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Thundering into 2012: IABC's focus on content, career and business keeps the association on track during a period of transition.

Walk into IABC headquarters in San Francisco on almost any business day, and you will be met by, well, quiet. The first sound you hear might be Kayla Miller answering a phone call: "This is IABC. How can I help you?" And you might begin to wonder if this pleasant woman at the front desk is all there is to IABC.

Not so: This is an office that is full of personality. While a large percentage of the staff is quite outgoing, they are also steady, conscientious professionals, dedicated to the success of this organization--excellent traits for the service model inherent in professional associations like IABC.

When we add in the personalities of the international executive board, volunteer leaders from around the globe and, let's face it, the vibrant personalities of so many communication professionals, we understand the diverse, complex yet well-constructed locomotive that moves IABC forward. Together, staff and volunteers create a momentum that is quiet and steady, smooth and efficient--like high-speed rail--focused on caring for your career, your content needs and the business of IABC.

And what a great amount of business there is! The past year has been filled with change and balanced with a thoughtful approach to finding and acting on a new direction for IABC. When we reflect on 2011, two words define the many things that have been accomplished: strategic energy. An energy that has been shared by so many people in clearing the chaff from the wheat to reveal the absolute best direction for IABC's future.

A comment from Shelley Bird, ABC, D.Comm., in last year's annual report captures the tone of 2011: "Our journey is taking us to where we want to be." And indeed it is. This was a year of hard work, with the international executive board and executive staff intently and collaboratively focused on establishing the new strategic plan that has become the platform of the association. With a clear emphasis on the needs of members, we have developed a plan that is simple yet dearly directed to address our strategic pillars of career, content and the business of IABC.

The 2012-2015 strategic plan didn't just begin on 1 January 2012, however. The seeds were planted in late 2010, when the international executive board and staff recognized that much could be accomplished if we were to focus on core competencies that support the careers of professional communicators at every stage of their working lives. A great deal of research, many discussions, and late night and early morning conference calls throughout 2011 steered us toward our future. And through the efforts of so many, the future is arriving.

Let's take a look at the amazing accomplishments of 2011--just the first of many steps in an exciting journey that will keep us learning and moving forward.


More than 100 new content resources were published in IABC Discovery, the online library that gives members access to a wealth of resources. An outstanding collaboration between staff and volunteers is leading to a growing library of the most credible content available to business communicators. New offerings in 2011 focused on the changing role of the communicator, corporate ethics and reputation, online branding, internal and external communication, measurement, change management, and social media. The IABC Research Foundation added in-depth content on employee engagement and the CEO's perspective on the role of communication in meeting organizational objectives.


A critical focus for 2011 was strengthening professional development, leading to some outstanding new opportunities for how we deliver the education that communication professionals need throughout their careers. IABC focused on improving the member application process for the Accredited Business Communicator (ABC) credential. Enhancements to online applications and virtual exams, along with training for volunteers, are allowing candidates to move through the accreditation process more quickly.

We also looked to address the professional development needs of members outside of North America, with workshops in the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. We began planning for Executive Accreditation Seminars in Australia and Europe as well, with a seminar scheduled for late 2012 in Melbourne.

Another focus was lifelong learning. Two "Career Summits" brought together IABC leadership to create a road map for professional development throughout members' careers. We are currently taking steps to create milestones of achievement for every stage of the career path.


The sustainability of IABC depends on sound business practices that enhance value for both current and prospective members. From financial management to the development of products and services, leadership and staff looked for opportunities to add value to membership in both traditional and creative ways.

The Global Growth Task Force researched optimum business models and began to define the resources needed to reach out to members in remote locations and in areas where the traditional chapter model is not available or is out of step with cultural norms.

Overall, professional membership revenue in 2011 grew to more than US$3 million. IABC achieved a retention rate of 77 percent, with 330 corporate packages representing approximately 25 percent of our professional members.

As 2011 came to an end, we said farewell to IABC President Julie Freeman, ABC, APR, and began taking the necessary steps to bring new leadership and vision to bear on our future. The international executive board began searching for a staff leader to manage our affairs, with the best interests of members being at the forefront in our decisions. We will soon be welcoming Chris Sorek as the new executive director of IABC. Sorek, who begins his tenure with IABC in early July, brings a wealth of experience in executive management, communication and public relations for both for-profit and nonprofit organizations.

Moving forward

The transitions and changes in 2011 were brought about by a desire to improve our core competencies of content, career and business. Throughout, the excitement and strategic energy has stayed true. That energy has kept us moving forward to an exciting future. We're in that future now, and indeed, the train is thundering down the track.

by IABC Chair Adrian Cropley, ABC, and Interim Executive Director John Clemons, ABC, APR, IABC Fellow
International Association of Business Communicators Financial

2011 AND 2010

All amounts in US$

ASSETS                                              2011        2010

  Cash and cash equivalents                $     903,500     904,571
    Restricted cash                              282,918     282,918
    Investments held for operations            2,063,179   1,790,226
  Accounts receivable                             29,433      77,921
  Inventory                                       78,194      92,882
Prepaid expenses and other assets                190,750     123,836
Furniture, equipment and leasehold                70,662      75,241

     Total assets                          $   3,618,636   3,347,595



  Accounts payable                         $     316,374     270,330
  Due to affiliated chapters and regions          37,892      79,142
    Accrued expenses                             119,748     122,047
Deferred revenue                               1,714,987   1,665,259
Deferred rent                                     98,381      29,687

     Total liabilities                     $   2,287,382   2,166,465


  Unrestricted                             $   1,251,360   1,101,236
  Temporarily restricted                          63,894      63,894
  Permanently restricted                          16,000      16,000

    Total net assets                           1,331,254   1,181,130

      Total liabilities and net assets     $   3,618,636   3,347,595

                                                   2011        2010

    General administration                $     803,060     963,955
    Executive board                             417,862     299,948

      Total expenses                          5,946,762   5,577,718

    INCREASE (DECREASE) IN UNRESTRICTED   $     150,124     461,955


  Net assets released from restrictions               0           0

INCREASE IN NET ASSETS                    $     150,124     461,955

NET ASSETS--Beginning of year                 1,181,130     719,175

NET ASSETS--End of year                   $   1,331,254   1,181,130


CHANGES IN UNRESTRICTED NET ASSETS:             2011        2010

  Revenue and support:
    Membership dues and fees           $   3,104,271   2,899,852
  Conferences, seminars and awards         2,448,103   2,507,160
    Information resources and                306,921     344,268
  Job Target Advertising                     203,638     179,658
    Investment income                       (21,806)      76,121
    Contributions                             30,467      21,686
      Other revenue                           25,292      10,928
      Net assets released from                     0           0
      Total revenue and support        $   6,096,886   6,039,673

    Program expenses:
    Conferences, seminars and awards   $   1,832,563   1,483,206
    Membership                               899,426     968,919
    Information resources and                913,329     885,067
    Public relations                         375,575     303,274
    Leadership and international             242,596     335,282
  Accreditation                              218,106     130,566
    Other professional development           244,245     207,501

      Total program expenses           $   4,725,840   4,313,815

DECEMBER 2011 AND 2010

CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:                 2011        2010

  Increase in net assets                     $     150,124     461,955
  Adjustments to reconcile increase in
    net assets to net cash provided by
    operating activities:
    Depreciation and amortization                   37,675      27,429
    Unrealized gain on investment                   52,389    (48,396)
  Changes in assets and liabilities:
    Accounts receivable                             48,488    (39,572)
    Inventory                                       14,688      31,982
    Prepaid expenses and other assets             (66,914)      70,419
    Accounts payable                                46,044      76,561
    Due to affiliated chapters and regions        (41,250)      25,481
    Accrued expenses                               (2,299)       8,803
    Deferred revenue                                49,728      41,440
    Deferred rent                                   68,694      29,687

    Net cash provided by operating           $     357,367     685,789


  Purchases of equipment                          (33,096)    (29,552)
  Purchases of investments                       (325,342)   (168,770)
  Proceeds from sale of investments                      0     200,000

    Net cash used in investing activities    $   (358,438)       1,678

NET INCREASE (DECREASE) IN CASH AND CASH           (1,071)     687,467

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS--Beginning of            904,571     217,104

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS--end of year       $     903,500     904,571

This summary of financial information has been extracted from
IABC consolidated audited financial statements, on which an
independent public accounting firm has expressed an unqualified
opinion. To obtain copies of the complete audited financial
statements, contact IABC world headquarters: mlennon(r)
COPYRIGHT 2012 International Association of Business Communicators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:IABC 2011 ANNUAL REPORT; International Association of Business Communicators
Author:Cropley, Adrian; Clemons, John
Publication:Communication World
Article Type:Organization overview
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2012
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