Membership Program

State Policy Network’s mission is to catalyze thriving, durable freedom movements in every state, anchored with high-performing, independent think tanks.

SPN fuels the state freedom movement by working alongside think tanks as an “incubator”—supporting newly established think tanks—and an “accelerator”—promoting the growth and effectiveness of think tanks and the larger freedom movement. SPN serves as a “connector” of organizations working toward a common purpose and formed by groups with specific roles.

Through its membership program, SPN connects the best and brightest leaders to a network that spans from the California coast to the tip of Maine, from Alaska to Puerto Rico. SPN membership is voluntary and by invitation only. SPN neither directs nor manages its members’ programs or activities. SPN members pride themselves on their independence and relevancy to their respective states and/or areas of public policy research.

Our network is comprised of 65 affiliated state think tanks and over 80 national partner organizations. While each individual member organization operates independently and varies in composition, all are dedicated to advancing market-oriented public policy solutions.

SPN members value and regard the power of the states to secure lasting economic and personal freedoms. They embrace and fight to preserve the balance of power Ronald Reagan advocated for when he said, “The federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government.”

Membership Types

Affiliate (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)s

Affiliate Benefits:

  • SPN Annual Meeting: The Annual Meeting is the premier freedom movement event, connecting colleagues, practitioners, mentors, and innovators from across the country to discuss best practices, share expertise, and incubate and share new ideas. 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.
  • Staff Training and Support: Finding and retaining great talent is vital to building a sustainable freedom movement. Affiliates receive access to SPN’s specialists in the key disciplines of leadership, policy, development, communications, and operations. These specialists provide guidance and support to help identify and onboard new staff. SPN also provides affiliates with a range of training programs and resources – in person and online – to help staff grow and become more effective in their roles.
  • 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 Development: SPN’s leadership development programs include training, coaching, and peer networks in all core capabilities: boards, executive leadership, operations, development, communications, and policy.
  • Promotion: As a connector of the network, SPN regularly promotes affiliates’ work to donors, network partners, and other state think tanks. Affiliates receive dedicated space for a 140-word update in SPN News, SPN’s bi-monthly newsletter with a circulation of 6,000, and highlights on SPN’s website and social media.


Associates are think tanks or other organizations committed to developing and advancing market-oriented public policy. They are IRS approved 501(c)(3) organizations primarily focused on education and operate independently of all government funding. However, unlike affiliates, associate members are national in scope and are not necessarily oriented toward a single state.

Associate Benefits:

  • SPN Annual Meeting: Associates receive up to 50 percent off registration for up to five employees when they register before the early bird deadline. This benefit alone often recoups associates’ membership investment.
  • Policy Coalitions: The bi-monthly Bright Spots eNewsletter updates associates on current state initiatives, and SPN’s staff actively connect associates with affiliates in every state.
  • Listservs: Associates receive access to several SPN-hosted listservs, which connect peer networks in policy and communications.
  • Promotion in SPN Directory and SPN News: Associates are featured in SPN’s interactive online directory, and they receive dedicated space for a 100-word update in SPN News, our bi-monthly newsletter that reaches over 6,000 donors, think tank staff, and network partners.

How to Join or Renew


First-time affiliate applicants must submit to a rigorous review process to be accepted into the SPN network. A committee will review each completed application and respond to applicants within one month. Current affiliates must renew membership annually in order to continue receiving affiliate benefits. Renewals are typically due in April. SPN will notify affiliates prior to the start of the annual renewal period.


First-time associate applicants must submit to a rigorous review process to be accepted into the SPN network. A committee will review each completed application and respond to applicants within one month. If you would like to apply for 2018 associate membership, the deadline for the 2018 application is November 20. If you think that you are unable to meet this deadline, please email Sarah Keenan at

Contact Us

Teresa-on-white-360x446To join as an affiliate or learn more about this membership opportunity, contact Teresa Brown, Vice President of Leadership Development, at


Sarah-360x446To learn more about associate membership, contact Sarah C. Keenan, SPN’s Coalitions Manager, at