Despite the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, IRE expects to close the current fiscal year on June 30 without posting a deficit. In addition, IRE forecasts a balanced budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

Two months ago, IRE anticipated a shortfall for this current fiscal year of more than $60,000, even after approval of Paycheck Protection Program funds through the Small Business Administration. However, higher-than-anticipated revenue and other factors have erased the expected budget shortfall.

“Our IRE staff has worked hard to trim expenses and generate revenue after COVID-19 forced us to suspend all in-person workshops, data bootcamps and other training,” IRE Executive Director Doug Haddix said. “We’re in a much better financial position than we expected in April.”

Here are factors that helped IRE move from an expected deficit to a small surplus for the fiscal year ending June 30:

  • Approval of a two-year loan of $233,453 from Commerce Bank in Columbia, Missouri, at an interest rate of 1 percent through the Paycheck Protection Program. It carries no fees or prepayment penalties. The program is designed to avoid layoffs and furloughs at small businesses and nonprofit organizations by reimbursing payroll costs for eight weeks. IRE expects that at least $187,000 of the loan will be forgiven. The remainder will be repaid in the next fiscal year.
  • Increased revenue from IRE training and data services that were not anticipated in April. Since then, IRE staff has created new weeklong online data bootcamps as well as two-day mini bootcamps. IRE also has delivered other customized training virtually for clients.
  • Agreement by several funders to repurpose existing grants from in-person training to virtual training or general operating expenses. For example, the Inasmuch Foundation agreed to transfer remaining funds from three canceled watchdog workshops toward a sponsorship of IRE’s new free webinar series, which has attracted more than 7,000 journalists.
  • Stabilization of IRE membership levels and higher growth than we expected, based on the success of a new membership drive and renewals of members who want to vote in the IRE Board of Directors election.
  • Elimination of a part-time contract position that handled logistics for in-person training events.

“The pandemic makes budget forecasts for the coming fiscal year especially tricky,” Haddix said. “We’ve mapped out a variety of scenarios, and we don’t anticipate a deficit under any of them.”

The IRE Board of Directors will consider the preliminary fiscal 2021 budget during its meeting from 2-5 p.m. EDT next Thursday, June 18. IRE members are welcome to attend via Zoom. Registration is required, for online security. Click the board meeting registration page for full details. 

In addition, members are encouraged to attend the annual IRE Membership Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 20. Registration also is required. Click the membership meeting page for information. Haddix and IRE Board President Cheryl W. Thompson will present the “State of IRE 2020” report and take questions from members. Results will be announced afterward for the elections for the IRE Board of Directors and the IRE Contest Committee, which judges the IRE Awards.

For questions or assistance registering, please email [email protected].