FAQ's & Resources

Chapter 3: Budget & Finance

RUSA will develop a Business Plan to document fiscal strategies for the division.  The plan will focus and direct these strategies:
  • Assist the division in identifying and meeting member needs;
  • Guide the division in pricing and marketing products and services;
  • Assist the division in defining new products and services; and
RUSA business goals and strategies are currently under review by the RUSA Budget & Finance Committee. The Budget and Finance Committee works with the Executive Director to create a draft budget to present to RUSA Board for approval.

Committee Composition

As of 2017-2018, the committee shall be appointed by the President-Elect and will include:
  • the President-Elect (as Chair)
  • the President
  • the Immediate Past-President
  • Three section representatives who serve on a rotation basis
  • RUSQ Editor
  • the BARC Representative
  • Other appointments may be made at the discretion of the President-Elect as necessary
Ideally, committee members will serve for more than one year in order to become more knowledgeable of the intricacies of the budget and the budget process over time. This composition may see restructuring in the future to make sure we are meeting the needs of the organization.

The Budget Process:

RUSA’s budget year runs September-August. The RUSA budget is part of the ALA budget and RUSA adheres to the ALA budget guidelines and rules regarding salaries and benefits, equipment and space costs/projects, inflation projections, etc.  Division boards have responsibility for approving budgets, multi-year programs and financial plans, which are then reviewed by ALA management and BARC (the Budget Analysis and Review Committee).   The overall ALA annual budget, which includes the RUSA budget, is approved by the ALA Executive Board. Since it is problematic for members of Budget & Finance (B&F) to have complete knowledge of division costs, the budget needs to be developed in consultation with the executive director (who has sole access to expense information) in a participatory and transparent manner.   Divisions also have the responsibility to alert the Association to any planned activities that could have a potential negative impact upon the fiscal stability of the Association. RUSA has made a commitment to fund the RUSA Endowment each year, when possible, from its operating budget.  The RUSA budget is divided into several programmatic and management areas.  They are:
  • Administration—includes staff salary and benefits, hardware and software, office supplies and phone.
  • Membership promotion — includes materials/printing as well as exhibiting at other conferences, membership surveys, and other costs associated with promoting membership in RUSA.
  • Governance Support — includes funding for orientation/training for the RUSA elected leadership.
  • Sections and President’s program — includes funding for conference programming at ALA Annual and Midwinter.
  • Awards — expenses for producing awards and distribution of monetary awards.
  • RUSQ — costs associated with production of RUSA’s quarterly journal.
  • Online Continuing Education (CE) — costs associated with development and promotion of RUSA’s online courses.
  • Publications — costs associated with producing, promoting, storing inventory, for publications.
  • Literary Tastes breakfast — expenses for producing the annual breakfast.
  • Preconferences — expenses for producing preconferences at annual and midwinter
  • Endowment — tracks endowment funds; includes bank fee expenses. 
RUSA’s budget includes, but is not limited to, projections for revenue from these main sources:
  • Memberships
  • Online Continuing Education and webinars
  • Publications
  • Literary Tastes breakfast
  • Preconferences
The executive director will report to the RUSA Budget & Finance Committee and the RUSA board of directors on budget performance quarterly.

Information about RUSA’s Endowment and Use of Endowment Interest

If, at the end of the fiscal year, the revenues from membership dues, preconferences and online courses, RUSQ, donations and publications exceed expenses, the balance (to a maximum of $49,999) may be invested in the RUSA Endowment.  Under the terms of the “Operating Agreement” between ALA and its divisions, divisions are allowed to transfer funds to a long-term investment account and earn interest on the investments provided they have met their mandated reserve level. ALA advises divisions to establish “four or more months of reserves.” RUSA’s “mandated reserve” policy states:  RUSA will achieve and maintain a reserve amounting to 50% of the average expenditures over the last three fiscal years. In 2007, the RUSA Board established that the portion of net earnings (interest less bank fees) to be paid from the endowment fund to the RUSA division fund may be up to 100%. Fifty percent of the net earnings (interest) will be used to support Annual Conference programs and the remainder will be used to support other division initiatives. The RUSA Board and the Budget and Finance committee will make decisions about the expenditures of these funds based on the financial stability of RUSA and the extent to which budget proposals support the RUSA Strategic Plan. The amount of interest varies and is dependent upon the amount of money in the account and stock market/bond performance for the year. In recent years the interest has varied from $6,000 to $10,000, which translates to $3,000-$5,000 available to division programming at Annual Conference and that same amount is available for new initiatives.  RUSA board invites sections and committees to prepare proposals (deadline May 1) for initiative funding.  


When a committee or section wants to undertake a project that will cost money:
  1. RUSA committee chair should submit a request using the proper budget proposal form by May 1. No requests for funds will be accepted after May 1.
  2. Section committee chairs will get approval from their executive committee and the chair of the section should submit the proper budget proposal from by May 1. No requests for funds will be accepted after May 1.
  3. Funding requests will depend on the health of the budget.

Reimbursement procedures:

  1. Chairperson will submit an itemized statement of expenses broken down by category to the RUSA office, on a copy of the request for reimbursement form.
  2. Statement will be independent (not part of) of any correspondence/reports concerning other committee business..
  3. Original receipts for the expenses must be included.

Seeking funding outside of RUSA:

RUSA members, committees, sections and other units may not make any formal requests for contributions on behalf of the division to potential donors without first clearing the request with the RUSA executive director. Solicitations for support are coordinated by the RUSA executive director and the Vendor Relations Liaison. Source: RASD Board, June, 1986; reaffirmed by RUSA Executive Committee, October, 2006. The RUSA office has prepared a sponsorship packet with standard levels of support, advertising specifications and other key information for sponsors. 


Before seeking or accepting financing for any RUSA section or committee publication, program, preconference, or other activity, please observe the following procedures:
  1. Contact the RUSA executive director and indicate the funding need, vendors you wish to contact and amount you will request from each.
  2. Do not contact any vendors until you receive clearance from the RUSA executive director.
  3. Get written confirmation once you have received a commitment from a donor and send that to the RUSA executive director.
  4. Approach those prospects (vendors) most likely to recognize the benefit to themselves for funding a RUSA program, project, etc.
  5. If seeking full funding from a single donor approach them first in person or by phone, then by follow-up letter, then by a follow-up phone call asking for a commitment.
  6. If one prospect declines, move on to the next on the list. Do not discuss or name other potential donors when dealing with one prospect.
  7. If seeking partial funding for a project from a number of prospective donors, let all of them know that others are being invited to share in the opportunity.

When is outside funding appropriate?

Types of situations where outside funding/support might be appropriate include, but not limited to:
  • award
  • membership directory
  • program
  • brochure
  • preconference
  • research project
  • large-scale mailings.

What types of support might you request?

  • in-kind
  • providing speakers
  • doing large-scale mailings (be certain that RUSA's name appears prominently on the envelope-otherwise people may think it is a promotion piece if it comes from a vendor)
  • financial participation
  • donation applied to the total cost
RUSA will pay all bills and will be reimbursed by donor. In the letter of solicitation, be explicit about what you will offer the company for their sponsorship.

You might offer to:

  • Use the company's name on the program brochure, publications, Web site or social media
  • Give public acknowledgment and thank you at the program
  • Offer to display the company's literature at the program/event
  • Publicize the sponsorship in follow-up reports of the program/event.
Note: Remember that ALA mailing lists cannot be sold or negotiated, they can only be rented. RUSA representatives soliciting outside funding should keep the RUSA executive director and, through the RUSA executive director, the officers informed about their activities. Source: RASD Finance Committee, February, 1992; reaffirmed by RUSA Executive Committee, October, 2006

Unexpended funds:

Unexpended funds allocated to a committee, section or section-level committee of RUSA for a special project or a specific purpose shall revert to RUSA. Income derived from publications, preconferences, institutes or other ventures conducted by RUSA committees, sections or section-level committees shall be the property of the division. Source: RASD Board, June 1992; reaffirmed by RUSA Executive Committee, October, 2006.

Guidelines for Funding Research Projects:

As a general practice, RUSA is not a grant-giving agency and does not fund original research. However, RUSA also recognizes that there are times when it may wish to play a leadership role in research related to library services. By participating in such research projects, RUSA is able to help set the agenda for the future of the profession. These guidelines are intended to establish principles and procedures for requesting and allocating funds for research projects.

Evaluation Criteria: When evaluating research proposals, the Board should consider the:

  • Relationship of the project to the goals and interests of RUSA.
  • Potential of the project to influence future development of library services.
  • Potential of the project to affect services for identifiable user populations.
  • Potential of the project to provide information that would not otherwise become available.
  • Potential of funding from other sources to support the project.
  • Qualifications of the researchers.
  • Potential of the project to be completed.
  • Potential of the project report to be published in RUSQ.


RUSA Budget and Finance Committee will serve as the initial review board for any research requesting RUSA funding.
  1. Proposals will be forwarded to the Committee by the RUSA Board.
  2. The Committee will review each proposal and provide the Board with a summary and a recommendation of support or non-support at the next ALA conference.
  3. Proposals that are not supported by the Committee will be presented to the full RUSA Board, but no further action need be taken.
  4. Proposals supported by the Committee will be voted on by the entire RUSA Board. A majority vote of the Board will be required for funding to be approved.
  5. Application and approval process is open. No funding requests will be considered if for any reason the applicants wish to keep the request secret.
  6. Researchers who receive funding will be required to provide written progress reports to the Board prior to each ALA conference. Researchers may also be called to address the Board in person.
  7. Funds must be accounted for according to standard ALA accounting regulations.
  8. A final report will be submitted to the Board upon completion of the project. 
At the discretion of the Board, researchers may also be asked to write a summary for publication in RUSQ. Source: RUSA Board, January 2002; reaffirmed by RUSA Executive Committee, October, 2006 (RUSA Budget and Finance Committee is in charge of updating this page) Rev. 08/2018
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