An update was added to the post.
How is the Great Recession affecting the corporate communications industry?
If membership in the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is any indication, then communicators have been hit hard. An e-mail sent to IABC members on Monday said the association has lost about 1,000 members since the end of 2008, a rather frank admission from a professional association.
IABC has more than 15,500 members, according to its Web site.
Meanwhile, a small IABC survey released last month found that 26 percent of the association’s members have lost their jobs in the last 12 months.
While it might seem likely that struggling communicators would cut costs by not renewing their professional memberships, it’s also common for the unemployed to turn to their IABC network in search of jobs.
I sent an e-mail to IABC President Julie Freeman to get her thoughts on the matter.
UDPATE: I had a wide-ranging conversation with Freeman yesterday. A post is coming today about the chat. Until then, you can read her response to several of the comments criticizing IABC's latest promotion.
IABC isn’t taking these challenges lying down. To thwart the losses, it’s offering communicators free membership extensions to IABC if they enlist new members.
“If you recruit new professional members, you will get three free months of membership for each new member you bring in … up to a full year at no charge,” Lee Anne Snedeker, senior vice president of IABC global membership development, said in the e-mail to members. The promotion runs 2009.
There are conditions to this offer, which Snedeker explained in her e-mail. Here they are:
1. The new member must identify the referring member in one of the following ways:
-For mailed, faxed, and online enrollments: Write the referring member's first and last name and chapter (or region if he or she is a member-at-large) on the application form or enter it when enrolling online.
-For phoned enrollments: Mention the referring member's first and last name and chapter (or region if he or she is a member-at-large).
In other words, the referring member's name must be provided at the same time the check or credit card number is received to be eligible. We cannot apply credit if your name isn't mentioned, so please be sure it is. We want you to benefit from your efforts!
2. The new member must not have been an IABC member since October 1, 2008.
3. The limit for this promotion is four members, which would provide you with a full year of membership at no charge.
4. The new member must be a professional member (not a student member), although recruiting members can be any type.Snedeker said that all chapter and region membership volunteers are eligible for the promotion.