Introducing the Member-Sponsor Model

Updated: Aug. 30, 2017  |  Categories: StarChapter Admin, Member Communications, Volunteers, Membership, Board Productivity  

The value of your chapter is evidenced through the quality content you provide to the members. Your members and prospects pay membership and event attendance fee to become educated on industry specific aspects. All of this is meant to enhance their career trajectory and ensure the successful expansion of the industry. And if you manage dues locally, this is doubly important!  

And in the changing professional landscape that is the workforce of today, membership in local chapters of national associations is even more important. As is the inclusion of younger members and historically under-served segments, building both diversity and encouraging the next generation.

But often these groups are less financially stable than more career-established community members. The question is: how then can your chapter include these important future chapter leaders while still meeting the chapter’s financial obligations? Consider the Member-Sponsor model.

There are a number of ways for your chapter to establish member-sponsor model for the inclusion of younger and less established members.


Tiered-Membership Pricing

Offering a tiered-membership dues plan is a great way to encourage a variety of new people to join. Set different rates for student, entry-level workers, more established industry associates, field experts, and those retired from the workforce. Each tier would also provide different levels of benefits for members, with those paying the most having the greatest amount of benefits.

Utilizing StarChapter management capabilities, tracking and ensuring that benefits are provided based on the membership level is a breeze.


Student-Provided Free Membership

Provide free chapter membership to students through sponsorship of full-paying members, either directly or through a fund, built from member donations. With this option, student members only have to prove their status as a student, as it isn’t income-driven in any way. Further, extend discounts to students on meeting or event fees.

This Student-Provided Free Membership model can cost your chapter revenue from membership dues if not enough money is raised or a greater number of students join. But this model encourages participation by the next generation. Student members receive benefits that communicates the value of membership for their career and your chapter inspires growth for its future in the local and national levels.




As a chapter, you can offer scholarships for attendance at conferences. These scholarships are sponsored by donation from sponsors. They can be based in a variety of criteria. First, there is a contest-based consideration where the quality of an applicant’s education and/or writing sample is the determining factor for receipt of the scholarship.

Second, income-based scholarships are more common and require applicants to submit documentation proving their income level. This criterion is an excellent way to ensure students, entry-level, and lower-income community members are included in the conference events.

And third, inviting applicants to organize a conference in exchange for their conference fee being waived or reduced. This way, you get the necessary coverage for the conference without paying out as much money and someone with less means is able to attend and grow from the conference.

The main drawback to scholarships is making sure scholarships are funded and have the people to review the information. This can be accomplished through committee participation that inspires engagement of your members.


Sponsoring membership of community members from the next generation of your industry’s workforce is essential to encourage the continued growth and success of the chapter and industry. By including current members in the process for building up the membership, they become invested in the achievements of the chapter, as a result, the chapter benefits, as does the industry.


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