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New Membership Model

In addition to IFT’s annual leadership election taking place January 31–March 2, 2017, the Board of Directors is also asking members to vote on another important topic—a new membership model and governing documents update.


As the landscape of member organizations continues to change, to remain relevant to shifts in our profession, along with shifts in demographics and member needs, the IFT Board of Directors agreed it was important to undergo a thoughtful and comprehensive look at the current membership model, including extensive market research; qualitative phone calls with members, past members, and prospective members; member surveys; and focus groups. The feedback received led to a proposed reshaping of the current model.


The proposed new model provides membership options more directly in line with the needs of current and future members, including more affordable, and thus accessible, options for IFT’s growing international community.

The new membership model offers the following membership categories:

Premier ($209/year rate) – merges the current Member and Professional Member categories into this new category providing the highest level of access and discounts to all of IFT’s invaluable resources, services, programs and events

Networking and engagement ($99/year rate) – provides a subset of resources plus a discount to IFT’s annual event and select programs and resources

Joint international membership (rates vary due to home country partner rate) – IFT has partnered with a select group of international professional associations to offer joint international membership options

Emeritus ($25/year rate) – no change

Student ($50/year rate) – no change

In addition, to help make membership more affordable for new professionals after graduation, a tiered early career discount would be offered within the Premier membership category.

1st year post graduation ($80)
2nd year post graduation ($120)
3rd year post graduation ($160)

A comprehensive member benefits matrix has been created to provide an easy way to see different member benefits provided within each proposed category.

View new membership model benefits by category matrix. (PDF)


As IFT leadership prepared the membership model recommendation, consideration was given to the impact to IFT’s Constitution and Bylaws as both governance documents reference membership categories. Thus updates to both documents are required. While the Bylaws can be amended by the Board of Directors, any amendments to the Constitution require a member vote.

Considering our current structure, and after careful research as to best practices among professional associations and nonprofits, as well as a recommendation from legal counsel, the Board agreed it was in the best interest of IFT to merge its Constitution into its Bylaws and reflect the needed updates into one Bylaws document.

By doing so, IFT would be able to provide better:


With the two separate documents, both must be consulted before reaching a decision on how an issue was handled. Some information was present in only one of the two, and there was also some redundancy. Merging the documents means only having to consult one, allowing for a faster and more efficient process.


Merging the Constitution with the Bylaws eliminates the confusion caused when an item is addressed in only one of the two governing documents. Everything will be in the same place.

Risk Management

Having one consistent governing document helps to mitigate the risk of misinterpretation.

Professional Association Standards

The majority of associations have a single Bylaws document. For the reasons above, general counsel suggests that merging the Constitution with the Bylaws is a best practice for any nonprofit association.

Support the New Membership Model and Governance Documents Updates in One Vote
Because the new model and the merging of the Constitution into the Bylaws are interdependent, the Board of Directors voted to incorporate the new membership model and merging of the current Constitution into one Bylaws document into one vote. Please note, in addition to merging the governing document into one Bylaws document, some additional edits were needed to be made to provide further clarity.

View redlined Bylaws update document to review proposed changes.
View clean version of new proposed Bylaws.

Voting "yes" will reflect approval for both the new membership model as well as merging IFT's Constitution into the Bylaws. If you vote “no,” you will be voting to not support either the new membership model or the constitution and bylaws merger. If approved the new model would become effective in September 2017.


A few resources have been created to answer questions you may have. These include:

1. Helpful Member FAQ
2. New Membership Model Benefits Matrix (PDF)
3. Redlined Bylaws proposed updates (PDF)
4. Clean version of proposed Bylaws (PDF)
5. Virtual Town Hall Recording and Slide Deck - January 26, 2017 (requires login)


In addition to the resources noted above, IFT hosted a virtual Town Hall on Thursday, January 26. During the Town Hall, IFT President John Coupland, along with IFT staff, provided an overview about the proposed membership model and interdependent governance document changes. Voting eligible members interested in viewing the recorded event can access it from IFT’s learning management system.

Members can also direct questions to vote@ift.org


IFT members will receive an email communication on January 31, 2017 that will provide instructions regarding how and where they should cast their votes. If you do not receive this communication, please notify us at vote@ift.org.

Important! Leadership Elections Vote

In addition to the proposed membership model and supporting governance documents updates vote, IFT’s Board is also asking all members to cast their vote for this year’s leadership elections no later than Thursday, March 2, 2017.

To view candidate profiles, please visit the Election page.