The IRF provides research and education to the professionals who run incentive programs, the suppliers who make those programs successful, and the industry that focuses on motivating the workforce to perform at their best.

Creating Relevant and Impactful Research

The Incentive Research Foundation is a private not-for-profit foundation dedicated to understanding, educating, and advocating for the use of non-cash incentives. The IRF funds research and delivers education to advance the science and enhance awareness and appropriate application of non-cash incentives in business and industry globally. Our goal is to help businesses at all stages of incentives maturity increase the understanding, effective use, and benefits of non-cash incentives. 

IRF is a foundation, not an association, and as such does not maintain a membership. The IRF does however have an active constituency with over 8,000 individuals in our database and over 75,000 unique users a year accessing our research. 

Our constituency draws from suppliers of incentives and rewards products to program owners in Fortune 500 companies that run Incentive, Reward and Recognition programs to the many Incentive Houses that serve our market. We also provide hundreds of hours of education each year to all aspects of the incentives and meetings industry through webinars and events, including our signature event, the IRF Education Invitational.

The IRF is recognized across the industry as the global resource for independent, cutting-edge information and analysis of incentive marketing practices and applications. Each year the IRF executes 10-12 studies on industry trends, benchmarks, best practices, and insights.


Our research and education focuses on incentives, recognition, and motivation in the workplace with specific research in to engagement, non cash awards. Over its 26 years in existence the IRF has underwritten over 90 projects and committed more than $2 million to research and education.

The Incentive Research Foundation values: 



We base our research in solid scientific and academic approaches


Continuous Learning

We deliver education through a variety of formats to include events, web-based learning, and research papers



We provide insights to all at no cost for the advancement of the industry



We work to represent voices from global audiences to provide a comprehensive perspective on the use of incentives

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees oversees all activities within the foundation and is responsible for adopting strategies and policies that further the foundation’s mission. In addition, the Trustees are active in the execution of the foundation’s many research, education, communication and event efforts, made possible through our IRF committees.

Meet The Board

How to Get Involved

The IRF offers incentives professionals many ways to learn, engage, and contribute to the industry.

Join Our Mailing List

Get updates on new research releases, webinars, and events

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Attend an IRF Event

IRF Education Invitational, Leadership Insights Forum, and more

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Partner With IRF

Support the IRF’s research, education, and events

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Join a Committee

Help develop and deliver IRF initiatives

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Research & Education Partners

The IRF accomplishes its mission through an extensive network of education and networking partners including: Aspect Marketing Intelligence, University of Massachusetts, New York University, University of Southern California, University of Missouri, University of Southern Florida, University of Waterloo, Aberdeen Research Group, American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC), the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), The Wharton School, London Business School, Temple University, Northwestern University, Ryerson University, Luton Business School, and GfKNOP.