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Red-Faced, Red-Inked Association Inches Toward Solvency

By® Staff

Originally Posted

IABC's three-year financial restoration plan is, unfortunately, on schedule.

For FY01, which ended Sept. 30, the 13,500-member International Association of Business Communicators lost $598,430, for an accumulated deficit of $1,284,669, according to auditors Deloitte & Touche, roughly what had been expected after a disastrous 2000.

The organization says it cut expenses by $875,339 from FY00, and remains "on target" to wipe out the deficit by sometime in 2004.

President Julie Freeman, APR, said the organization had written off $119,639 in Broadvision software purchased to support Talking Business Now, IABC's abortive e-initiative. IABC had hoped it could use Broadvision for its Next Generation website, but determined that option would not be cost-effective.

Freeman was hired in mid-May to help improve IABC fortunes after a year of turmoil, including membership losses, staff turnover, and financial mismanagement. "We will continue to watch expenses," she said, "but our priority will be to maximize income from current revenue sources and develop additional income sources."

IABC canceled all of the Association’s contracts with consultants, eliminated temporary office staffing, left some vacant staff positions unfilled, reduced paid staff work days, and reduced costs for employee benefits. Freeman has been holding monthly financial meetings for staff who manage budgets. The IABC Yahoo! Store has helped boost income for resources and conference and seminar registrations. Webinars are a new income source for IABC.

Detailed audit information is available to members on the IABC Web site. The April/May issue of Communication World will include complete audit results.

Even when the news is bad, IABC shares it, apparently openly and fully. We suspect, however, that they would prefer to have never learned this much about crisis communication best practices.

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