Frequently Asked Questions IOA 

IOA answers your questions about the association.

1. What is “IOA”?  

IOA is the International Ombuds Association, the premier global professional association for organizational ombuds and their peers. IOA’s mission is to “support and advance the global organizational ombuds profession and ensure that practitioners work to the highest professional standards.”

Our association supports organizational ombuds and promotes the ombuds profession. We have more than 1,000 members and in partnership with our members we are leading the way toward more just, engaged, and inclusive organizations worldwide.

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2. How do I become a member of IOA?  

Learn more about IOA membership benefits and then complete the online application. We would love to have you join!

More About Membership

3. What is an Ombuds?

Ombuds are trusted navigators who help lead the way toward more just, engaged, and inclusive organizations. Ombuds, (also commonly referred to as ombudsman or ombudsperson) work in all types of organizations, including government agencies, colleges and universities, corporations, hospitals and other medical facilities, and news organizations.

An organizational ombuds is defined as: “a designated neutral who is appointed or employed by an organization to facilitate the informal resolution of concerns of employees, managers, students and, sometimes, external clients of the organization."

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4.  When is IOA’s next Annual Conference?

The IOA Annual Conference is typically held in late March or early April. Learn more about the upcoming Annual Conference.

Learn About Conference

5.  How can I get involved in IOA?  

There are a number of ways in which you can get involved in the International Ombuds Association. The organization sponsors a number of excellent training sessions and meetings each year in addition to an annual conference.

The work of IOA is largely completed by a number of busy and effective committees made up of volunteers, and all members are invited to get involved. See a complete listing of the IOA committees and task forces and their functions.

Volunteer with IOA

6. Is the IOA Board of Directors different from the CO-OP® Board of Certification?

Yes. The IOA is led by a 15-member volunteer Board of Directors elected by the membership. The certification program for organizational ombuds practitioners was developed under the auspices of IOA over the course of five years of planning, seeking feedback from members, and assessing the results of a market survey. Although the CO-OP® Board of Certification is a division of IOA, the Bylaws of the Board of Certification provide that the Board of Certification, not IOA or any other organization, has the sole discretion to manage and make all decisions relating to certification matters.

More About the IOA Board
More About CO-OP®

7.  How do I recognize the good work of an IOA volunteer?

IOA offers two easy ways to formally recognize the excellence and dedication of our volunteers, the Peer Recognition Program and the Presidential Recognition Program.

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