IRE is poised to begin its new fiscal year July 1 in a position of strength in terms of membership, finances and expanded training offerings.

“Through the tireless efforts of our IRE staff and leadership from our board of directors, IRE continues to evolve to meet changing needs of our members across the country and around the world,” IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix said.

Haddix and then-board president Matt Goldberg presented “The State of IRE” during the annual membership meeting, held during the national IRE Conference in Orlando. Slides from the report are posted here.

Highlights include:

  • IRE membership set a record high of 5,941 in May, as the organization posted a 3 percent gain in members from the previous year.
  • Conference attendance continues at high levels. This year’s NICAR conference in Chicago set a record, with 1,250 attendees. Attendance for the IRE national conference in Orlando topped 1,775.
  • IRE’s financial position remains strong, with an estimated budget surplus of $45,000 in the fiscal year ending June 30. Projections for the next fiscal year estimate a surplus of $50,000.
  • Donations through individual donations to IRE have risen by more than 18 percent during the past year.
  • Intentional efforts to diversify IRE’s membership are bearing fruit, with more journalists of color tapped to serve on IRE committees and as contest screeners. In addition, 30 percent of speakers during the NICAR conference in Chicago were journalists of color, and more than 20 percent of speakers at the IRE conference in Orlando were minorities.
  • Audiences for IRE information have grown by double-digit increases on Facebook, Twitter and IRE podcasts.
  • IRE training will expand in the coming year, with 17 watchdog workshops (up from 10) and new regional boot camps this fall in Chicago, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh.
  • IRE’s endowments, which total $3.9 million, typically generate about $150,000 in income that can be used (if needed) for IRE operations. During the past 10 years, $318,000 in investment earnings were not used for operations; instead, those funds were reinvested in endowment principal.