Pass-Along Funds

Following a discussion at the 1987 Smofcon, Noreascon 3 began the Worldcon Pass-Along Funds (PAF) scheme in 1989. With the exception of Chicon V, every Worldcon since then has participated.

The problem

Since Worldcons are each stand-alone entities, they must budget very conservatively in order to avoid any substantial likelihood of losing money.  Inevitably, this means that most Worldcons wind up with a substantial surplus, and that surplus represents money paid by the members of that Worldcon which is not being spent on it.  The WSFS Constitution requires that "2.9.3: Each Worldcon or NASFiC Committee should dispose of surplus funds remaining after accounts are settled for its convention for the benefit of WSFS as a whole."

The purpose of PAF is to return most of the profit made by one Worldcon directly to the WSFS by giving it to future Worldcons early enough before the convention that it can be effectively used. This not only guarantees that a majority of each Worldcon's profit is automatically disposed of in compliance with Section 2.9.3, but it also takes a small step towards smoothing the budget fluctuations from one Worldcon to the next.

The Agreement

The Pass-Along Funds agreement is simple: Each Worldcon which agrees to participate agrees to pass along at least half of its profit to the next three Worldcons which agree to participate.  The basic deal is straight-forward, but there are subtleties which are discussed below.  None of them are particularly outré, however: They are all straight-forward applications of the basic notion that the purpose of PAF is to pass along most of a Worldcon's profit so that it is used in running future Worldcons.