The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is on surer financial footing then it’s been in the recent past. But while revenue has increased by 50 percent, expenses have tripled.
The group’s overall budget has grown over the past three years as it increases revenue and steadies expenses, according to financial records disclosed at Wednesday’s regular board meeting.
This year’s projected revenue is about $1.29 million, up about $400,000 compared with two years ago, an increase of 49.4 percent. However, expenses are up 140.7 percent. The organization still posts a positive net income, but the amount has dropped by 68.8 percent from 2012 to 2014.
“We’ve basically been more ambitious about programming and what we are trying to accomplish,” said financial officer Blanca Torres during an interview Thursday about rising expenses.
This year’s standalone convention, as opposed to partnering with organizations like NAHJ did in 2013 and 2012, contributes to the higher expenses.
Tickets to NAHJ’s annual convention — a three-day affair with price tags as high as $630 — are the group’s largest source of revenue, Torres said. Sponsorships are the second-biggest cash generator.
Membership dues bring in money too, although it makes up a smaller chunk of the group’s revenue, Torres said. Dues account for 4 percent of the revenue, down at least six percentage points compared with earlier years, she said.
Big bucks from San Antonio convention
The number of conference registrants in San Antonio is on track to exceed the projected number, NAHJ Executive Director Anna Lopez Buck said.
So far 800 people have registered for the conference, and 200 are expected to sign up on- site, Buck said. The original projection was 750 to 800 registrants, but NAHJ expects to reach 1,000.
The group needs all the conference registrants it can to reach financial success. Just two years ago, President Michele Salcedo, who served from 2010 to 2012, adopted severe cuts to the budget, including laying off staff and moving into a virtual office. NAHJ, which once had 15 employees, had only one full-time employees and one part-timer.
Today, the group has two full-time employees and two part-timers.
NAHJ is trying to gradually pay back funds moved from scholarship and reserve funds to cover general operation expenses from 2007 to 2011. In 2009, the organization had a $300,000 shortfall, according to past Latino Reporter accounts.
The board also adopted a financial mission statement, which says it will be responsible with the organization’s money and avoid debt.
This year’s conference is the first standalone event NAHJ has held since 2011. It had been partnering with other groups to share overhead costs during that period, but hosting its own convention this year was a board decision.
“A lot of it had to do with the 30-year anniversary and we felt like that would be overshadowed if we were partnering with someone else,” Torres said. “We definitely wanted to use this as a milestone year, bring everybody together.”
Torres added: “Yeah, it was a risk, but it felt like we had two good years and things are better.”