Honor Society Membership Renewal Process

After induction, members must pay annual membership fees to be considered active and to receive member benefits from the honor society. If the honor society is approved to become a chapter, members are invited to become chartering members of the new chapter and Sigma. Sigma members must pay annual membership fees to receive Sigma member benefits.

*Note that developing honor societies must collect dues (induction fees and renewal fees) from their members until approval. If approved as an official chapter, Sigma will collect all dues from members. Chapter dues will be sent to the chapter in the form of a chapter check. The chapter dues are returned to the chapter in regularly scheduled chapter disbursements. This will be explained during transitional trainings.

How Developing Honor Societies Conduct a Renewal Cycle

  • 10-12 months following each induction, honor societies shall send out letters to that induction class, inviting members to renew their membership with the honor society for the upcoming year. 
  • The letter is usually accompanied by a membership renewal form. 
  • Many groups have found it beneficial to promote the benefits of membership and upcoming events in their letter. 
  • Developing honor societies shall update and maintain their membership roster by tracking their active and inactive members as they receive membership renewal forms and payments. 
  • Repeat this cycle each year (for each induction class) until the honor society is approved to become a chapter.

Sample renewal form

How Much Should the Renewal Fee Be?

The renewal and induction fees are usually the honor society's/chapter's main source of income. The board of directors of the developing honor society shall determine the renewal and induction fees based on the group's annual expenses and budget needs.The average renewal fee charged to honor society and chapter members is US $25-$35.

Why is it important to conduct at least one renewal cycle prior to submitting an application?
Reviewers want to see that the honor society has a viable and sustainable membership base to begin the chapter. 

What about attrition?

Attrition is defined as a reduction or decrease in numbers, size or strength. Sigma's membership renewal rate is currently about 70 percent. Honor societies and chapters should strive for a renewal rate of 70-80 percent. Attrition occurs when:

  • the economy is poor
  • work or financial status changes
  • members move
  • members are not encouraged to renew after the initial induction
  • members do not find value in the membership

When determining future budgets, groups should not assume that all inductees will renew their membership after the first year. Assuming that everyone will renew will inadvertently cause you to inflate your renewal income. Estimations that 70-80 percent of the membership will renew is more realistic. Reviewers expect realistic budget estimations.

Thinking Ahead...

If the developing honor society is approved to become a chapter and is chartered: 

  • Members residing in high-income countries will pay the chapter’s renewal fee and Sigma fee of US $73.00 each year.*
  • Members residing in middle-income countries will pay the chapter’s renewal fee and Sigma fee of US $29.20. each year.* 
  • Members residing in low-income countries will pay the chapter’s renewal fee and Sigma fee of US $14.60 each year.* 

*World Bank Country Classification 

Chapters do not have to track their active and inactive members manually after chartering. 

New chapters are trained to utilize the Online Induction System beginning with chartering which enters chartering members and subsequent new inductees into the Sigma database. Near the anniversary of  each member's induction, Sigma will send out their renewal notices. All chapter renewal fees collected are then sent to the chapter up to three times per year in the form of a chapter disbursement check. 

Additional Considerations for Developing Honor Societies

  • It is vital that the chapter creates a welcoming, engaging and enticing membership experience for each member.
  • Chapters should educate members that it is their responsibility to keep the honor society, and eventually the chapter and Sigma, informed of their contact information.
  • Chapter should educate members of their options for transferring membership, and adding a  chapter membership when members relocate.
  • It is important to keep members apprised of the current fees and how/if those fees will change once the honor society becomes a chapter, including the addition of the Sigma fee.
  • Chapters should not only explain to members the benefit of joining, but also the professional development, leadership development, networking opportunities and advantages of belonging and maintaining their membership throughout their career.