Announcing Honorary Lifetime Membership Reform and Complimentary Membership for Active Leaders


Andrew van der Stock

Friday, November 6, 2020

At the October public Board meeting at the Global AppSec 2020 - Virtual, the Board voted on Honorary Membership and active Leader Complimentary Membership reform, and these reforms are now live.

For hardworking OWASP community leaders who have done amazing things for many years, you will finally have a chance of being recognized by the Foundation and your peers for being a true OWASP hero and upholder of our values and mission. For active leaders, you will be pleasantly surprised by a new option available to you.

What is the problem we’re trying to solve?

Typically, for non-profits and charities, the expectation is that community leaders are members. OWASP is almost unique in that we don’t require Membership to participate or make it mandatory for leaders.

Only 17% of OWASP leaders are members of any sort. The Board felt that many non-member leaders could not vote or become Board members, so they were effectively donating their time but could not influence the Foundation or our mission. At the September face-to-face meeting, the Board discussed various membership models and decided to offer active leaders Complimentary membership and reform Honorary Membership.

Honorary Membership reform

The Honorary membership system, set down in our bylaws for many years, wasn’t functional for a long time and prevented worthy members from receiving well-deserved Honorary Membership. Honorary Membership was all but Complimentary Membership for those who asked a lot, which diminishes the recognition and efforts of those who are genuinely deserving of Honorary Membership. The existing honorary system is unfair, unsustainable, and doesn’t help our mission.

Honorary Membership will become an actual award - awarded by the Board only a few times a year. Honorary Membership will grant Lifetime membership for extraordinary service to OWASP and our mission over a long time. Prior Honorary Membership applications will not be processed. If you have applied for Honorary Membership but not received it, please see if you qualify for complimentary membership.

Complimentary Membership reform

For Leaders who are finding it difficult in this pandemic to justify paid Membership, or feel that they contribute a lot to OWASP already, Complimentary Membership is now available.

Complimentary Membership is now live, and to qualify, you must:

  • You must be discoverable. We can only discover you in the same way that any new member or member of the public can - via our website. It would be best if you had an up to date project or chapter page. Your details must be in the “” file, and your page linked to your Github project or Meetup page.
  • You must be one of the top 5 leaders in your project or chapter. The current Honorary membership requirement of a minimum of six months’ service as a leader is still a prerequisite.
  • Chapters must have an active Meetup group. The OWASP Foundation provides each chapter with a free Meetup Pro group, and this is how we will discover if you held at least four meetings in the last 12 months. If you use Facebook events or another method to schedule events, you can continue to do so, but in addition to Meetup. Meetup is the only official meeting scheduling platform for Complimentary Membership.
  • Projects must have an active GitHub project. We will be using GitHub activity metrics to determine if you’re active. Even if you’re not a Github style project, please start using Github to log issues and publish releases.
  • You should have an email address. All Leaders are eligible for a free email address. We encourage you to use your email for all official project or chapter business and respond to all communications within 30 days.

OWASP has around 290 chapters, 160 projects, and approximately 1,000 active projects and chapter leaders. We cannot manually evaluate every leader to determine if they are eligible for Complimentary Membership. Therefore, the Foundation must automate complimentary Membership. Automation can only work if you use our standard tools and platforms.

How do I take up Complimentary leadership?

Renew or Join, and if you’re eligible, a Complimentary option will be available to you.

Other recently adopted membership reforms mean paid Membership is within the grasp of most. Membership for students is $20. Regional pricing is $20 for annual Membership, $38 for two-year Membership, and $200 for Lifetime Membership. Regular memberships are from $50 for one year, $95 for two years, and $500 for a Lifetime membership.

In the future, the OWASP Foundation will offer monthly memberships, but they are not available just yet.

Complimentary Membership does not auto-renew. Please keep an eye on the calendar to keep your membership benefits. For members wishing to stand for the Board, you will need to maintain continuous Membership for 12 months before submitting your candidacy and maintain Membership to the end of the election. You must switch over to paid Membership if you are elected. The easiest way to keep continuous Membership is a Lifetime membership, which I highly recommend.

Do I need to take up Complimentary Leadership? I want to continue supporting the Foundation.

No. We encourage all OWASP Leaders to continue supporting our not-for-profit mission by donating their skills, passion, time, and support for our mission monetarily by becoming a financial member. We hope that Leaders will regularly motivate others to join, sponsor, or donate to OWASP to help our mission.

I am a Lifetime Member and a leader. What are you thinking?

As a Lifetime Member, I feel you.

We are working to improve the benefits offered to Lifetime members. We are creating an Awards and Scholarships policy that will govern the transparent, fair, and equitable access to training and conferences at our events. We will encourage committees and event organizers to extend previously available leadership benefits to Lifetime members as a priority. Hang in there. More news on that soon.

What happens to other leadership benefits?

As all active Leaders are now eligible for a $50 per year benefit, we will be replacing the “free” conference benefit with a far fairer and more transparent Awards and Scholarships policy. Awards and scholarships will open up our mission to deserving and under-served groups and better target benefits, and ensure that we know how much a particular Award or Scholarship will cost the event, trainer, or Foundation.

Most other leadership benefits will not change, but we will continuously be looking to improve them.

Thank you to Harold Blankenship for getting the automation that drives this new reform done in record time, so that the Board’s desired go live date could be achieved. I think it’s often underappreciated that our staff work behind the scenes very hard for all OWASP members and leaders, and this is yet one more example of where Harold pulled out all the stops to add yet another new benefit for active leaders. Thank you, Harold!

Andrew van der Stock

Executive Director

Book an appointment with me