IAFC 2019 Budget: Growing To Serve You Better

These are exciting times at the IAFC. Our conferences, which now include an international presence, are flourishing. Our influence on Capitol Hill – to ensure our legislative and federal funding priorities are heard – has never been stronger. Our programs, education and training opportunities, from all-hazards to wildland fire, are second to none. Our new headquarters in Chantilly, Virginia, provides our professional staff the tools and technology they need to help us achieve strategic goals as reaffirmed earlier this year in the IAFC Strategic Direction

As the fiscal year 2019 budget was prepared, four major principles were taken into account and used to guide the results:

  • Conservative – The budget respects the current economic environment with prudent revenue assumptions.
  • Realistic – The budget is supported by careful analysis and has a plan of operation behind it.
  • Comprehensive – It captured all financial activity of the association, which mirrors what the audited financial statements will be at the end of the year.
  • Balanced – Total revenues equal the total expenses.

On December 6, I presented a proposed fiscal year 2019 budget to the IAFC Board of Directors. It was approved unanimously.

The approved budget is balanced and allows us to continue to provide a high level of service that is expected from our members, customers, and partners. The budget also continues to diversify our revenue stream. It maintains all current levels of service with all current staff positions fully funded. We will continue to meet the board’s mandate of increasing our net assets, including $300,000 to operational reserve in 2019, a financial policy that helped weather unexpected expenses in 2018.

Major reorganization efforts in 2018 have positioned the IAFC for continued success. The introduction of the Business Development Department has successfully focused on development of diverse revenue streams across the globe. This department has also been providing assistance to the IAFC sections to help maximize their revenue streams to keep the great work continuing.

The IAFC Center for Professional Development will continue to produce conferences and provide education to the members of the fire service. In addition to the conferences that members have attended for many years, there will be additional domestic and international conferences that will support the IAFC mission of “Lead. Educate. Serve.”

In 2019, the IAFC will also manage the All-Hazards Incident Management Team Association conference and produce two conferences in the Middle East, expanding our international presence. Company officer and chief officer education will continue in 2019, developing the current and future leaders of the fire service.

Government relations and advocacy will remain a core purpose of the organization. Focus will continue on safety and health of firefighters, as well as the funding of federal grant programs such as Assistance to Firefighter Grants, SAFER and hazmat grants.

IAFC membership is expected to remain strong, with anticipated growth of 2.5% in FY19 following a stable FY18. We expect a membership of approximately 10,200 paying members to end FY18, along with 1,225 life members.

In addition, upon the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the board voted unanimously to increase dues by approximately 3.2% across all membership types. The increases range from $2.50 to $6.00 per year depending on your membership type. The dues increase helps to keep the IAFC well-positioned for future growth and continued influence on behalf of our members and industry.

The last dues adjustment was made in 2013. With each successive budget, the board has worked with staff to diversify the association’s revenues to provide more financial stability and to minimize the need for dues increases. During the past five years, we’ve been able to expand greatly programs and services offered to our members and without any increase in dues.

Overall, the FY19 budget realizes a balanced budget with a net increase of $225,390 in section assets. Please note that the budget summary below was prepared before the board meeting and does not reflect the additional revenue from the dues increase.

Travel and Meetings

Travel costs continue to be a large component of the IAFC budget. Projections indicate a 17.81% ($222,257) increase in FY19 primarily related to program delivery, including increased international travel as we develop our broader presence. Funds remain in the budget for travel to key meetings and to interact with IAFC divisions, sections and conferences. Funds are also in the budget to pay for travel to three conneXions programs for approximately 30 fire departments over the coming year. Three IAFC Board of Directors meetings are budgeted for 2019.

Sections and Divisions

Over the years, the IAFC sections’ assets have continued to grow, and it is anticipated that this growth will continue. This year, the IAFC treasurer has continued to enhance the budgeting process with the sections and all have submitted balanced budgets. Total section net assets are anticipated to increase $225,390 in FY19.

The Division Secretaries meeting at the IAFC headquarters is funded for hotel and meals. All divisions will be responsible for transportation costs to the meeting. A meeting is required by the IAFC bylaws.

Fire-Rescue International

Fire-Rescue International (FRI) continues to evolve with many creative additions to the schedule to enhance the attendee experience. FY19 FRI includes exhibit-hall rental ($95,000), which wasn’t required in FY18. Funding is provided to continue with the Presidential Celebration luncheon to officially end the conference.

IAFC Programs and Participation

The majority of programs offered by the IAFC are produced with funding from external sources, primarily grants and contracts with the federal government. Many of the grants and contracts are multiple-year agreements with revenue and expenses spread over the duration of the grants. It is anticipated that the majority of funding of those programs will continue at least through 2019.


This area continues to be enhanced, and continual cost savings are realized in some areas. We continue to realize increases in purchasing Wi-Fi services for FRI and other conferences. As the IAFC continues to become more technology-based, our capabilities have continued to increase in the area of GIS and with website storage space. We continue to utilize best practices and technology tools to protect IAFC and personal member data from cyber threats.

We have continued to fund our new phone system that was installed in early 2015 with a five-year lease-purchase plan. We have been able to continue our computer replacement plan to ensure that all staff have computers that are no older than three years in accordance with our technology replacement plan.

The following information gives more details on the projected performance of the various parts of the IAFC budget.

Communications and Government Relations

The budget helps support expansion of our overall communications operations to enhance our reach and effectiveness especially in digital communications across all IAFC digital communications platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. We’re strengthening our government-relations efforts, which are very important to ensure critical funding for equipment and staffing in fire departments, such as FIRE and SAFER grants and Medicare Ambulance Add-On Payments.

Financial Summary

The IAFC FY19 budget proposal is poised for growth on top of the foundation laid in 2014 and stabilized from FY15 through FY18: keep the bottom line balanced and grow the board-designated operating reserve fund with $300,000 from operating surplus. The primary purpose of this operating reserve fund is to ensure the long-term financial stability of the association, to position it to respond to varying economic conditions and changes affecting the association’s financial position and to ensure the ability of the IAFC to continually carry out its mission.

The consolidated IAFC budget is being submitted at a breakeven with no use of gains from the unrestricted investment account. With this proposed budget, unrestricted net assets would increase by the $300,000 contribution to the board-designated operating reserve. It is anticipated that by the end of the current fiscal year, the IAFC will have approximately $6,338,903 in net assets, detailed out in the funds listed above, and a proposed net assets balance of $6,488,903 by the end of FY19.

This table provides a snapshot of the FY19 proposed budget:

Anticipated Net Assets, Jan 1, 2019 $6,338,903
Proposed FY19 Revenue $20,233,094
Proposed FY19 Expenses $20,232,964
Proposed Change in Net Assets $150,000
Anticipated Net Assets, Dec 31, 2019 $6,489,033

Section financial data is not included in the summary above.

Total Consolidated IAFC Budget

Here is a detailed look at the total consolidated IAFC budget:

FY2019 Proposed
Consolidated Budget
Percent of Total
Consolidated Budget
Grants, Contracts, and G&A $11,181,984 55.26%
Conferences & Exhibits $4,058,953 20.06%
Member Dues $1,898,750 9.38%
Contributions & Sponsorships $1,733,165 8.57%
Royalties $287,000 1.41%
Other Revenue $1,073,242 5.32%
TOTAL REVENUE $20,233,094 100.00%
Personnel Costs $8,176,164 40.41%
Grants and G&A $4,096,244 20.25%
Conferences & Meetings $2,042,006 10.09%
Travel $1,470,321 7.27%
Depreciation & Facility $784,315 3.88%
Professional Fees $1,889,679 9.34%
Website, Equipment & IT $666,817 3.30%
Operating Reserve $300,000 1.48%
Other Expense $807,418 3.98%
TOTAL EXPENSES $20,232,964 100.00%
Increase to Board-Designated Operating Reserve $300,000  


Consolidated Expenses

This is the core operation of the IAFC. It includes personnel, conferences, travel, grants, facilities and equipment – basically the costs to provide services to the membership, generate revenue, complete programmatic goals and administer the association.

Here is a detailed look at expenses:

FY19 Proposed Budget FY18 Budget Dollar Variance Percent Variance
Personnel Costs $8,176,164 $7,274,367 $901,797 12.40%
Grants and G&A $4,096,244 $3,713,259 $382,985 10.31%
Conferences & Meetings $2,042,006 $1,642,723 $399,283 24.31%
Travel $1,470,321 $1,248,064 $222,257 17.81%
Depreciation and Facility $784,315 $809,096 ($24,781) (3.06%)
Professional Fees $1,889,679 $2,340,476 ($450,797) (19.26%)
Website, Equipment & IT $666,817 $792,313 ($125,496) (15.84%)
Operating Reserve $300,000 $300,000 $0 0.00%
Other Expense $807,418 $1,271,711 ($464,293) (36.51%)
TOTAL EXPENSES $20,232,964 $19,392,009 $840,955 4.34%


The 2019 budget is realistic with a healthy amount of risk and is balanced, and it continues to give the IAFC the financial resources to serve our members while at the same time continuing to increase our net assets. As we experienced in FY18, our budget is easily affected by unexpected events. By adhering to the principals that the IAFC Board has adopted, we will continue to serve our members while remaining committed to having the resources to carry us into the future.


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