference: a Call for Papers (CFP), an Advance Program (AP) and a Final Program (FP). The Advance Program could also be used as a Final Program for distribution at the conference. Each conference may, of course, determine its own promotion program. We have found, however, that an average of 20% of the conference budget should be allocated to the promotional activities. Most CFP's and AP's are printed and mailed by an ACM vendor. Because of the special permit requirements for third class bulk mail, it is usually more efficient to use the mailing house than to mail flyers yourself. There are many cost components to each publicity brochure. Therefore, this budget may seem very detailed, but it is supposed to call to your attention to items, which you may have overlooked.


Should you decide to have your programs professionally typeset be sure to include this cost in the conference budget. Special artwork/design should also be included in this line item.


For an estimate on printing prices please gather your specifications and forward to SIG Services


ACM SIG(s) lists are complimentary to ACM sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. If the conference will be promoted to outside organizations which charge a fee for their mailing lists include that cost in this line item. The average cost for outside lists is $125.00/1,000.


A mail house will charge approximately $50/1,000 to set their machines to label self-mailers and envelopes. ACM's mail house utilizes an ACM provided diskette and ink jets the name, address and 9-digit zip code directly onto the mail piece.

Envelope Insertion

Generally, direct mail pieces are self-mailers but envelopes are required for all mailings outside the USA. You can assume that an average of 20% of membership mailings is outside of the USA.

U.S. Postage

ACM is entitled to 3rd class Bulk rate, due to its not-for-profit status. Every effort should be made to prepare mailings far enough in advance to use ACM's special bulk mailing rate, which may take up to 4 weeks for delivery. First Class mailings must be budgeted and requested specifically. Bulk rate applies only to mailings within the USA. If you will not be utilizing ACM mail services, a permit must be applied for at the specific post office from which the third class mailing will be done. Rigid requirements for sorting and bundling mail must be adhered to in order for the post office to accept mail at the bulk rate. Most mailings are budgeted at this rate unless there are special reasons to mail First Class.

Non-US Postage

All overseas mailings are sent by airmail or especially drop-shipped as a matter of ACM policy. Estimate that 20% of your mailing list will be outside the U.S.


Include the cost to ship brochures in bulk to members of the committee. This depends on the size of the committee and their locations. Average cost is $15.00 per shipment.


This section of the spreadsheet allows you to budget for advertisements in journals for each of the direct mail pieces.

Committee Expenses

This category is for the general conference committee. Program Committee expenses are to be listed under section 3400. One's employer normally assumes committee expenses. However, in some situations, expenses such as clerical support telephone, supplies, copying, postage, and limited committee travel (when not available from other sources) are legitimate.

Other (mementos, etc.)

As a not-for-profit scientific society, tokens of appreciation and modest mementos may be given to conference committee volunteers but cash remuneration, major gifts, or gift certificates are not permitted. The budget should include the cost of such mementos.

Committee Meetings

Expenses should be budgeted for requirements of the Conference Committee for meeting, travel (including local travel), food service, etc. Funds should be allocated for hotel sleeping rooms and subsistence for key Conference Committee members who are receiving travel support.

Committee Social Functions

The costs of social functions for members of the Conference Committee should be indicated in the budget. These functions should not be extravagant.

Registration Expenses

Pre and on-site registration management is one of the most important activities at the conference. It is usually the first activity a meeting registrant encounters and therefore sets the tone for the meeting in that person's mind. Since on-site registration is also where many problems surface, it may be easier to have a third party responsible for carrying out the policies of the conference committee.


Registration personnel should be hired from local convention bureaus if volunteers are not available. Costs will be in the range of $10.00 - $12.50 per hour with a minimum of 4 to 8 hours per day. The direct expenses of professional management personnel should also be included here (travel, hotel, etc.).

Computer Rental

Local equipment rental agencies should be used for equipment (for badges), and any other office equipment required. Contact the hotel or convention bureau to obtain their sources and prices.

Registration Desk Rental

Registration counters can range from $35 - $125 depending on style choice. However, if you have exhibits and are hiring an "Exhibit Decorating Firm" to provide booths, registration counters are normally included on a complimentary basis. A 50% courtesy discount should also be extended to all other decorating equipment rentals paid for by the conference.


Include estimated telephone hookup charges and any data communications charges for computer operations.

Registration Supplies

Badges, ribbons and tickets are available from local suppliers. Generally prices are in the range of $25.00 per hundred for plastic badge holders and blank inserts. Suppliers can quote actual costs.

On-Site Logistical Expenses

Room Rental

Normally room rental is waived if your meeting brings in a reasonable number of sleeping room nights relative to the number of meeting rooms required. Remember that hotels build meeting space so that they can attract sleeping room and food and beverage revenue. The more you can quantify your past room and food/beverage use, the more leverage you will have in negotiating low meeting room rates. This is another reason to rely on ACM HQ to handle the negotiating and contract requirements.


Signs for the registration area will often cost as much as $45 - $100 each from sign makers. Be realistic in your budgeting process in this area. Check with the hotel to find out what kind of signs they will provide.

Audio Visual

Check the local supplier for the cost of audio visual equipment and budget liberally as most speakers will require at least an overhead, data projector and screen. Rates are by the day regardless of how many hours the equipment is used. Video equipment, including TV screens, is generally more expensive than other types. Most conference facilities and hotels can give you a list of reputable suppliers they deal with. Check the facility for union regulations, which may require operators for all, or certain types of equipment. Keep in mind early meetings may require double time pay.

Music Licensing Fees

These are required to be paid to both ASCAP and BMI if you are planning on having recorded or live music at your event. The fee is based on the number of people at the event with a different fee scale for recorded and live. ACM has a blanket license however; each conference must file a specific form if music is to be played during the event. Contact ACM for forms and fees. Completed forms should be submitted to ACM, along with a check for payment. The actual filing of the forms will be handled by an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison

Conference Food and Beverage

This section of the budget is to include those food and beverage events that are included as part of the normal registration fee. By keeping this separate from the events which require a separate fee, you will be able to look at the finances from a break-even standpoint. Budgeting for receptions and food functions is difficult. Check menus, taxes and gratuities, and beverage costs with the catering manager carefully before making commitments.

The most reliable source of cost estimates will be the Catering Manager at the facility where you are planning to hold your event. Even if you have not finalized or perhaps even chosen the site, if you know generally which city you will be in, then you can estimate your food and beverage from hotel menus with increases built in for future prices. This budget will automatically calculate an 18% service fee and an 8.5% tax on all food and beverage listed. You may adjust this formula in the spreadsheet based on the local taxes and gratuities required at the conference site.

Social functions are an excellent means of communication among registrants. These functions, however, are expected to be of modest expense and in good taste. Costs of social functions may be included in the conference registration fees but should not necessitate extravagant fees.



The conference expense of printing proceedings should include all copies being shipped to the conference. Quantities for single copy sale should be factored into the cost estimates but will be paid for by the SIG. Whether the SIG is to purchase copies for sale after the conference or is to distribute the proceedings to the membership, you must coordinate with the ACM/SIG Program Coordinator for Proceedings (Adrienne Griscti - to be sure that the amount budgeted by both the SIG and the conference are the same.

If you choose not to use the ACM printing services, guidelines for production of proceedings are available on the ACM web-site. An ACM/SIG Program Coordinator for Proceedings sign-off is required on Proceedings Covers, Spines, and Title Page and Copyright Forms.

Cost Allocated to Conference

Based on the total amount printed, indicate the unit cost and the number to be charged to the conference.

Shipping to conference site

First, consider the cost of shipping the proceedings to the conference site. The costs will depend on the distance and whether there is time to ship by surface transportation.

Shipping Proceedings post-conference

Organizers should ship the remaining proceedings from the conference to the ACM warehouse for post conference sales.


Based on the total amount produced indicate the unit cost and the number to be charged to the conference.

Speakers Expenses


Ordinarily ACM does not pay a speaker's fee but special speakers for keynotes or banquets will often charge expenses and a modest honorarium. A modest honorarium is defined in the ACM Policies and Procedures as not exceeding $600 in value per day.


Some conferences include sleeping accommodations with full registration or the conference agrees to pay certain expenses for the speaker (in keeping with the overall ACM travel and per diem policies). In some instances it may be necessary to pay for a speaker's transportation to the conference and related expenses.

Program Committee Expense

Refer to the section on Committee Expenses


Forms should be designed under the direction of the Conference Chair and Program Chair. Each registrant should be asked to submit a completed form at the conclusion of the conference. This will enable the Chair to provide a summary and review of the event for the sponsoring sub-unit.



Honoraria guidelines for Tutorials speakers are $350 per half-day tutorial, and $700 per full-day tutorial. Occasionally travel and subsistence within the ACM travel and per diem guidelines may also be paid. With each Speaker Agreement Letter, you should provide for cancellation without penalty if the tutorial sign up does not meet a break-even number by 30 days prior to the conference.

Meeting Room Expenses

See On-site Logistics Section Tutorial Books /Course Notes - Indicate printing expenses for tutorial materials to be distributed to attendees.

Tutorial Food & Beverage

See Conference Food and Beverage Section

Exhibits Program

While tabletop programs generally require only the expense of the meeting rooms and solicitations by the committee, exhibit programs are more complex and involve additional risk of loss. The budget includes expenses for exhibit space, storage, booth setup, decorating requirements, sales (telephone, printing of brochures, mailings, etc.), drayage, signs, planned social functions, on-site security, additional insurance (if necessary) and management of the exhibit area. Prior discussion with others who have managed exhibits is highly recommended.

Financial Activity

Bank charges

Include charges for checks wire transfers, monthly fees, etc.

U.S.A. based conferences have the option of choosing between an ACM in-house Account and a Merrill Lynch Bank Account to handle the conference finances. Please note that there are fees associated with utilizing a Merrill Lynch Bank Account. Please contact Stephen Sisler ( for further information.

Returned Checks

Normally a fee is assessed for every check received by the conference but returned by the bank on which it is drawn for one reason or another. Past history for the conference is the best indicator.

Credit Card Discounts

If you accept credit cards for conference registration and other fees, the bank deducts a certain percentage from the total amount processed as a transaction fee. The use of credit cards can therefore reduce revenue by as much as 5%. If this cost can be offset in additional registration because of payment convenience, these assumptions should be reflected in your budget planning. Increase may occur if a recognizable percentage is non-US, or there are many conference publications and other merchandise.

International Transactions

Checks received from non-US banks incur additional expenses in the converting process. The charges are assessed to the recipient of the check. Requiring checks in US Currency eliminates the exchange process. These requirements should be clearly noted on the registration form. Past records can give you an idea as to how many of these to budget for.

Bookkeeping Services

Fees for on-site cash management, etc. are highly recommended if the complexity of the conference exceeds the accounting experience of the treasurer. The cost estimates should come from the supplier directly, as those fees can vary greatly.

Bad Debts

The conference is responsible for collecting all fees due with the conference. In most cases, badges, proceedings, exhibit services should be withheld until full payment is made. If for some reason this policy can not be adhered to, some estimate should be made for uncollected fees.

Credit Card Processing

By processing the credit card transactions through ACM, the conference can avail itself of lower fees available as a result of higher volume (all ACM transactions) and eliminate the need to negotiate a separate credit card agreement with a bank.

Audit Review

Conference Management Fee is required in the budget for all conferences with a budget/actual over $500,000 revenue or expense. The cost estimate for this is roughly $7000.

Conference Management

Include outside services in this section such as conference management, destination management, etc.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Any items that don't fit in the spreadsheet should be listed under miscellaneous expenses.

ACM Overhead Fee (please note the exception form below)

ACM/SIG - Since the sponsoring SIGs pay an ACM Overhead Fee to ACM for both intangible support (insurance, legal representation, tax-exempt status, etc.) and for tangible services (advances, maintaining membership lists, specific staff services, copyright handling, etc.), every activity is expected to provide a contribution to that assessment. Each SIG will have specific needs and guidelines, which you should discuss with the Sponsoring SIG Chair(s) or the ACM/ SIG Staff Liaison. You should estimate that amount to be about 16% of total expenses.

ACM Overhead Fee for ACM Conference Activities

The ACM SIG leadership representing all 34 SIGs voted to change the way overhead fees are assessed. After 12 years of basing the payments on revenue they chose to change the formula and base it on expenses. The same formula is in place for all ACM SIGs, their programs and conferences. This required return is not a fee for service but the cost of doing business as part of the ACM organization. The SIG leaders decided on a sliding scale starting at 16% and dropping by .8% for every $125K of expenses to a minimum of 5.35%.

At the request of the SIG Chairs, the TMRF has been modified to accommodate this new formula and calculates the Overhead Fee at 16% based on the total expense budget of the conference. This fee may be customized by the SIG leadership with the understanding that the SIG is responsible for the full fee based on the conferences actual expenses. The decision to bring the ACM Overhead Fee to a point where the SIG is subsidizing the conference should be considered very carefully as it will be unsustainable for any length of time.

The SIG leaders have directed ACM to formulate the ACM Overhead Fee at 16% in the conference budget section of the TMRF. Should a conference organizer want an exception to this policy, they should request approval from the SIG Chair or SIG Vice-Chair for Conference Activity. That SIG Leader will be asked to sign the exception to policy agreement indicating that they understand the SIG will cover the cost of the full overhead if the conference does not.

Request for exception to ACM Overhead Fee as approved by the SIG Chairs in 2006.

Request From:




Approved by:
Conference Chair
Conference Name
Conference Date(s)

SIG Chair
Vice-Chair for Conferences

[With the electronic signature(s) from the Sponsoring SIG(s) Chair & Vice Chair email the form to the attention of Maritza Nichols at]

Other Sponsor Administrative Fees

Many other societies with whom ACM co-sponsors conferences require that money is budgeted to pay certain society expenses. For co-sponsored conferences, it makes no difference that one society may have a higher fee than another may. The fee is never paid directly by the conference. It is budgeted as an expense to ensure that the surplus to cover these expenses is planned. The fees are returned to each sponsor as part of the surplus at the end of the conference. Keep in mind that if the conference is co-sponsored, that the amount realized by each sponsor will be in proportion to his or her sponsorship percentage. Therefore, if there are multiple sponsors, the largest amount required by any of the sponsors must be divided by the sponsor percentage of sponsorship to determine adequate amount for budgeting purposes.


Estimate approximately 15% of total expenses as contingency. This will provide a cushion to cover unanticipated increases in expense, such as food & beverage expense, postal increases, printing costs, accessibility, and any shortfalls in attendance.

Please Note: If utilizing the spreadsheet version of the TMRF, the summary and break-even analysis will automatically be calculated.

Revenue and Expense Summary

These summaries are completed after the Budget Detail is completed. It is useful to provide the previous year information as a point of reference for both your planning and the reviewers' evaluation. The summaries group the revenue and expense by categories as reflected in the Budget Detail. Expenses are broken into 2 categories:

Fixed expenses

The number of registrants does not affect those expenses. This includes all of those expenses which, because of lead times, must be based on some figures other than actual registration. The separation in this budget summary cannot take into account all of the differences found conference to conference, so it is to be used as a general guideline. Fixed expenses will also give you some idea of potential loss in the event of cancellation, since these are normally incurred before a decision to cancel might be considered. All expenses except financial and conference food and beverage are considered fixed.

Variable expenses

These are expenses, which can be increased or reduced depending on the number of registrants. Conference food and beverage and financial activities are variable all other expenses are considered fixed.

Break-even Analysis

This is another way of looking at the revenues and expenses so that you can evaluate the effect of certain parts of the program on the overall finances of the conference. It will also help you to understand which conference activities are subsidizing other activities. And, over time, it will help you to see patterns in attendance, giving you some insight into changes going on with the member preferences.

Break-even Number of Registrants

The importance of understanding the break-even number of registrants for the conference is that it enables you to evaluate the degree of risk associated with your attendance assumptions. By comparing your break-even attendance to the previous year's actual attendance, you will get some idea about the probability of the conference plan materializing.

The calculation here assumes Tutorials, Special Functions, and Exhibits to break even, i.e., REVENUES will equal EXPENSES. If you expect a surplus of revenue over expenses for any of these areas, deduct that surplus from the total of fixed expenses and contingency. If you expect a deficiency of revenue compared to expenses, add that deficiency to the total of fixed expenses. Since each of those activities themselves is a variable expense, creating different scenarios will provide different break-even registration numbers.

Average Income per person

[Registration income + on-site proceedings sales] /budgeted # registrants]

Variable Cost per person

Variable expenses / budgeted # registrants

Break-even number of registrants

(Fixed expenses + contingency) / (Average income per person - variable cost per person)

Conference Advances

If you anticipate that any advance of funds from ACM will be required, indicate that amount and date needed. Any such advance is a loan, not a donation, and is to be repaid in full before any calculation or distribution of proceeds is made.

Advances should cover pre-conference expenses only. It is assumed that for co-sponsored meetings, each sponsoring organization will advance an equal amount. Requests are to be made on the Technical Meeting Request Form indicating reason for advance and when the funds are needed. The advance must be shared by all co-sponsoring societies in proportion to their share of the conference. The total requested advance should not exceed that required to cover immediate needs that cannot be deferred until receipts for the meeting are received.

After the TMRF budget and advance are approved and a conference bank account established, ACM would pay direct expenses for services performed by ACM Headquarters such as advertisements in Communications, Calls for Papers, printing, etc. Other conference expenses should be paid from the conference bank account.

Conference Milestones

Planning for a successful technical meeting starts many months before the actual meeting. If utilizing the spreadsheet simply enter the date of the conference start date and the milestones will automatically calculate. Organizers should pay particular attention to these guidelines. If followed carefully, you should have little trouble in running a successful technical meeting. Should problems arise, contact an ACM/SIG Staff Liaison immediately for advice. Pay particular attention to advertising milestones, and the technical paper review process. If you have already generated a different set of milestones, you may enclose them instead of completing this section. Please make reference to an enclosure on that page in the TMRF.

Section III - Meeting Budget Rationale

Planning Assumptions

As the planning committee for the conference, this is the section of the TMRF where you must describe the basic assumptions you've based your budget on. The best source for precedents on these decisions is those who have been involved with the previous conference. Those organizers can also provide you with a list of "surprises" and pitfalls, which will be useful. The Steering Committee or the Vice-Chair for Conference Planning or the SIG Chair can also advise you about expectations that the sponsoring SIG(s) may have for this conference. Final reports from previous conferences, insights from the SIG Services Department at ACM Headquarters, previous conference final programs are also very helpful pieces of information to have for your planning.

Statutes of the International Council of Scientific Unions
Resolution of the Free Circulation of Scientists
September, 1974

The XV General Assembly

8) Having been informed of a number of cases in which bona fide scientists from National adhering bodies of the International Scientific Unions had recently been prevented from attending symposia organized by these Unions through a refusal to grant entry visas and,

Recalling the earlier decisions taken by the ICSU emphasizing the right to free movement of scientists in this connection,

Draws the attention of the individual scientific unions and other ICSU bodies to the following guidelines and recommends their adoption:

1. Before Symposia or Meetings are arranged:

  • an assurance in writing should be obtained from the organizers in the country concerned that visas will be granted to bona fide scientists if proper applications are made, and
  • the unfortunate consequences, which may arise through failure to grant visas, should be communicated to the organizers of the symposia or meetings involved.

2. The procedure recently adopted by the IUPAC is commended for observance by other unions namely:

  • that application for visas where necessary should be made to the appropriate authorities not less than three months before the date of the symposium or meeting, and if these visas are not granted or promised in writing one month before the date of the event, sponsorship should be withdrawn, and,
  • arrangements for future meetings in any country found unable to comply with these principles should be suspended until more satisfactory circumstances exist.

3. National adhering bodies of the ICSU should urge the authorities in their countries to facilitate attendance and exit visas for scientists to attend such meetings in the same way.

4. Each Union or other ICSU body should inform the ICSU and its Scientists of cases in which withdrawal of sponsorship has become necessary so that other Unions may take this into account in making their own arrangements for meetings and symposia.

5. The Chairman of the Committee for Free Circulation and the Secretary General of the ICSU should maintain a record of cases reported, to which scientific unions and other ICSU bodies may refer.

ACM Resolution on Sponsorship of International Conferences as Passed by the ACM Council, May 25, 1975

Moved: ACM Council, desirous of encouraging open information exchange and complete scientific freedom, subscribes to the following policies relating to international scientific conferences sponsored by, or held in cooperation with, ACM:

  1. The Council endorses the September 1972 addition to the Statutes of The International Council of Scientific Unions, and affirms that official ACM participation in all conferences shall be guided by the principles expressed in that provision: "In pursuing these objectives of the ICSU, the (ICSU) Council shall observe the basic policy of nondiscrimination and affirm the rights of scientists throughout the world to adhere to or to associate with international activity without regard to race, religion, or sex." The (ICSU) Council shall recognize and respect the independence of the internal scientific planning of its national members.
  2. Council indicates that the implementing guidelines contained in the Resolution On The Free Circulation of Scientists of the ICSU XV General Assembly shall be followed to the extent possible in developing implementing procedures specifically meant for ACM sponsored conferences in or outside the United States, recognizing the responsibility of the ACM Council as final arbiter in such matters.

It is the viewpoint of the ACM Council that the computing community should support only such conferences, whether ACM sponsored or not, that subscribe to these guidelines. However, ACM or any of its sub-units shall not enter into formal agreements on international conference sponsorship or participation unless the sponsoring organization in the host country has agreed to adhere to these principles.

To assist international registrants in the event of potential violations of this agreement, the conference should publish the following paragraph in close proximity to the registration form, making the necessary modifications to apply to country in which the conference is being held. If the conference chair experiences any difficulty in this realm, notify the Chair of the ACM Conference Board immediately with all of the proper documentation.


Most non-US delegates will need a United States visa to enter the United States. Visas are usually simple to obtain. Ask for visa applications and consult the nearest US consulate or US interest section in your country. Early visa submission is essential to smooth and timely processing of your visa. Delegates are strongly encouraged to apply for their visas at least three months before departure. We recommend that you attach a copy of the Congress Program to your application to indicate that the event is an open scientific meeting. If you do not receive your visa in thirty days after the submission of your complete visa application, you should inquire on the status of your application to the US consulate where you sent your application.

Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

Telephone 1-212-869-7440 - Fax 1-212-302-5826
Revised - 2007