State Policy Network

Membership Program


State Policy Network’s mission is to catalyze thriving, durable freedom movements in every state, anchored with high-performing independent think tanks. We believe nonprofit think tanks play a vital role in society by providing reliable research and education to help government officials develop compassionate policies that help rather than hinder people, and by engaging citizens to give them a voice in that policy-making process. Through our membership program, SPN connects and empowers a 50-state Network of leaders and organizations working to develop state and local policy solutions that serve the needs of everyday Americans, not the interests of DC politicians.

SPN’s Network is comprised of 64 affiliated state think tanks and a number of partner organizations. While each individual member organization operates independently and varies in composition, all are dedicated to advancing market-oriented public policy solutions and pushing important policy decisions down to the states—where leaders understand the challenges their communities face and can advance innovative solutions that meet their unique needs.

SPN membership is voluntary and by invitation only, and SPN neither directs nor manages its members’ programs or activities. Our members pride themselves on their independence and relevancy to their respective states and their chosen areas of public policy research and education.

Coming Soon: Membership Program Updates

To keep up with the needs of a broader state-based network, SPN is updating our membership model. In 2022, we will complete the phase-out of the membership category for national partners known as the Associate Program.

Starting in 2023, we will have new, invitation-only membership opportunities designed to better serve and support the efforts and goals of state-based and state-focused organizations. We continue to value our partnerships with organizations that have been Associate Members, and SPN will be sharing more later this year about ways that former Associates can meaningfully engage with state-based leaders and think tanks moving forward.

2022 Affiliate Membership (State Think Tanks Only)


An affiliate operates as a full-service, state-based think tank addressing a variety of relevant policy issues. They operate independently within their state, and not as part of a state chapter, franchise, or other effort of a separate organization. Their primary goal is to advance state-based, market-oriented public policy ideas and solutions, by providing educational materials to the citizenry, public officials, and members of the media. They are committed to exemplary business and intellectual standards and practices; refuse to accept or solicit government funding; and are IRS approved 501(c)(3) organizations.

Affiliate Benefits

SPN Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting is the premier gathering of organizations and people dedicated to promoting state policy solutions that strengthen communities. The event brings together 1,200+ state leaders and professionals to explore state-based trends and solutions, sharpen their strategies and skills, and connect with peers and prospective partners. When affiliates register before the Early Bird deadline, they receive complimentary registrations (including meals) for as many staff and board members as they would like to bring to the event.

Strategy Development: Affiliates receive access to SPN programs and specialists in organizational strategy, fundraising, communications, operations, and policy. SPN provides a range of training programs and resources—in person and online—to help state think tanks grow their long-term impact by aligning these core capabilities and creating effective strategic plans.

Policy Advancement: SPN works alongside affiliates to identify opportunities for advancing state-based solutions, help craft innovative ideas to promote human flourishing, and connect state and national partners so that state solutions have national impact.

Leadership and Talent Development: Receive access to professional development, coaching, and peer networks in all core capabilities: boards, executive leadership, operations, development, communications, policy, and government affairs.

Promotion: As a connector of the network, SPN regularly promotes affiliates’ work to fellow state think tanks, partner organizations, donors, and media. Affiliates receive dedicated space for a 140-word update in SPN News, SPN’s quarterly magazine for Network donors. Affiliates can share success stories and news with Network organizations and donors by submitting weekly updates for SPN’s Friday news digest, the Week in Review, and other digital channels (all updates are subject to SPN approval.) Affiliates are also eligible for media opportunities that expand the reach of their policy solutions and stories to new, bipartisan audiences at the national and state levels.

Exclusive Newsletters: All leaders and staff at SPN affiliate members receive access to the SPN Connector, a biweekly newsletter sharing state policy trends, polling, partnership opportunities, and other timely resources to inspire state think tanks’ organizational strategies and policy work. SPN affiliates also get special access to a biweekly update on federal news and opportunities of interest to states.

Membership Inquiries

SPN is currently updating our membership opportunities and application process for 2023. If you have questions about SPN membership, please contact SPN’s Network Stewardship Manager, Sharon Milhollin, at