FAQs

Have a question your don't see listed here?
Please contact IFT's Senior Program Manager and Section Champion Erin Carter at ecarter@ift.org.

What are the goals of the Section Pilot Program?
Who is participating in the program?
How were the sections chosen to participate?
Is IFT getting rid of sections?
Is IFT controlling section funds?
What benefits did the participating sections receive?
What benefits did the members of the participating sections receive?
What did the Section Pilot Program entail?
Can a member belong to the section and not to IFT?
Can a person who is not a member still participate?
Does it cost more to participate as a non-member?
How is the Section Pilot Program good for members? For sections?  For IFT? 
Is this just a way for IFT to boost membership numbers?
How is my home section determined?
What if my home section is not the section I want to be associated with?
What if my primary zip code is not in an area represented by a section?
Is IFT going to make all the decisions for our sections?
Will the changes be mandatory for all sections?
What will the impact be for my membership before, during, and after the implementation?
What does IFT plan to do for international members?


What are the goals of the Section Pilot Program?

Our overarching goal is to deliver a globally consistent and locally relevant experience for our collective members.  We will accomplish this goal by completing the following:

  • IFT handles all of the membership data and renewals for pilot sections
  • Testing unified membership
  • Working with sections to update their visual identity to align with the IFT new visual identity (logo updates for pilots)

Who is participating in the program?

Overall, 32% of IFT’s sections are voluntarily participating in this program.  That means that 17 of the 53 established sections are part of this.

Phase I of the pilot program began on September 1, 2011.  The sections participating were:

  • Cactus Section IFT
  • Florida Section IFT
  • Longhorn Section IFT
  • Oregon Section IFT
  • St. Louis Section IFT
  • South Florida Section IFT
  • Washington, D.C. Section IFT

Additionally, Phase II of the program which began on September 1, 2012, includes the following sections:

  • Great Lakes Section IFT
  • Lewis & Clark Section IFT
  • Maryland Section IFT
  • Minnesota Section IFT
       -Great Plains Subsection IFT
  • Northern California Section IFT
       -Central Valley Subsection IFT
       -San Joaquin Valley Subsection IFT
  • Ohio Valley Section IFT
  • Pittsburgh Section IFT

How were the sections chosen to participate?

All sections participating in the program are doing so voluntarily.  They represent sections of varying geographies and sizes which are reflective of the many sections of IFT.  We sent out a call for sections to volunteer through our Section Leader Update, and asked section leadership during visits.

Is IFT getting rid of sections?

No.  It is quite the opposite.  We want to be more engaged with sections and have sections more engaged with IFT. 

Is IFT controlling section funds?

No.  In fact, 100% of the section dues collected by IFT are transferred to the sections.  IFT even absorbs the credit card processing fee. 

What benefits did the participating sections receive?

The sections who volunteered to participate in this program received a number of tangible and intangible benefits. 

  • A new visual identity
  • An online meetings management tool to more easily facilitate section programming and registration
  • An online community specific to their section
  • An affordable solution to update or establish a website for the section
  • Section leader webinar training on a variety of topics from finances to managing volunteers
  • Easy data management provided by IFT
  • Additional training on Eventbrite, MailChimp, the ift.org communities, and reports
  • A clearly defined communications plan on the value of membership
  • A communications plan for prospective members
  • Dedicated IFT staff resources
  • IFT has developed and will continue to develop section tools and training to allow our volunteers more time to focus on providing member value, rather than administering the section
  • Pilot sections will aid in the development process to provide feedback and help shape the final suite of tools IFT will provide to our section volunteers
  • Regional associates (section only members) will be provided one year of full IFT membership, which includes access to all of our benefits
  • Regional associates will be offered a one-time first year renewal rate of $99 plus the section annual dues.
  • IFT only members will be added to section membership, increasing the opportunity for sections to engage more participants
  • Once the transition process is completed, IFT will manage all processes pertaining to membership (processing payment, providing dues back to the section, and keeping records up to date)
  • IFT will work jointly with volunteer sections to recruit and retain more members

What benefits did the members of the participating sections receive?

Members received a number of benefits.

  • Access to IFT’s webcasts on important and timely topics like the Food Safety Modernization Act and professional development
  • Discounted registration rates on meetings, conferences, and online educational opportunities
  • Membership data only needs to be updated in one place through IFT
  • Access to eCareerMentor program
  • Access to IFT reports and publications at no cost or a significantly reduced cost
  • Access to resources developed for New Professionals
  • Access to scholarships and grants for students

All of this for just $190.00 + section dues.  Total value of all discounts is more than $2,000.  You would only need to take advantage of 10% of offerings to completely recoup your membership dues.

What did the Section Pilot Program entail?

  • We have grandfathered-in all of the pilot section’s regional associates to full IFT membership at no additional cost for one year. You will receive full access to all of our member benefits, including a monthly subscription to Food Technology magazine. As a part of the pilot process, section-only membership is no longer available.
  • The pilot sections have also grandfathered-in all IFT members within their region at no additional cost for one year. You will receive full access to all of your section’s member benefits.
  • Establish IFT as the portal for all membership for pilot sections
  • Test unified membership
  • Begin working with sections to update their visual identity to align with the IFT new visual identity (logo updates for pilots)

Can a member belong to the section and not to IFT?

No, under the pilot program, membership is for IFT and the section.  Section only membership is no longer available?

Can a person who is not a member still participate?

Yes, we encourage non-member participation.  Once the value of belonging is realized, we hope most people will join.  Pilot section leaders have been given a complete prospective member communication plan to ensure that non-members are informed and can participate in section activities.

Does it cost more to participate as a non-member?

In most cases, yes.  While it is a best practice for sections to charge a slightly higher non-member fee to attend section events, each section individually makes this determination.

How is the Section Pilot Program good for members? For sections?  For IFT? 

Section leaders were afforded more time to develop relevant programming to provide more member value.  Members of the sections who participated received all benefits of IFT membership.  IFT was able to interact with members and section leaders through a variety of different touch points.  We were better able to provide tools and services that our members want and need.

Is this just a way for IFT to boost membership numbers?

No.  IFT only benefits if the member is engaged long-term.  Because IFT is providing all member benefits to section only members through the pilot program, there is a direct cost to IFT.  That cost is not recouped for three years.  This is a long-term strategic initiative, not a short-term member gain. 

How is my home section determined?

Your home section is determined by the primary zip code associated with your membership.

What if my home section is not the section I want to be associated with?

As previously stated, you would still need to join your home section.  However, you may join as many other sections as you wish, but you must join your home section.  You will be able to request a change to your home section provided that leaders in both sections give their approval.

What if my primary zip code is not in an area represented by a section?

If your primary zip code is not represented by a section, your IFT membership will not change.  You will still have the ability to join as many other sections as you choose.

Is IFT going to make all the decisions for our sections?

No.  As a matter of fact, IFT has developed a number of resources using outside vendors to keep IFT from acting as a middle man.  We want sections to be as self-sufficient as possible with IFT serving as a resource when challenges arise. 

Will the changes be mandatory for all sections?

The Board of Directors will review the recommendations of the Section Engagement Advisory Panel at the July Board meeting. This may include phased implementation for all sections.

What will the impact be for my membership before, during, and after the implementation?

You will not see any changes to your membership before or during the implementation.  After the implementation process is complete, you will see more information about receiving the most value from your IFT membership.  If you were not a section member but live in an area represented by a section, you will have the section added to your membership.  If you were a section member but not an IFT member, you will have IFT added to your membership and receive all of the benefits of membership.  If you were already an IFT and section member, you will not see any changes to your membership.

What does IFT plan to do for international members?

IFT has received requests for several additional international sections.  We will address each one and proceed accordingly in creating new sections internationally.