After Financial Struggles, National Association of Black Journalists Bounces Back

The association revealed this week that a careful focus on its finances and on improvements in conference attendance has NABJ ending its 2016 fiscal year with a projected $1 million surplus—a major improvement from a year ago.

The National Association of Black Journalists wants its members to know that its financial stability is better than it was a year ago.

Last December, The Huffington Post reported that NABJ was facing a significant budget shortfall, one that threatened the future of the organization.

“It is not a pretty picture for NABJ,” explained a NABJ finance committee assessment acquired by the news outlet last year. “If NABJ does not increase revenues in 2016, the organization’s financially [sic] viability will threaten the organization’s ability to operate and keep its doors open.”

Now, a year after that assessment was written, things have sharply turned around for the group—with NABJ ending its fiscal year with a projected $1 million surplus, said to be the largest in the group’s history.

Part of the success can be attributed to the growth of the association’s joint annual meeting, held with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. This year, NABJ brought in 3,209 registrants for the event, which had a total of 3,890 attendees.

But the growth of the association’s events was just one factor. According to a news release sent out byNABJ this week, the association’s finance committee has been working to shore up its balance sheets. The committee relied on the use of zero-based budgeting to help close the gap.

“We are working to ensure NABJ’s long-term financial health by focused efforts on zero-based budgeting and careful fiscal management—watching expenses closely, securing new revenue, and making sound investments,” explained NABJ President Sarah Glover.

Drew Berry, an executive consultant for NABJ, added that the association “is now in its strongest financial position in more than 20 years.”

While things are looking up, the current NABJ finance committee chair, Gregory H. Lee Jr., warned in comments to The Root that “we’re not out of the danger zone yet.” The group’s auditor told the organization that a strong 2017 fiscal year was necessary, and that shifting board roles could change things in the future.

Nonetheless, Glover pledged that the association would be careful about its finances going forward.

“NABJ will continue zero-based budgeting and sound fiscal practices so the organization may continue to be in a healthy financial position in 2017 and beyond,” Glover said in the news release.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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