In 2021, IABC introduced a new strategic plan, Stronger Together, emphasizing the collective power of a seamless global organization in responding to the changes affecting our world, profession and association.
In developing the strategic plan, IABC’s International Executive Board (IEB) recognized that our decades-old organizational structure no longer serves us well as an association today. The IEB acknowledges that the association must evolve to meet the current and future needs of members and volunteers.
In 2022, the IEB created an IABC Stronger Together Organizational Design Task Force to help executive leaders and staff consider how to best organize structurally and operationally to thrive in the future and deliver on that strategy.
“IABC must make meaningful steps to reposition the association for membership growth, ensure we are financially sustainable, and remove some of the administrative burdens for our volunteer leaders so we can better advance the profession and fulfill our purpose,” Alain Legault, 2023 IEB chair, says.
Reflecting on IABC’s Current Structure
Over the last nine months, the Task Force has completed a comprehensive program of work, including:
- Research drawing on data from IABC and current research on association management
- A review of chapters and regions to determine first where the work is currently being done
- Consideration of frameworks that could improve the member and volunteer leader experience
The Task Force found that each entity of the association — international, region, chapter— generates revenue and delivers programs. However, the overall delivery can be fragmented with inconsistent quality, due to the lack of resources to support programs.
“There is clearly an opportunity to align each entity and create a more coordinated and consistent member experience,” Danielle Bond, Task Force chair and IEB immediate past chair, says. “Greater alignment will allow us to launch and curate more impactful programming for our members. “
A Member-Centered Model
Following extensive engagement with leaders at all levels, we are proposing a member-centered model, designed to delegate more strategic decision making and financial control to the regions, closer to their communities.
Members would belong to at least one, but potentially multiple communities, with much more flexibility around the definition of a community. This would allow groups of like-minded members in a common geographic or subject-matter area to form as appropriate, without the constraints of budget and administrative management. That could be done through a formal chapter as currently, but also as a networking group, a special interest group (SIG) or volunteering opportunities at the regional level. The goal is to get members plugged in with others as soon as possible.
Each community falls under one of seven regions, empowered to manage budgets and tailor delivery of programs to their market. IABC remains responsible for brand, budget and global programming.
The proposed model is designed to:
- Align the organization in a way that IABC has never accomplished before by changing the composition of the IEB
- Create financial transparency so volunteer leaders have access to financial information at all levels of the organization, to effectively manage resources and maximize member value
- Improve the member and member-at-large experience
- Reduce the administrative burden on our volunteer leaders and improve their experience.
The proposed model simplifies the IABC governance structure, improves our ability to respond to change and will help modernize our financial management system. Above all, it will ensure we are poised to grow by attracting and retaining members, offering them valuable knowledge, experiences and connections through the strength of our communities.
It requires the entire association to move forward collectively into the future.
IABC will host an in-person town hall at the IABC World Conference 2023 in Toronto on 4 June at 4:30 p.m. EDT, in advance of the Annual General Meeting (AGM). A facilitated Q&A session will be part of the event, to answer questions about the Task Force’s recommendations.
The 2023 Annual General Meeting will be hosted virtually on 21 June at 4 p.m. EDT, to ensure we are inclusive of our global membership. See the IABC Annual General Meeting & Delegate Voting: A Primer for a detailed explanation of IABC’s bylaws and the proposed changes that will be considered.
The IEB will look to establish a second Task Force to review the execution of proposed changes to governance, finance, and the change management process and communication.
Read more about the proposed model in the final discussion paper endorsed by the IEB in April 2023. More information about the work of the task force can be found online here.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the proposal and process can be found online here. If you have further questions about this work, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.