ILCA 2016 Membership Pricing: Understanding Our Equity Approach

Lactation Matters-the official blog of (2)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:

Screenshot 2015-11-30 13.11.15

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.

Be watching on 15 October 2015 for more information about how you can LATCH ON TO ILCA for 2016!

13 Responses to ILCA 2016 Membership Pricing: Understanding Our Equity Approach

  1. Roberto Issler 12 October 2015 at 07:48 #

    Wonderful News!!!!! I do hope more and more IBCLCs worldwide will join ILCA to empower our certification and our organization. This initiative will certain Have an impact in local groups which struggle for professional recognition as IBCLCs. Congratulations and thanks to ILCA Board for this decision. I’ll do myself rolê indo this

  2. ECBrooks 12 October 2015 at 11:54 #

    Clapping and cheering from my corner of Lactation Land, where I am *thrilled* as a 18+ year ILCA member, and former Board member, to see my professional association put its words into action, its intent into process, its commitment into infrastructure. Whoo Hoo! Thank you!

  3. Regina Roig-Romero 12 October 2015 at 13:20 #

    Visionary and consistent action here from ILCA – thank you! I shall happily renew my membership and encourage others to renew or join. Now let’s make sure the word on this gets out far and wide in places and corners of the world that care about breastfeeding but have never heard of us! 🙂

    • Roberto Mário Issler 13 October 2015 at 14:17 #

      I’ll do that in Brazil and Latin American Regina, special in a moment when we are discussing and making decisions to have our Brazilian IBCLCs’ Association. Saludos y gracias por comentar!

  4. Pamela Morrison IBCLC 12 October 2015 at 14:15 #

    Bravo ILCA, for recognizing that potential members in Group D countries really struggle. This new fee scale will REALLY help. And next we need an adjustment to provide for tiered fees to attend ILCA conferences! But meanwhile, grateful thanks!

  5. joyheads 12 October 2015 at 17:59 #

    Congratulations ILCA Board – a realistic decision

  6. Dee Kassing 12 October 2015 at 21:51 #

    Have you moved Puerto Rico to a different category than Category A? It was quite moving and sad to listen to conference attendees from Puerto Rico address the board about the reality of living in a “United States territory”, so being treated the same as mainland U.S. citizens financially, when in reality their income level is far, far lower than that.

    • lactationmatters 12 October 2015 at 22:04 #

      Thank you, Dee. We also took very much to heart the comments expressed at the conference. Despite this, Puerto Rico’s economy is rated in Category A by the World Bank, separate from the United States. While we will continue to explore options for increasing access to membership for all breastfeeding professionals world wide, residents of Puerto Rico will pay the Category A rate.

  7. iLactation (@iLactation) 12 October 2015 at 21:57 #

    It’s an excellent move to reduce prices for those outside Cat A, but at the same time, ILCA also needs to consider that so few of the Cat C and Cat D countries actually speak English as their major language, and I don’t know how ILCA memberships can actually serve them. I look forward to ILCA expanding the languages that are offered for CERPs and hope that ILCA can collaborate with more non-English speaking entities to help them learn and to learn from them too. “International” cannot remain as English-only, and I am hopeful ILCA is beginning to address these very real disparities.
    Cat C = Armenia, Bhutan, Bolivia, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Congo (Rep.),Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt (Arab Rep.),El Salvador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Mauritania, Micronesia (Fed. Sts.), Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, West Bank and Gaza, Yemen (Rep.), Zambia
    Cat D = Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo (Dem. Rep.),Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kenya, Korea (Dem. Rep), Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe

    • lactationmatters 12 October 2015 at 22:07 #

      Thank you very much for your comment. You have hit the nail on the head and, as ILCA moves forward with its strategic direction, we are incredible mindful of increasing both diversity and equity for our members. Increasing access to non-English speaking resources and opportunities is a focus of their organization. I would encourage you to consider volunteering for our Advocacy, Diversity, or Professional Development committees where this topic will surely be on the table. You can find more information here:

  8. bfyrbab 13 October 2015 at 07:05 #

    I would be interested in having you post some figures of say 5 years ago, 1 year ago, and then in these next couple of years, of the number of members from the various category countries to see if these efforts have made an impact. While I appreciate that there are disparities, and I am sure I do not fully understand how poor poor can be, I , too, heard the comments of our Puerto Rican sisters, and I know many of our peer counselors in high cost of living Category A cities are also struggling to find disposable income in order to fund their memberships. Does this World Bank calculation take into effect cost of living expenses? Do we even ASK what a new member’s job or income level is? Can we not have some sort of sliding scale in even category A countries, even if it is just for the first year or two of membership as THOSE people get established in the bf supporting roles?
    Plus why the $3, the $8 (or maybe even the $24) charge….- the administrative costs of even processing that payment could negate the fee itself……if we want to support those interested in becoming ILCA members in those category countries, just give it to them!

  9. Debi Ferrarello 13 October 2015 at 09:54 #

    I am so pleased by ILCA’s international focus, including increased efforts to translate resources, and its commitment to accessibility to international constituents. I am president of the US Lactation Consultant Association, and I am very happy to be part of a world of lactation professionals through my ILCA membership.

  10. Bianca Balassiano Najm 14 October 2015 at 19:39 #

    Great news!!! Count me in!

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