In 2016, ILCA is significantly reworking the membership pricing structure to better reflect our commitment to knowledge, diversity, and equity. We want to share with you the new pricing, the values behind the shift, and how we determined the new structure.
Our 2016 Standard Membership Fees:
As we’ve done for many years, each member is placed in a category based on the World Bank Economy Indicators list. However, what is different this year is how we calculated each category’s fee structure.
Member fees seen through our core values: knowledge, diversity, and equity
ILCA, as a part of its new strategic direction, has adopted three core values:
- Knowledge: We believe knowledge guides our practice, strengthens our value, and supports our role in transforming global health.
- Diversity: We foster an inclusive environment that supports leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research from varied perspectives.
- Equity: We support global access to skilled lactation care and the IBCLC profession.
The ILCA Board of Directors has taken a hard look at every aspect of our work – including our membership structure, benefits, and pricing – to determine how it is aligned with these values.
We have been aware for many years that, even though ILCA employed a tiered pricing structure, membership fees were still out of reach for many people worldwide who are otherwise committed to improving global health through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care. By taking a close look at the numbers, we saw a clearer picture of just how great the disparities actually are.
For many years, we’ve based our pricing on the World Bank Economy Indicators list. Members from countries that the World Bank rated as “high income” were charged our full membership fee, while those within lower resource countries (upper middle income, lower middle income, and low income) paid less — an 18%, 33%, and 43% discount (respectively). While the general thinking behind this strategy — lower rates for lower resource countries — made sense, the percentage discount did not take into account the full impact of worldwide disparities.
Using World Bank data, we compared the average salary to the ILCA dues for each country. The results helped us to see that, although we were adjusting the scale, we weren’t doing so in an equitable way. For people in the lowest resource countries, the ILCA membership fee represented as much as 12% of their annual income, yet it was only 0.3% of the annual income for someone in a high resource country. Our 43% discount for low resource countries simply wasn’t low enough to ensure that the benefits of ILCA membership were accessible worldwide.
The ILCA Board realized that something needed to change. If we want to achieve our vision of world health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care, we must make membership accessible to all of those committed to this vision.
Our new fee structure in each resource level calculates the fee based on the average income of all countries in that category. Now, members around the world will pay approximately the same percentage of the annual salary for their World Bank category.
ILCA recognizes that this new fee structure will not relieve the financial burden of membership from every potential member. We understand that, even in countries named “high income” by the World Bank, significant and inequitable financial structures still exist. We will continue to examine and address this concern. With this in mind, we are increasing our efforts to fundraise for scholarships and hope to offer an increased number of scholarships in 2016 and beyond. In addition, we will continue to offer scholarships for those in need.
In addition to our Standard Membership, we will also continue to offer Student and Retired memberships as well as Clinical Care Professional and Breastfeeding Supporter membership for those who are not IBCLCs. Watch for more information on pricing and benefits for these membership types soon.
You have told us, both formally through our membership survey and informally through phone calls, emails, social media communications and face-to-face conversations that you highly value ILCA membership. You’ve overwhelmingly taken advantage of the opportunity to earn FREE CERPs, expressed your deep appreciation for the Journal of Human Lactation, and shared with us how being listed in the Find a Lactation Consultant directory impacts your community.
Our new fee structure will not impact your member benefits. We are committed to making sure that you continue to have access to the benefits that you have come to value. The more members we have worldwide, the greater our capacity to impact global health. The more our profession impacts global health, the more IBCLCs will be recognized as integral to health care systems worldwide.
We want to continue to help our current members get what you need to provide the best breastfeeding support. And, we want to make sure these same benefits have the worldwide impact our vision calls upon us to achieve.