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IETF LLC 2020 Year in Review & Survey

  • Jason Livingood
  • IETF Administration LLC Board Chair
  • 15 Dec 2020

Today we are releasing a survey for feedback on the performance of the IETF LLC in 2020.

This survey is another tool through which the community can provide their feedback, in addition to other mechanisms such as attending a board meeting, emailing the board, posting to the admin-discuss list. Your feedback will also help us as we prepare to conduct the three-year assessment required in BCP 101 in 2021. Please complete thesurvey before 7 January 2021 at 20:00 UTC. 

As we look back at 2020 we can see quite obviously it was a year of significant disruption due to COVID-19. Despite this, the IETF’s operations have adapted well and we remain on solid footing from both a financial and operational perspective. The key areas of note are:

  1. PANDEMIC: The LLC handled the unexpected financial and operational challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by shifting to online meetings, implementing a new formula of meeting fees, worked to secure online meeting sponsors, cancelling in-person meeting venues, renegotiating meeting venue contracts for future meeting dates, and filing pandemic insurance claims. The LLC also reforcest the 2020 budget following these significant changes and was able to weather the changes with only modest net financial impacts on the organization - in contrast to many other organizations that have run into severe financial and operational problems.
  2. FUNDING THE IETF: More than half of the IETF's revenues came from ISOC in 2020, under a one-time agreement when the LLC was formed that provided $5M in 2019 and $5M in 2020. The LLC secured a unique new agreement with ISOC that will now continue significant funding for the IETF for the next 6 years paying a total of $41,400,000 over that period. In 2021 the funding increases by 25% from $5M to $6.25M and will continue to grow in later years. In addition the LLC secured an agreement for ISOC to provide up to $30M in matching funds for the IETF Endowment, with the first $18M based on an exceptional 2:1 match.
  3. INVESTMENTS: The IETF Endowment and Operating Reserve funds were shifted from ISOC when the LLC was formed, starting with a balance of roughly $16.7M in cash. In December 2019, we finalized an investment policy and in 2020 we executed on a plan to gradually invest these funds. As COVID drove market downturns, we decided to accelerate our schedule of investing in order to take advantage of lower prices. As of December 2020 these funds have grown by over $2.2M, up roughly 13%, an atypical return that was driven by advantageously-timed investments during this year’s market downturn - which is great news - but is a return that is unlikely to repeat itself in the future at a level of risk appropriate for these funds.
  4. FINANCIAL AUDIT: An important part of starting a new organization is putting in place appropriate financial and approval checks and balances, creating and managing a budget and so on. Independent auditors are then used to check to ensure that best practices have been followed, that all financial transactions have been properly accounted for, and that appropriate financial controls are in place. The LLC successfully completed its first independent financial audit and no issues or deficiencies were identified.
  5. POLICIES: The LLC has now completed, following community consultations and subsequent updates, all of the policies required for compliance with the law, the contract with ISOC, or as an organizational best practice. This was a one-time bootstrapping event and now that it has been completed the LLC will shift focus to ensuring ongoing compliance.

The survey may be completed until 7 January 2021 at 20:00 UTC.