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Delivering on the promise: financial results and membership growth highlight IABC's continued progress.

Every year IABC makes a promise to its members: to provide services that help them succeed in their careers. In 2006, the IABC staff and board not only worked to fulfill that promise, but also worked with more than 3,000 IABC members on a branding initiative that would capture the IABC experience for members and non-members alike. Their input helped shape new guidelines, create a tagline and express more fully our brand promise: IABC enables a global network of communicators working in diverse industries and disciplines to identify, share and apply the world's best communication practices.

In 2006, we delivered on that promise by ensuring financial health, growing membership and providing successful programs.

Financial results

Because our 2006 audit report was not completed at press time, specific financial results will be released online at and in a future issue of CW. Yet even before the report is finalized, I can say that for the second year in a row IABC had an actual positive surplus of revenues over expenses that exceed our budgeted surplus.


Membership last year grew 7.7 percent, from 13,452 in 2005 to 14,492 in 2006. A total of 3,760 new members joined IABC in 2006, compared with 3,389 in 2005. Member satisfaction grew as well, with a membership renewal rate of 80 percent.

We continued to grow internationally, with developmental chapters established in India, Slovenia, and Trinidad and Tobago. We also reached out to the next generation of communicators through five new student chapters.

In addition, 136 companies took advantage of our popular corporate package option (up 68 percent from the previous year).

Online communication

Following the success of the IABC Cafe blog, IABC has continued to embrace social media. We initiated the Communication Commons, an online community that allows members to engage in interactive discussions of trends and issues in communication, and Cafe2Go, the IABC podcast that lets members hear from association leaders and post their own comments.

The hugely popular addition of member photos to the IABC web site has helped "put a face" on the association and garnered accolades from members and non-members alike.

Body of knowledge

Our body of knowledge continued to grow with seven new resources published in 2006, including Media Training with Excellence, a toolkit that offers a groundbreaking approach to media training, and The Business of Truth, our breakthrough study and training manual on ethics from the IABC Research Foundation. In addition, we released two highly successful books published in partnership with Jossey-Bass: Unleashing the Power of PR and The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication. Found in retail outlets throughout the world, these two books introduce IABC to a broader audience.

Communication World and CW Bulletin introduced new columns that provide members with practical insights to help them advance in their careers. We also received a great response to the special reports in CW on the Asia/Paciflc and Europe and the Middle East regions.

Professional development

IABC's distance learning and small conference programs served more than 1,900 communication professionals in 2006. IABC held small conferences on business writing, corporate reputation, research and measurement, and corporate communication. Monthly web seminars and teleseminars continued throughout the year, enhanced by new partnered webinars with the University of Minnesota and Harvard Business School Publishing. A partnership with Ithaca College offers online courses and a certificate program in strategic communication management.

The 2006 International Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, drew 1,463 communicators from 37 countries--a 7 percent increase over 2005. The event received high praise for the quality of its speakers, conference management and value for investment.

The annual Leadership Institute, where representatives from around the world convene to learn and share best practices for managing their local chapters, drew 207 attendees from 70 chapters for an invigorating event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

IABC's accreditation program had 127 applicants, with many chapters offering programs to support candidates through the process of earning their ABC.

The Gold Quill Awards saw 1,180 entries submitted from 27 countries, a 17 percent increase over 2005. Fifty-six Excellence Awards, 73 Merit Awards and one Student Award were presented at the International Conference, the most highly rated awards ceremony in our history.

Public relations

IABC expanded its presence in the business world with broader media coverage in 2006 than we've seen in the organization's history.

Among many successful efforts, the IABC Research Foundation study The Business of Truth earned coverage in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Calgary Herald, BusinessWeek, Marketing Magazine, Washington Business Journal and the Sacramento Business Journal. Findings from an IABC survey on communicating bad news appeared in the Globe and Mail, Boston Herald, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor and Newsday.

Be Heard[TM]

Our new tagline sums up everything we wanted to do in 2006: listen to our members, give them a strong and credible voice in their organizations, and communicate our research findings and insights to the business community. IABC will continue to work to provide services that fulfill that simple yet critical goal--enabling all of our members to Be Heard.

read more online

To see detailed financial information for the 2006 annual report, go to
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Title Annotation:IABC 2006 ANNUAL REPORT
Author:Freeman, Julie
Publication:Communication World
Date:Jul 1, 2007
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