AGU Financial Stewardship

As an international nonprofit scientific association dedicated to building a thriving, sustainable and equitable future supported by discovery, innovation and solutions, AGU knows that financial accountability is critical to our work.

AGU’s volunteer Board of Directors is responsible for the overall health of the organization and oversees our business affairs. The Finance and Investment Committee — chaired by the General Secretary and reporting to the AGU Board — guides and reviews AGU’s financial operations and investment performance in partnership with the EVP of Finance & IT.

View of an ocean pier and sky at sunrise in Puerto Rico


AGU is financially strong. We were able to weather the financial challenges posed by the pandemic and other disruptions of 2020-2022 by leveraging our reserves and pivoting to virtual offerings where feasible. For 2022, AGU’s budgeted revenue is $48.4 million and expenses $53.8 million, with a projected deficit of $5.3 million. The board has adopted this deficit budget to maintain and rebuild core programs in the short term while investing in long-range strategic programs that advance the mission and strengthen our financial position.

AGU Compensation Approach

Attracting the very best talent and leadership is core to AGU’s mission to solve pressing scientific and societal challenges. The Board has approved a compensation structure that enables AGU to attract, reward, and retain top talent by offering competitive salaries. These salaries are required to keep AGU on par with a range of nonprofits as well as for-profit organizations that compete for the highly skilled technical and leadership candidates needed to advance the critical work of Earth and space scientists globally.

AGU has periodic assessments of its compensation policies and framework to ensure that compensation is fair and competitive. Third-party compensation experts have certified that AGU compensation falls well within IRS guidelines for nonprofit organizations and is on par with market levels.

AGU Reserves Policy

AGU’s Board has established a policy to build and maintain adequate reserves to support the organization’s day-to-day operations in the event of unforeseen shortfalls and disruptions (such as the pandemic) and for investment in special mission based initiatives as approved by the Board. This policy, which is reviewed annually requires AGU to maintain a minimum reserves balance equal to 100 percent of annual operating expenses (based on the average for the past three years).

The Board can approve any reserves over this required minimum to be invested in strategic investments or operations. At this time, AGU invests 6% of reserves back into the organization in addition to the budgeted allocations for strategic programs and services that benefit the community of Earth and space scientists. This investment percentage can be changed by the Board at its discretion.

AGU Membership and Programs

AGU has always strived to maintain membership dues and program costs at affordable levels for all Earth and space science community members. The dues are regularly below what other scientific societies charge.

AGU members receive an array of benefits — access to 23 respected journals; a subscription to Eos, our renowned science news magazine; steeply discounted registration to the AGU Fall Meeting and other meetings; access to online communities and special interest groups to get feedback and resources from peers and experts; opportunities to earn honors and recognition — and more. In a member survey conducted by an external group, 84% of AGU members say they receive high value for membership.

While key activities such as meetings and publishing are intended to be self-sustaining, AGU uses revenue from these activities to fund a variety of non-revenue generating programs to benefit the Earth and space science community. For example, the Voices for Science program trains scientists to advocate for science policy and conduct media and community outreach. The Sharing Science program provides community members with opportunities to highlight the value of Earth and space science by communicating with the public, media, K-12 audiences, and/or policymakers. AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange program helps scientists, community leads and partners work together to solve local challenges related to natural resources, climate change and natural hazards. Mentoring365 helps individuals who are interested in the Earth and space sciences community connect with other professionals who can help them find a job and take advantage of structured, relationship-building tools and resources to advance their careers and education. AGU also provides career and educational resources, webinars, and support to inspire and educate present and future generations of diverse, innovative, and creative Earth and space scientists in their career journeys.

AGU strives to benefit the Earth and space science community through broad access to its in-demand publications. Authors have opportunities to share draft manuscripts and published articles. AGU also supports governmental and institutional repositories and offers open access to AGU content, usually 12 months after publication.