DRAFT OWASP Operating Plan 2024 - Chapters




  • Increase the number of active chapters to 75%
  • Increase the number of chapter meetings by 25%
  • Increase RSVPs by 25%
  • $125k in chapter fundraising activities in 2024, with 100% of chapter fundraising to fund chapter expenses

Program Deliverables

  • Deliver a new AMS by Q2 2024
  • Finalize Chapter Handbook
  • Reform student chapters to eliminate inactive and faux city chapters
  • Enforce existing inactive chapter policy
  • Develop and implement a plan for Chapter Swag
  • Develop Chapter Data Sheets
  • Develop and implement a plan for Chapter Marketing
  • Develop and implement a plan for Chapter Fundraising
  • Spotlights for OWASP Chapters

Town Halls and Leader Meetings

There will be two Chapter Leader Town Halls throughout 2024 and two leader meetings at AppSec Global events.

Reform Student Chapters

Reform of student chapters is necessary to ensure that the student chapter program is being used for its intended purpose, with active chapters led by faculty on campus with student co-leaders. OWASP participants and members deserve active chapters.

Sadly, the student chapter program is being abused to create inactive or faux city chapters (often both inactive and faux chapters). The Foundation has had decisions about student chapters overturned too many times, leading to a situation where the student chapter program is being used for purposes other than what it was intended for. This is harmful to our mission and is a waste of resources.

  • Over the last year, nearly a hundred chapters were formed, which subsequently have yet to have activity despite many attempts by the Foundation and Chapter Committee to assist them. After asking repeatedly to host a meeting, typically nothing happens. When the policy to close the chapter and strip leadership is applied, often very vocal complaints occur to the Chapter Committee, Executive Director, staff, and Board. Not only is this incredibly time-consuming and wasteful, but this attitude that somehow being inactive is deserving of leader benefits is highly harmful to our culture and mission. When staff action that follows a clear and long-established policy to close inactive chapters is overturned by the Chapter Committee or Board, that actively harms our mission and staff morale. It is a clear signal that the Foundation cannot enforce its policies set by the Board and that there is no point in implementing policy. This is different from the purpose of the student chapter program and is harmful to our mission and costly to the budget.
  • A few student chapters are hosting their activities off campus, essentially all but creating a faux city chapter, competing with or undermining the local city chapter. This is not the purpose of the student chapter program and is harmful to our mission.

Supporting struggling inactive chapters The Foundation will continue to help support the Chapter Committee by providing 90 days of notification and resources to all chapters to help them be successful by giving the Chapter Committee and the affected chapter 90 days’ notice of the need to host an activity before they are closed. The Foundation will continue to work with the Chapter Committee to provide resources to help chapters succeed, such as keeping a list of speakers and potential sponsors for chapter meetings.

No closures over student vacations The Foundation will not close student chapters during December through January for southern hemisphere chapters and June through August for northern hemisphere chapters, as these are typically student vacation months. Still, it will give them until the end of the following month to host an activity.

OWASP participants and members deserve active chapters A proposal to the Board will be made to modify Chapter policy to ensure that chapter leaders who do not host any activities during their time as chapter leaders are not permitted to re-open a chapter or act again as a chapter leader for a period of three years to prevent the currently recurring abuse of the student and broader chapter program, where zombie chapters are re-opened by the same leaders, and the same cycle of inactivity occurs.

Campus-only meetings A proposal to the board will be made to change chapter policy to ensure that faculty members hold student chapter activities on campus. This is to prevent the abuse of the student chapter program to create faux city chapters.

Enforcement of current Chapter policy In 2024, the Foundation will strictly enforce inactive chapter policy by shuttering inactive chapters and stripping the leaders of their chapter leader status as soon as the 90-day grace periods are up. As per current policy, the OWASP Foundation will notify the Chapter Committee of the closures so that the Chapter Committee can help find new leadership to re-open the chapter within 90 days. During this time, the chapter is closed.

Complaints If complaints from ex-leaders are escalated to staff, the Chapter Committee, or the Board, they should be referred to the Executive Director, who will review the situation and provide a final response to the Chapter Committee and the Board (if involved). By policy, the Chapter Committee and Board do not have a role in overturning staff action that properly follows OWASP policy on closing inactive chapters. This is a BAU function and, in the future, will be enforced by an AMS.

These reforms and enforcement of current policy are necessary to ensure that the chapter program, particularly the student chapter program, creates and nurtures active chapters that are delivering OWASP’s mission in academic and city settings.

Finalize Chapter Handbook

Working with the Chapter committee to finalize a completed Chapter Handbook by Q2 2024.

Chapter Swag

OWASP currently needs to be able to offer Chapter Swag. Still, we want to work with chapter leaders to find sponsors to provide swag for chapter meetings and for swag designs designed by the community to be available for chapters to use.

Data Sheet



Chapters should be self-sustaining. It is untenable for larger chapters to be funded by the Foundation. We will work with chapters to develop fundraising strategies and provide resources to help them be successful.