BNI Policies

Welcome to Business Network International or BNI. This information is important reading for all members of BNI.

BNI’s Philosophy

Success in BNI means you need to be a positive and supportive member of an organization based upon mutual support. This requires commitment to your fellow members as well as to the philosophy of Givers Gain®: by giving business to others, you will get business in return.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.

Code of Ethics for Member

  1. I will provide the quality of services at the prices that I have quoted.
  2. I will be truthful with the Members and their referrals.
  3. I will build goodwill and trust among Members and their referrals.
  4. I will take responsibility for following up on the referrals I receive.
  5. I will display a positive and supportive attitude.
  6. I will live up to the ethical standards of my profession. *
* Professional standards outlined in a formal code of conduct for any profession supersede the above standards. This means that a Member belonging to a profession that has a more stringent standard must adhere to that higher standard.

Member Policies

Membership Committees of each chapter have final authority related to BNI® General Policies. Membership Committees may put a BNI® Member on probation or open a Member’s classification for failure to comply with the Member Policies, the Code of Ethics, or BNI® Core Values.


  1. Only one person from each BNI classification can join a chapter of BNI. Each Member can only hold one BNI classification in a BNI Chapter.
  2. BNI Members must represent their primary professional focus.
  3. BNI Members must arrive on time and stay for the entire published meeting time.
  4. An individual can only be a Member of one BNI Chapter. A Member cannot be in any other program that holds Members accountable to pass referrals.
  5. A BNI Member is allowed three absences within a continuous six-month period. If a Member cannot attend, they may send a substitute; this will not count as an absence.
  6. Members are expected to be engaged in the BNI Chapter by bringing qualified referrals and/or visitors.
  7. Visitors may attend BNI Chapter meetings up to two times.
  8. Only BNI Members who have completed the Member Success Program, and BNI  Directors/Director Consultants can do Feature Presentations during the BNI Meetings.
  9. Leaves of absence are possible for certain extenuating circumstances (e.g., extended medical issue that prevents members from working) at the discretion of the Membership Committee.
  10. Members who wish to change their BNI classification must submit a new membership application for approval. No additional fees are due at this time.
  11. All BNI membership lists are for the purpose of giving referrals only. Before sending any marketing or business solicitation communications to BNI Members outside your chapter or  Director/Director Consultants, the recipient must give their consent. Consent must be freely given, specific, informed, and unambiguous.
Policies are subject to change. All proposed policy changes need to be reviewed first by the  International Board of Advisors.

Administrative Policies

  1. There is an initial application fee. Fees are paid annually. Contact the local Secretary/Treasurer for amounts. Fees may be paid with VISA, MASTERCARD, or INTERACT E-TRANSFER.
  2. BNI® may establish chapters in every city or community with people interested in developing a referral-based business. In addition, BNI® reserves the right to open more than one chapter per community or city where demand of BNI®’s services is requested.
  3. Membership fees are payable 30 days prior to the due date. Members not paid by the first day of the month they are due, are considered late and will be assessed a late charge. If fees are not paid within 15 days, the member will be officially dropped by BNI®.
  4. Fees are non-refundable. A certificate of credit will be given, upon request, to members in good standing for the unused portion of their time.
  5. Fees cannot be transferred from one person to another unless the fees are from the same company.
  6. BNI® has a strict policy on returned checks. A member has three working days in which to contact their Regional BNI® office and resolve the matter. Any returned checks not resolved within this period will be turned over to collections. All returned checks will be assessed a minimum $25 returned check fee. If a member passes a second NSF check, that member will be subject to immediate termination.
  7. BNI® is a marketing service provided by BNI Global, LLC. BNI® or any of its franchisees reserve the right to discontinue a member’s participation in this program.
  8. A member requesting a transfer from their current chapter to a new chapter will be required to submit a completed new member application to the Membership Committee of the new chapter. In addition, if the member has less than 12 months of paid membership credit, they must submit a renewal payment. Or, if the member has more than 12 months of paid membership credit, no additional investment is required. Upon acceptance into the new chapter, the credit from their previous chapter will be added to their membership in the new chapter as well as the renewal time, if applicable.

The BNI Agenda

  1. Open Networking – Members, Visitors, and Guests get their meals and continue to network.
  2. Welcome – Leadership Team Introductions
  3. Purpose and Overview of BNI
  4. Networking Education
  5. Announce BNI ‘Network Leaders’
  6. Pass Business Cards (for in-person meetings only)
  7. Welcome any new (or renewing) BNI members to the organization (induct new members)
  8. Members introduce themselves and give a weekly presentation
  9. Welcome visitors to BNI and have members introduce them (visitors give a weekly presentation)
  10. Vice President’s Report
  11. Membership Committee Report
  12. Secretary/Treasurer announces the rotation of speakers for the next six weeks and introduces that week’s speaker(s)
  13. Featured Speaker(s) gives a feature presentation, including questions and answers
  14. Member Contributions: Visitors say what has impressed them most about the meeting
  15. TYFCB (Thank You For Closed Business section)
  16. Referral Reality Check
  17. Secretary/Treasurer’s Report
  18. President thanks visitors & invites them to Visitor Orientation
  19. Announcements and reminders eg. workshops, chamber meetings in the area, committee meetings, etc.
  20. Door prize draw: for members bringing visitors or referrals
  21. Close meeting (and conduct new member orientation)

Program Guidelines

Program Guidelines are not policies but are recommended practices that allow Chapters to run more smoothly and effectively.

Visiting Chapters

  • Members visiting other chapters should announce that they are from another chapter.
  • Visiting members must not do or say anything that competes with a member of that chapter.
  • The chapter should be cautious in giving referrals to individuals they don’t know, including visiting members.
  • Visiting members should pay for their own meals.
  • Before visiting another chapter, the visiting member should call that chapter’s President first.
  • Visiting members follow the same visiting policies as non-members; no more than two visits allowed.

Absences and Tardiness

  • Absences and tardiness mean less business for members; therefore, the Membership Committee may give warnings to members who are consistently late or leave early. If the problem continues, the member’s classification may be subject to being re-opened.

Substitute Program

  • Potential substitutes include customers, friends, family, and/or employees.
  • The primary purpose of a substitute is to represent a BNI® Member. BNI® recommends minimal use of a substitute.
  • Members should alert the chapter of a substitute so that the Visitor Host can be there to greet him/her.

Business Representation

  • Members agree to only represent the business classification approved by the Membership Committee.
  • Members of BNI® who represent multi-level marketing organizations should represent their products and services in BNI® and not the business opportunity element of their business.

Non-Discrimination Disclosure Statement

BNI Global requires that Chapters review and select persons for membership in all job classifications based on qualifications without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age, or disability. BNI® will support no Chapter’s action when in violation of this non-discrimination statement.

International Board of Advisors

An INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF ADVISORS exists to address policy issues relating to BNI. The Board is made up of regular members (like yourself) from various Chapters throughout BNI. The Board’s purpose is to ensure that there is open communication between the membership and BNI Headquarters. If you have an issue or concern that you would like addressed by the Board, contact your BNI Regional Executive Director for more information.

What Do I Get for My Money?

The BNI regional, national and international offices are operated by professional staff, who work hard to insure that BNI members continue to maximize their return on investment in time, energy and money.

The BNI Fees Provide a Member With:

  1. Potential for a significant amount of new referred business.
  2. Current information about latest business trends in other industries which facilitates the operation and growth of one’s own business.
  3. Practical training and practice in public speaking and specific marketing/advertisement of oneself and one’s service/product.
  4. Special business contacts that can be converted into long-term strategic alliances in the regional and global business community.
  5. Special coaching about referral marketing from trained and talented BNI Directors. If any one of the above benefits were to be fully utilized by a member, the benefits would far outweigh the monetary investment for a BNI membership.
  6. International affiliation to other BNI chapters and members. These global contacts are becoming increasingly important to businesses and their respective clients.

The fees collected by BNI are distributed approximately as follows:

  1. Chapter Marketing: Resources, training, listing within the BNI global database and BNI Connect website, promotion found on the regional website – bnisalberta.ca, regional digest weekly information emailings.
  2. Chapter Support: BNI Business Builder resources and training, Team Leader manuals and training materials, membership application system, BNI Directors’ assistance, workshops, National Office support, production of SuccessNet (BNI’s Global newsletter).
  3. Administrative Expenses: office expenses such as telephone, copier, computer supplies, stationery, etc.
  4. Staff Expenses: compensation for office staff to handle telephone inquiries, respond to chapter requests, prepare press releases, etc.

Compare the Value

Most business people advertise and we would never suggest that you stop advertising. However, ‘Compare the Value’ between advertising and referral marketing. Being a member of BNI is like having 40 or more salespeople marketing your product or service 24/7.

Good Referrals

Offer the opportunity to do business with someone who is in the market to buy your product or service. Although not a guaranteed sale, a good referral is an open door to discuss your business with someone who is interested in your product or service. Each member knows many other people. This extended network is a rich database of potential business available to members of BNI.

Referral Marketing

BNI provides a structured environment for the development and exchange of quality referrals. By comparison, a one time 4” x 4” display ad costs over $500.00 based on a survey published in The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret.

In a BNI Chapter of 40 participants, members exchange over 120 referrals. Currently in BNI Alberta South, the average return on investment for a BNI membership is close to $50,000.00