Help Us Shape The Internet's Future

Operations/Finances Background


  • End users are able to review and provide comments on ICANN’s strategic plans and operating budget, as well as monitor and voice issues of concern.
  • The At-Large Community can request additional funding through ICANN’s special budget request process. Once approved, the At-Large Community can apply the resources to advance end user interests.
  • Since ICANN is the organization that manages the DNS, end users should care about its operational excellence and financial wellbeing and responsibilities.

What are ICANN Operations and Finances?

I. Operations

Operations at ICANN is the aggregate of the efforts put forth by the organization in order to achieve its mission efficiently. As a non-profit public benefit private organization, ICANN is committed to continuous improvement and excellence of its operations, and operational excellence starts with elaborate planning.

ICANN's Planning Process cycle has a threefold approach encompassing a Strategic Plan, a Five Year Operating plan and an Annual Operating Plan & Budget. The cycle culminates with Achievement & Progress Reporting. The ICANN planning process is continuous and allows for an overlapping of its three components, along with validation of performance:

  1. Strategic Plan – Developed with community input and updated every five years. Strategic Plan is designed to shape ICANN priorities, inform its budget and drive activities. Here you can find ICANN Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2016-2020 which sets forth five Strategic Objectives and sixteen Strategic Goals, each with Key Success Factors and Strategic Risks.
  2. Five-Year Operating Plan – Developed with community input and updated annually to include: Five year planning calendar, strategic goals with corresponding key performance indicators, dependencies, five-year phasing, and list of portfolios; and a five-year financial model.
  3. Annual Operating Plan & Budget – Derived from the Five-Year Operating Plan and community input.

II. Finances

The office of finance provides transparent, responsible, and proactive financial direction to support ICANN's Board, management, staff and community while maintaining its strong financial position and efficiently managing its financial resources. Transparency of ICANN's finances is an integral part of the organization's accountability to the community. Hence the office of finance implemented a detailed reporting system in parallel with the organization's financial accountability framework. Some of the reports provided by the office of finance are briefly explained below. For more information on reporting please visit Financial Information section of ICANN website.

  • Annual Reports - The annual report provides information on ICANN's activities for the year including highlights of achievements, updates for our organizational objectives, as well as an overview of financial performance.
  • Staff Remuneration Practices Framework - This report provides an overview of ICANN's staff remuneration practices and provides details of remuneration for the officers of the corporation.
  • Board Compensation Report - This report is presented annually in accordance with Article XVI, section 3 of the ICANN Bylaws which provides, in part, that "The Board shall publish, at least annually... a description of any payments made by ICANN to Directors (including reimbursements of expenses)."
  • There are several checks and balances built into the ICANN financial accountability framework. The ICANN financial accounts are audited every year by an external auditor in compliance with the ICANN Bylaws. In addition the ICANN Board has committees that review ICANN's financial affairs: the Finance Committee and the Audit Committee. For more information on the Independent External Audit, Finance Committee and Audit Committee please refer to page 14th of ICANN Accountability & Transparency Frameworks and Principles.

Why ICANN Operations and Finances matter to you?

ICANN is committed to its multi-stakeholder model of governance and believes that global inclusivity, transparency and accountability are critical to being trusted by its stakeholders worldwide to fulfill its mission. To be in compliance with this mission ICANN has an Achievement & Progress Reporting process that communicates performance metrics through the Portfolio Management System, Dashboards, Quarterly Stakeholder Calls in support of the multi-stakeholder model of Accountability & Transparency. Through these tools and systems the community has the ability to monitor the efficiency of ICANN Operations and Finances.

Like many other processes at ICANN, stakeholder consultation and input is critical and feeds into every aspect of ICANN planning process. Strategic Plan, Five-Year Operating Plan, Annual Operating Plan and Budget are made available for public comment where end users provide their input for consideration.

ICANN plays a crucial role in the Domain Name System promoting a multistakeholder governance model. It is not only a capability for the community to monitor, comment and question operational excellence and financial reports (e.g., annual reports, Board compensation reports,..) of the organization but also an important role and duty for the community to enhance the way ICANN functions.

Furthermore ICANN has a special budget request process in which the community requests additional resources from ICANN Board to better function. Similar to other parts of the community, end users through At-Large have the option to provide rationales of their requests for additional resources and utilize them for enhanced community work once approved. Within ICANN financial accountability framework special budget requests are reviewed by the Finance Committee and the Committee provides responses to these requests with the rationale behind its decision.