IFT Membership Model & Governance Documents Updates FAQ’s

FAQ CATEGORIES [each category will link to the respective section]
Last updated June 21, 2017

WHY A NEW MODEL AND WHO DECIDED ON THE CHANGE
NEW MEMBERSHIP STRUCTURE
IMPACT ON CURRENT MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY
QUESTIONS AND IMPACT ON SECTIONS
QUESTIONS REGARDING DIVISIONS
MEMBERSHIP RATES
IFT ANNUAL EVENT AND PRODUCT PURCHASE IMPACT
IMPLEMENTATION
OPPORTUNITIES/RESOURCES TO ASK QUESTIONS AND LEARN MORE


WHY A NEW MODEL AND WHO DECIDED ON THE CHANGE


1) Why are these changes being made?

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 felt it was important to take a thoughtful and comprehensive look at our membership model, including extensive market research; qualitative phone calls with current, past, and prospective members; member surveys; and focus groups. The feedback received led us to reshape our current offerings.

This model provides membership options more directly in line with needs expressed by our current and prospective members, including providing more affordable and internationally accessible options for our growing community.


2) Who decided on this change?

IFT’s Board of Directors voted on this new model during their November 2016 meeting. In addition, IFT’s membership supported the decision, with 89% of those voting, voted in favor of the changes.


3) When will this change take effect?

The new membership offerings will officially be available in September 2017.


4) Were members consulted on this change?

Yes. Extensive market research was conducted over a three-year period, including more than 100 qualitative phone calls with current, past, and prospective members; member surveys; and focus groups. In addition, IFT’s membership supported the decision, with 89% of those voting, voted in favor of the changes.


5) Did section leaders have an opportunity for input into these proposed changes?

Yes. We have also heard from section leaders, who shared how their pool of volunteer leaders had been on the decline, impacting the viability of some sections. They shared that a lower-cost option for membership would help them in bringing back some members lost during unification. In addition to listening to their feedback over time, all sections were invited to have a representative participate in a membership model focus group at IFT16, with 14 sections choosing to participate. Section leaders were also included in the extensive research noted above.


6) Does IFT anticipate that membership will increase as a result of these changes?

Yes. The new membership offerings better positions IFT for long-term growth and sustainability. The extensive market research; qualitative phone calls with current, past, and prospective members; member surveys; and focus groups helped IFT staff and the Board of Directors identify the right model to address the needs of current and prospective members throughout the spectrum of their careers.


7) I’ve never been a member before. What will I gain from this change?

This model provides membership options more directly in line with needs expressed by our current and prospective members, including providing more affordable and internationally accessible options for our growing community. As you will see by the features matrix, the different options provide different levels of access to IFT’s invaluable resources, products, and networking opportunities. We hope you will consider engaging with IFT in a way that fits your needs.

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NEW MEMBERSHIP STRUCTURE


1) What is the new structure?

The new membership model offers the following categories:

Premier ($209)* – provides optimal access and the highest discount to all of IFT’s invaluable resources, services, programs, and events, including IFT’s annual event

Networking and Engagement ($99)* – provides access to a subset of resources plus a discount (lower than Premier members) to IFT’s annual event and select programs and resources

Joint International (price varies) – IFT has partnered with a select group of international professional associations to offer joint international membership option
Note: rates vary due to home country partner rate.

Emeritus ($25)* – no change

Student ($50)* – no change
* Plus section dues if applicable

In addition to the categories above, we will help make membership more affordable for new professionals during the first few years after graduation through a tiered early career discount. This will be offered within the Premier membership category.

  • 1st year post graduation ($80, plus section dues if applicable)
  • 2nd year post graduation ($120, plus section dues if applicable)
  • 3rd year post graduation ($160, plus section dues if applicable)

2) How were these categories of membership determined?

Dating back to 2013, IFT worked with the Avenue M Group, a firm that specializes in association membership and marketing, to assess our current and potential models. Avenue M Group has done extensive research in this area and has helped other associations recharge their membership models to best meet their members’ current and future needs.

IFT worked with Avenue M Group on extensive market research; qualitative phone calls with current, past, and prospective members; member surveys; and focus groups. This resulted in a number of different potential options, which were then narrowed down to this model. IFT's board and staff, after thoughtful and thorough review, feel this model will better position the organization for long-term growth and sustainability.


3) What is the difference between the Premier member and Networking and Engagement member discount on events and products?

Premier members will experience the optimal professional development, engagement, and learning IFT experience. This membership category provides access to all of IFT’s great resources, services, events, and programs with the highest-level discount for fee-based events, products, and services. This category also includes the ability to serve on IFT’s Board of Directors, be a candidate for president of IFT, receive a monthly print subscription to Food Technology magazine, vote in IFT elections, and volunteer on committees and other leadership opportunities. It is also the best value as it offers the highest discount rates for IFT programs and events, including IFT's annual event.

Networking and Engagement members will have access to an advantageous IFT experience where they can take advantage of some of IFT’s unparalleled networking and engagement resources while also enjoying discounts on a subset of product and event offerings. Networking and Engagement members will also have access to a digital version of Food Technology magazine, can vote in IFT elections, serve on committees and task forces and other volunteer opportunities, in addition to leadership roles at the section level. Networking and Engagement members, however, would not be eligible to serve on IFT’s Board of Directors, or be a candidate for president of IFT. Discounts at this level are at a lower percentage than at the Premier membership level.


4) What does the Joint International membership offer?

IFT has partnered with a select group of international professional associations to offer Joint International membership options. In addition to the benefits provided by our partner, IFT provides benefits that align with those of the Networking and Engagement membership category.

This offer is currently geared towards members of partner organizations that wish to join IFT as well. IFT continues to work with our international partners to develop benefits that are mutually beneficial to our members.



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IMPACT ON CURRENT MEMBERSHIP CATEGORIES


1) I’m a current member. What does this change mean to me?

This new model takes into account the needs of our current, former, and potential members. This new structure will allow you to continue to engage with IFT at a level that fits your current needs.

Individuals currently in the Member or Professional member categories will be upgraded to the new Premier membership category in September 2017. Upon renewal, members can choose to remain in the Premier membership category or switch to another category for which they may be eligible.

There are no changes planned at this time for the Student or Emeritus categories.


2) As an Emeritus member, how will the changes impact me?

There are currently no changes to Emeritus membership.


3) What happens to my Premier membership if I go back to school?

If you are currently a Premier member and plan to return to school on a full-time basis, pursuing a degree (associate or higher) in the field of food science and technology or in one or more of the sciences or branches of engineering concerned with advancing food science and technology, you would qualify for Student membership in IFT and may adjust your membership.

Please note that membership refunds are not provided when changing membership categories.


4) How does this change impact the graduating student's free year of membership?

In an effort to help make membership more affordable for new professionals during the first few years after graduation, we are replacing the current free year with a tiered early career discount that would be offered within the Premier membership category.

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


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PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP CATEGORY


1) Why are we no longer recognizing Professional members?

IFT continues to value members who have shown commitment to the profession and to IFT. Over the past six years, IFT’s Professional membership category has seen a 27% decline, while the Member category has increased by 10%. There are a few contributing factors, but confusion over the category and lack of a true benefit are things we heard from members. By merging the member and Professional member categories into the new Premier category, IFT opens up the audience of eligible participants for board leadership opportunities and awards. While the Professional membership category is going away, requirements for the IFT Fellows program and various awards and leadership positions remain in place ensuring we have the most qualified individuals representing IFT. This is also supported in how we continue to strengthen our nominations and elections process.

We also understand that recognition is important, and we are committed to finding more valuable ways to recognize members.


2) How will IFT recognize dedicated members?

IFT has begun looking at new opportunities to recognize members based on their dedication to the profession and membership involvement in IFT. You can anticipate more information on these recognition initiatives in 2018.
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QUESTIONS AND IMPACT ON SECTIONS


1) Will these changes affect section memberships?

There are no changes to how sections are selected. IFT members in the United States who work or reside in an area served by a section (based upon your primary address zip/postal code) will be automatically added to the section. In addition, members remain able to join as many additional sections as they wish (at the applicable rate).


2) Did section leaders have an opportunity for input into these proposed changes?

Yes. All sections were invited to have a representative participate in a membership model focus group at IFT16. In addition, section leaders were included in the extensive market research done by Avenue M Group, the consulting firm hired by IFT. Avenue M Group specializes in association membership sustainability and marketing.


3) Did IFT consider including section dues with IFT dues in the new model?

Yes, as we feel this would allow IFT to market membership in a more streamlined, less confusing fashion. At this time, however, section dues vary, and some areas are not currently served by local sections, which presents a challenge to including section dues with IFT dues; thus, no change was proposed with this model.


4) How do you anticipate these changes will impact my section?

While this new model has no direct impact on the makeup of our sections, it will provide increased options that are more directly in line with the needs of our current and prospective members. During the section leader focus group, multiple section leaders indicated this new structure should improve the health of sections and aid in succession planning. Following the launch of the new model, IFT staff will provide section leaders with recommended changes to section governance documents based on the new model with a reasonable timeline for completion.


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QUESTIONS REGARDING DIVISIONS


1) Will these changes affect division participation?

No. Divisions remain free and are optional special interest groups focusing on specific areas of food science and technology, bringing together IFT member talent and knowledge to explore important topics, solve problems, and help one another in the advancement of food science and technology.


2) Can I join more than one division?

Yes. IFT offers over 24 divisions to choose from, and members are able to join the divisions of their choice.


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MEMBERSHIP RATES


1) Why is there a rate increase at the Premier level?

Membership dues are a vital source of funding to support IFT’s strategic goals, priorities, and member needs. The $19 increase in dues, only $1.58 per month, supports the increase in services and benefits at the Premier level. The Premier membership category is the only category with a change in dues. It is important to also note that this is the first time in more than five years that IFT has seen an increase in member dues while it has continued to improve and expand its offerings each year.

IFT continues to explore opportunities to increase the member value in each category. As a part of the new model, Premier members will continue to receive all of the great benefits and features as they have in the past. Some new benefits to take advantage of include early access to the IFT Food Expo, annual event registration, and housing for the annual event, all beginning in 2018. We also continue to invest in our sections, which also serve our members. Finally, we will continue to explore additional member benefits and welcome your feedback.

2) Did IFT consider changes to the Student dues structure?

At this time, there are no changes proposed to the Student membership structure, but this is something we will continue to review with the leadership of IFT and IFTSA in an effort to ensure we are offering the best value to our Student members.


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IFT ANNUAL EVENT AND PRODUCT PURCHASE IMPACT


1) How does this affect my IFT annual event registration and other product purchases?

There will be no changes to previous purchases made. Future purchases will be subject to pricing based on your category of membership at the time of purchase.


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IMPLEMENTATION


1) When do the changes go into effect?

If approved, this new model would officially launch in September 2017.


2) Will this new model impact my membership renewal date?

No. There will be no changes made to current membership renewal dates.


3) When can new members join using the new membership categories?

New members can join using the new membership categories beginning in September 2017.


4) When can existing members select the new options?

Individuals currently in themember or Professional member categories would be upgraded to the new Premier membership category in September 2017. Upon renewal, members can choose to remain in the Premier membership category or switch to another category for which they may be eligible.


5) Who is eligible to serve in a leadership capacity under the new model?

While only Premier members are eligible to serve on IFT’s Board of Directors and be a candidate for president of IFT, members in all categories are eligible to serve on committees and task forces and other volunteer opportunities in addition to leadership roles at the section level. members in all categories are eligible to serve on committees and task forces and other volunteer opportunities in addition to leadership roles at the section level.


6) Who is responsible for determining the dues amount?

As outlined in the Bylaws, IFT’s Board of Directors determines member dues rates. There are no proposed changes to this process.


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OPPORTUNITIES/RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE


1) What resources are available to me to learn more and ask questions?

New Membership Model Update Webpage
New Membership Model Features Matrix
(PDF)

2) I have more in-depth questions on the new membership model or proposed merger of the Constitution and Bylaws. Who should I contact at IFT?

Members can also direct questions to info@ift.org.

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Hongda Chen