It is recommended that over the next five years IBP focuses its growth strategy inward – emphasizing quality (further attending to and empowering current members) versus quantity (growing membership). This recommendation, however, comes with one caveat: Within each of the five priority countries, it is recommended that IBP does indeed seek to carefully grow its membership base.
Currently, IBP has more than three dozen member organizations, growing from nine agencies that first came together in 1999. Throughout the strategic planning exercise, IBP’s size and diversity of member organizations was considered to be one of its fundamental strengths.
At the same time, a majority of members believe that the IBP needs to strengthen its guidance and on-going communication to maximize its potential. Specifically, members believed that further clarity should exist concerning the following: (i) IBP’s purpose; (ii) roles and responsibilities of members; and (iii) how the IBP functions and the products it offers. It is important to note that the IBP has made significant effort to shed light on these issues through materials such as: IBP–10 Years at a Glance, brochures, meeting reports, PowerPoint presentations and new partner orientations. However, according to the strategic planning exercise, different communication approaches and mediums must be explored.
In sum, the membership strategy over the next five years should be inward-looking with an additional, yet less emphasized, orientation toward tempered growth at the country level to support priority-country efforts. Primarily, the strategy should focus inward in a manner that establishes a higher level of engagement, understanding and participation among current members. Secondarily, in a strategic manner, IBP should grow its country-level membership, focusing specifically on five priority countries. Over time, and based on this country-specific growth strategy, the IBP may find it necessary to strengthen its structure to allow for more consistent and quality contributions of country-level members.