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Chapter Handbook/Chapter 9: Growing and Promoting your Chapter

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Setting Goals

Some of the most successful chapters have clearly defined both their short term (achievable within 1 year) and long term goals (achievable in more than 1 year), and set forth a plan to achieve those goals. Goals may include the number of meetings you want to have in a year, certain topics you hope to cover in your meetings, an OWASP Project your chapter members want to contribute to, or even a dollar amount your chapter hopes to have in their local chapter account.


Surveying chapter members is a good way to learn how to improve or change your meetings to better meet their needs. While you can collect information about specific speakers and presentations at the end of each meeting (see “Collecting Feedback” above); additionally, give chapter members a chance each year to evaluate the past year and speak about expectations for the upcoming year. You can hand out paper copies at a meeting or even email out the survey to your chapter mailing list.

Sample Survey (template)

Sample Survey Results PPT Presentation


Network, network, network!

As a chapter leader, outreach is a great way to educate people about OWASP as well as upcoming chapter meetings, lining up speakers, and soliciting sponsors. Here are some ideas for where to start:

  • Use OWASP chapter mailing lists to alert members of meetings and monthly events.
  • Coordinate with other OWASP Chapters in your area - maybe you can piggyback off one of their speakers or combine for a social event.
  • Talk to other security groups, developer groups (Linux, Python, PHO, Ruby, etc.), professional organizations, local CERTS, and hackerspaces in your area (ISSA, ISACA, FBI/Infragard, HTCIA, etc.). Cross-promote and/or join meetings, be a guest speaker and host guest speakers.
  • Host a booth or ask for a speaker slot at local developer/security events. Do a local talk about OWASP Projects that you have been involved or are familiar with.
  • Talk to local higher education institutions. Involve the university and its computer science students - you may be able to host a meeting or speak to a group of students.
  • Hook up with government, industry, and academic contacts in your area to relay the invitation and generate some interest.
  • Find out what companies are active in this domain in your area in order to raise their interest and support.
  • Consider possible press contacts in your area - invite them to a local meeting, event, or send a press release about an upcoming speaker.
  • Ask for help. A successful chapter has several leaders (there are no limits) so share the fun and the pain!

Recruiting List Members

It is extremely important to grow the size of the list. This is the primary source from which people learn about meetings and the larger the list, the more successful the meetings. Needless to say, list members need not be OWASP paying members.

There are three primary methods to add members to the list:

1. Automatically registering attendees to an event to the list While this may seem unorthodox at first, when done correctly this is the most effective way to enlist new members. Since meeting attendees are usually interested to learn about future meetings, this usually works fine. Just:

  • Enlist all meeting attendees.
  • Send an email to the meeting attendees summarizing the meetings
  • In this email, alongside the usual thanks and the location of the presentations, inform that you enlisted attendees to the list, that the list is mostly just for meeting announcements and that anyone is free to contact you to be removed.
  • Promptly remove who ever ask for it.
  • Be sure to remind the attendees of the meeting that you will be adding them to the mailing list for future meeting announcements.

2. When you meet people in the security community, mention OWASP.
Since OWASP is (hopefully) something you are proud of doing, it usually pops up in professional conversations. If they are interested in OWASP, especially getting involved in at the local level, offer to register the person to the list to get notifications on future meetings. Also, if you have OWASP business cards, consider having your chapter mailing list address printed on it. This will be an easy way to direct people to the right place.... just give them your card!

OWASP business cards can be requested and charged to your chapter, provided that the chapter has the necessary funds available, through the OWASP Merchandise Request Form.

3. Meeting invites
Even if initially sent through the list itself, meeting invites are often forwarded. Add to the invite itself, information on subscribing to the mailing list.

Promotional Materials

Consider putting together a flyer about your Chapter with upcoming speakers, topics, and events, or summarizing your local sponsorship opportunities (more on “Raising Funds” below).

Download a zip file of the OWASP Logo in Illustrator and EPS format:

Raising Funds

There are a number of different ways in which to raise money for your chapter.

Paid Individual Memberships - encourage the people who participate in your local chapter and attend your meetings to become a paid OWASP member.

  • Individual supporters pay $50 per year for their membership and the fee is split 60/40 with the Foundation (40% goes to the local chapter or project account designated by the member at the time of joining).
  • Some regions (developing countries) of the world may qualify for a discounted membership of $20. If you are unsure of whether this applies to your chapter or would like to request a discount code, please submit your request through

In the past, chapters have used (paid) membership drives to promote OWASP and raise money for their chapter. One approach is to enter all new members (or renewing members) in a raffle for prizes to be selected at your next meeting.

Donations from 3rd parties can be accepted via paypal. These funds are transferred to OWASP Foundation and then chapter leaders can submit receipts for reimbursement from their chapter’s account. For more information on reimbursement and your chapter account, see the section on Handling Money.

Chapter Sponsors – Local and Global
In order to grow your chapter, it is usually necessary to obtain sponsorship to cover chapter operations. This can come from local businesses or larger companies.

Local chapters get their funding primarily from local sponsorships. Any time you hold an event or conference you can ask companies to sponsor your event. Most of this money is spent on organizing the event including venue, food etc. However, whatever money is left can be used later for other expenses. Donations received from sponsors are shared between the local chapters and the OWASP Foundation.

There are three different sponsorship options:
1. Single Meeting Supporter - Organizations that wish to support OWASP local chapter with donation to enable OWASP Foundation to continue the mission.

  • Benefits include being recognized as a local supporter by posting the company logo on the OWASP Chapter website, and having a table at local chapter meeting to promote application security products/services etc.
  • The dollar amount for this is set by each local chapter.

2. Local Chapter Supporter - Organizations that are not yet interested in becoming full Organizational Supporters but who have a desire to direct their support in a more regional manner may prefer to become a Chapter Supporter.

  • Benefits include being recognized as a local supporter by posting the company logo on the OWASP Chapter website, and having (1) supporting member vote in elections and on issues that shape the direction of the community.
  • Suggested dollar amounts are $500 (Silver), $1000 (Gold), and $2000 (Platinum) per year, split 10/90 with the Foundation - 90% of the funds going directly to the local chapter.

3. Organizational Supporter (Global)- Organizations that wish to support OWASP with a 100% tax deductible donation to enable OWASP Foundation to continue the mission.

  • Benefits include an opportunity to post a rotating banner ad on the OWASP home page for 30 days at no additional cost, being recognized as a supporter by posting the company logo on the OWASP Website, being listed as a sponsor in the OWASP newsletter that goes to over 10,000 individuals around the world on owasp mailing lists.
  • Organizational Supporters have (1) supporting member vote in elections and on issues that shape the direction of the community.
  • $5000 per year, split 60/40 with the Foundation - 40% going to the local chapter designated at the time of payment.

More details on the different levels of sponsorship can be found at:

Spawning Other Chapters

Some activities such as conferences, media relations and involvement with legislation and regulatory bodies are nationwide by nature. Such activities should be handled collectively by all chapters in the country and should be led by one of the chapter leaders, either by mutual agreement, election, or if all else fails, appointed by the Community Manager.