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Travel Policy for Trustees

As amended by Board Resolution 2019-XX on 19 October 2019.

The Internet Society (ISOC) provides travel assistance and expense reimbursement to members of the Board of Trustees who require it to conduct board business. The Internet Society is a non-profit organization and keeping board expenses to a minimum allows ISOC to better fulfill its mission. Trustees who are able to obtain outside funding, particularly (or typically) from their employer, to attend ISOC board meetings, retreats and other events are encouraged to do so. Trustees are expected to minimize Board travel expenses.

A budget for board expenses is to be included in the annual ISOC budget and made available to the ISOC Community. A report on the overall level of spending is to be shared with the board quarterly.

It is the policy of the Internet Society to reimburse only reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred by the individual Trustee and officers. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that adequate cost controls are in place, acceptable uses of travel funds are explained, and a uniform and consistent approach is applied for the timely reimbursement of authorized expenses incurred by Trustees.

This policy is designed to cover all predictable travel expenses; however, it is impossible to anticipate every scenario that may occur. It is expected that Trustees will exercise good judgment and act in accordance with their fiduciary responsibilities to the Internet Society when unforeseen situations arise.

Acceptable Uses of Travel Funds

If the Trustee traveling is the Board Chair, in each instance below the travel is approved by the Treasurer rather than the Board Chair.

Board Meeting and Annual Board Planning Retreat Travel

The Internet Society Board of Trustees currently convenes three face-to-face board meetings and one annual planning retreat. Trustees may claim reimbursement for travel to these meetings and retreats per the procedures listed below if they do not have other means of support.

On occasion, board meetings are co-located with other events. If a Trustee would like reimbursement to participate in a portion of a co-located event that they would not otherwise have attended, and solely in order to understand a topic that is being studied by the ISOC board, the Trustee must:

  1. a)  submit a written justification along with a funding request, and receive the Board Chair’s approval, in advance, to attend a specified portion of the co-located event, and
  2. b)  use the additional day(s) to attend the co-located event and not for other activities, whether business or personal, and
  3. c)  these funds will be expressly limited to any extra day(s) of a hotel room and for individual meals for the Trustee.

Official Representative Travel

From time to time, the board is asked to appoint an official representative to another organization. Upon such appointment and acceptance, a Trustee may claim reimbursement for travel to required meeting(s) provided that the Trustee has requested and received the Board Chair’s approval, in advance. The Trustee should, during the process of being considered for such an official representative role, disclose a need for reimbursement so that the Board may fully consider the potential financial impact of such an appointment.

CEO-requested Travel

The Internet Society sponsors and participates in a wide range of ISOC and external events each year to advance its programmatic objectives. Some of those events require the presence of an expert in a given area. From time to time, when the suitable expert happens to be a Trustee, the CEO may ask the Trustee to speak at the event based on his or her expertise. If the Trustee accepts the CEO’s invitation, the Trustee may claim reimbursement for travel to the event, subject to approval of the Board chair, as specified below.

The CEO may also consider proximity to event locations and the availability of travel funds when considering Trustees for speaking opportunities. Generally speaking, however, Trustees that are already planning to attend a non-Board event will be expected to cover the entirety of their travel expenses and that any reimbursements should be considered on an exception basis.

Any Trustee requesting such funding from the Internet Society shall disclose to the Board, via email, the type of funding (e.g., reimbursement for travel and accommodation to speak at a conference as an ISOC Trustee) and the rationale for funding (e.g., expert knowledge of the conference’s subject matter) at the time he or she requests funding. After the disclosure, the funding requires the approval of the Board’s chair.

Trustees need not disclose expense sponsorship for activities with nominal value, such as attendance at an ISOC dinner or reception which is co-located with a conference the Trustee is attending at his or her own expense.

Trustees oversee ISOC’s management. In order to avoid any potential perception of a conflict of interest, the total amount of funding a Trustee can receive from ISOC for CEO-requested travel in a given year must be quite limited.

Other Travel

In addition to the situations described above, Trustees may need to travel for other reasons, which would also relate to ISOC. Funding for such travel needs to be approved by the Board. In general, only the funding for travel that is closely related to ISOC’s business will be approved.

While some not-for-profit organizations send trustees to seminars on board governance, the funding of such capacity building activities needs to be considered carefully. ISOC’s Trustees are elected and selected based on, among other things, their complementary skill sets. Nonetheless, capacity building activities may be justified when not enough trustees posses a particular skill that is relevant to ISOC’s business.

Allowable Travel and Meeting Expenses

Air and Train Travel

Trustees should book their air travel using a travel agent or search engine of their choice 45 days or more prior to the event start date.

Trustees should select flights that balance a reasonable fare with a convenient itinerary, and to consider different airlines, flight times, routings and other variables to obtain lower fares.

ISOC reimburses at non-refundable economy or premium economy rates for a round trip ticket typically from the Trustee’s home city to the event. For international flights exceeding seven (7) hours without stopovers or plane changes, or ten (10) hours inclusive of stopovers or plane changes, business class tickets may be purchased, upon ISOC’s pre-approval. Fares and itineraries for pre-approval should be sent to the Board Liaison. Trustees are also encouraged to use their own funds or frequent flyer points to obtain class of service upgrades.

If a Trustee wishes to combine the board trip with other travel, ISOC will only reimburse the Trustee for lower of the actual travel cost or the cost of a trip from the Trustee’s home city to the event.

Trustees may not opt to travel in a less-expensive class in order to apply the cost difference to the airfare of another traveler.

Fully changeable fares are not covered by this policy. Reimbursement for changes to itineraries will only be provided if ISOC makes a material change to the meeting schedule or if a personal emergency makes such a change necessary. If a flight must be canceled and a trip is not taken, any funds the Trustee receives must be reimbursed to ISOC.

For travel by train, particularly if over long distances, ISOC allows for first class train travel if the incremental cost is reasonable.

Hotel

A specific hotel is usually designated by ISOC for each board meeting & retreat. Trustees are requested to use the ISOC meeting hotel and are surveyed by staff for their hotel room requirements 45 days or more in advance. Trustees may use alternative hotels; however, Trustees who do so must assume financial responsibility for their own local transportation to and from the ISOC meeting venue as well as any offsite events or dinners, and for their own room reservations and payments. After the meeting, Trustees may seek reimbursement for room and tax for the eligible period at the alternative hotel at an amount equal to or less than the ISOC hotel.

For approved Trustee travel to other events, staff will provide Trustees with information on hotel arrangements/options.

For the comfort of Trustees, hotel costs may be covered for arrival on the day prior to the board meeting’s start to the day after it ends. Extended hotel stays may be approved by staff if in instances when flights are unavailable or if it results in lower overall travel costs.

If another traveler accompanies a Trustee, such as a family member, the Trustee is responsible for any and all additional costs incurred by that traveler including any extra room charges and meals.

Meals & Incidentals

Most meals are provided during ISOC board meetings and retreats. When purchasing meals at other times during approved travel, Trustees are reminded that expenses must be both reasonable and necessary to be deductible by ISOC as a business expense.

Local Transportation

Ground transportation to and from home and destination airports via taxi/bus/train or Trustees’ personal automobile, as well as home airport parking and tolls, are reimbursable.

Group transportation between the ISOC hotel and any off-site events or dinners is usually provided for Trustees. If not otherwise provided by ISOC, reasonable local transportation by taxi/bus/train is reimbursable.

Other Expenses Related to Travel

ISOC will reimburse Trustees for other expenses associated with approved travel, including visas, any required vaccinations, and Internet access costs while traveling.

Procedures for Requesting Reimbursement

Trustees are required to provide their hotel requirements to ISOC staff at least 45 days in advance, and to indicate at that time which if any allowable travel and meeting expenses they would like ISOC to cover.

Trustees may submit paid receipts for approved air travel as well as other allowable pre-paid expenses, such as visa application fees, prior to the meeting.

All allowable travel expenses, described above, must be submitted for reimbursement within 30 days of the end of the event.

Claims for reimbursement, including original or scanned receipts, must be sent to the Board Liaison and indicate the meeting for which the expenses were incurred.

Ordinarily, reimbursement is made within 5 to 10 business days after receipt of claims.

Note: The Internet Society may decline to pay all or a portion of an expense if it is deemed to be excessive or unnecessary. To the extent available, ISOC will use guidelines for deductibility provided by taxing authorities or other standards for non-profit entities. Please contact the ISOC CFO in advance if you are unsure about an expense item.

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