NAHJ’s board of directors passed a budget of nearly $900,000 for fiscal year 2012 during its spring meeting, NAHJ President Michele Salcedo announced today. Financial officer Russell Contreras and the finance committee proposed a “very conservative spending plan,” with the majority of revenue coming from member donations, sponsorships and Unity registrations.
“If we stay on plan,” Salcedo wrote, “we should end 2012 for a second year with a revenue surplus of more than $100,000.”
NAHJ has struggled financially for years. In 2009, former NAHJ President O. Ricardo Pimentel said the group had a $300,000 budget shortfall and that it would “have to cease operations and stop all programs for the rest of the year” if it didn’t raise more funds.
The organization was able to pull through, but experienced another deficit in 2010. At the time, Salcedo said NAHJ’s cash flow was “at dangerously low levels.” Other minority journalism associations have also struggled financially in recent years.
NAHJ had to make significant changes in order to end 2011 with a surplus. The group authorized two bridge loans from its investment account, moved its offices from the National Press Building to a virtual office in Washington, D.C., and laid off most of its staff, leaving just the executive director and a part-time staffer.
In a phone interview, Salcedo said NAHJ’s efforts to rebuild in 2012 have been helping the group financially. NAHJ has begun holding more regional conferences in hopes of attracting members who might not be able to attend NAHJ’s national conference. The conferences, Salcedo said, have been well-attended and have generated some revenue.
“They let people know that we’re out there — that we have not disappeared, that we are concerned about our members, and that we do want to continue providing them with training, sourcing and networking opportunities,” Salcedo said. “We know that money is tight and we think the regional events are a more affordable option.”
NAHJ chapters have also been growing, she said, and there’s interest in forming new chapters in Albuquerque and Las Vegas.
“We’re hoping that the growth continues and that we will be in good shape at the end of 2012,” Salcedo said. “But it remains to be seen.”