It hasn't always been the case that The Perl Foundation has much of a budget to speak of. There were many early years that we flew by the seat of our pants. "Is it in the budget" was more or less the same as asking "what's left in the bank account?" But, as the foundation has grown up, so have our business and accounting practices.
First, it is helpful to know that The Perl Foundation has an accountant and bookkeeper that we work with in order to prepare our taxes, keep our records straight, and to help out with the interesting accounting questions that come along with running a charitable foundation. Everything that we do is tracked using commonly accepted standard accounting practices by an independent, licensed accountant.
So, what's up with this mysterious TPF budget anyway? How does it all work? As with everything else, it starts with the Perl community. The leaders of TPF do their best to listen to the community. We try to feel out what the needs are. We also solicit feedback to determine the attitude on existing programs: do the members of the community favor what we are doing? Have the programs been successful? What needs adjusted?
Next, the Treasurer reaches out to the Chairpeople of TPF's committees: Community Advocacy, Conferences, Marketing, Grants, and Steering. They needs to write up their plans for the coming year. They need to explain what they want to do, and how much it will cost.
Once all of that is done, the Treasurer meets with the President to get feedback on her visions for the upcoming year. The feedback that has been received and various committee requests are discussed. There are also program that operate outside of a specific committee (for example, the Outreach Program for Women.) All of this must be considered in detail in order to formulate both a reasonable set of objectives for the upcoming year and a matching budget. The outcome is a draft plan for the following year.
Finally, the draft plan is sent along to The Perl Foundation's Board of Directors. The Board reviews the recommendations, makes adjustments as they deem necessary, and ultimately approves the final budget.
Once the budget has been approved, each chairperson has the discretion to spend their budget on the items they had initially requested (within a few limitations and guidelines.)
The budgets can get a little complicated due to the way we handle fund accounting: We have a general fund that handle a majority of our operations. We also operate separate funds for the Ian Hague grants and the Perl 5 Core grants. So, each of those need to be budgeted separately.
We also operate separate custodial funds for the various Perl workshops that associate with us. But since TPF's money typically does not flow in or out of the Perl workshops, we do not budget those.
The entire process takes about three months to complete. Requests from Chairpeople were due today. We expect to have the 2015 budget final by early January.