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New Chapter Requirements

How to start a CREW chapter in your market

Summary of Steps:

  1. Establish a core group with a minimum of three (3) individuals who have been approved as at-large members of CREW Network.

  2. Core group begins work on governing documents necessary for the legal processes of applying for non-profit status and becoming incorporated within the state/province.

  3. At-large members (who represent the core group) have access to the CREWbiz Resource Center, which has sample materials, templates and other resources. Members may use these resources with the understanding that they will be used for the sole purpose of creating a CREW chapter. CREW Network staff are also available as a resource to members.

  4. Core group completes all governing documents

  5. Organization submits application materials to CREW Network

  6. CREW Network's Board of Directors reviews chapter application. If approved, they will present a recommendation to the Council of Delegates to accept the organization as an affiliated chapter of CREW Network.

Core group

  • Quantity of individuals: 15-20 qualified and motivated people are recommended for your initial core group, three of whom must be approved as at-large members of CREW Network prior to moving on to the third step described above.

    • A minimum of 30 individuals employed full time in a CREW Network qualified field of commercial real estate (QFCRE) are required before a chapter's application will be considered. 

  • Industry diversity is key: CREW Network is made up of professionals from every aspect of commercial real estate. Establishing a diverse, multi-disciplinary core group at the onset will provide a larger pool of contacts (potential members, sponsors, chapter leaders) and give you a broader audience within the commercial real estate industry, as well as to the outside community.

    • From a start-up viewpoint, having a lawyer on your team who can begin the work on bylaws and articles of incorporation as well as a financial professional to draft and monitor a budget is helpful. 

  • Company support: It is important to have the support of the companies that employ your core group. Members' companies are the best "asks" for sponsoring start-up events or as an underwriting sponsor. 

Incorporation and non-profit process

  • Consult a local attorney with knowledge of state/provincial regulations. If the CRE lawyer(s) in your core group isn't proficient in this area, ask if there is a colleague in their firm who could help, in-kind.

  • In the U.S., organizations need to apply with the IRS for exemption from taxation as a 501(c)6 entity. In Canada and Mexico, organizations need to incorporate as a non-profit organization.

Governance documents

  • Statement of Purpose: The organization must demonstrate support for a written statement of purpose that is aligned with CREW Network's mission. 

  • Budget: The organization must have an established annual budget and be operating in accordance with such budget. The budget must include the following considerations:

    • Funding for a leader to attend each of CREW Network's council of delegates meetings, which take place three times a year (each chapter is requested to have two delegates, only one is required to be in attendance). 

    • Chapter's event pricing should be profitable or break-even (at minimum) 

    • Funding should be in place for standard operating needs: website fees, postage/email service, insurance, tax return filing, etc. 

    • Sponsorship should not be the foundation for any critical components of the chapter structure. 

  • Bylaws: The organization needs to officially adopt and be operating in accordance with written bylaws. These bylaws must include the following aspects: 

    • Defined categories of membership that align with CREW Network's standards 

      • Industry Requirement: at least 75% of the individual members of each chapter must be currently employed in a substantially full-time, professional position, the primary responsibilities of which are in one of the qualified fields of commercial real estate

      • Experience Requirement: a majority of the individual members of each chapter must be currently employed - and have at least five (5) years' experience - in a substantially full-time, professional position, the primary responsibilities of which are in one of the qualified fields of commercial real estate

      • A chapter cannot have local-only members.  All members of a chapter must be members of CREW Network. Membership dues must include CREW Network dues.

      • Full details of the recommended membership structure can be found in the CREW Network Membership Playbook, which is accessible to all members of CREW Network.

    • Defined membership policies: application process, quorum/voting rules, member termination/ expulsion/reinstatement policies, etc. 

    • Defined officer/governance structure

      • Definition of duties and terms for the offices of President, President-Elect, Treasurer and Delegate (2) are required, along with defined succession planning/nominating processes for all chapter officers.

        • Two delegates function as annual representatives/liaisons between their chapter and CREW Network; at least one is required to attend CREW Network meetings (both are encouraged to attend).

        • The persons selected to serve in the delegate role should be leaders within the chapter who are qualified to represent the chapter's initiatives, obstacles, successes, etc. to the CREW Network board and other chapter delegates.

Application Materials

  1. Completed chapter application (request application)

  2. Copy of the chapter's official bylaws 

  3. Copy of the chapter's operating budget 

  4. IRS determination letter stating 501(c)6 status (U.S.), Government recognition of non-profit status (Canada/Mexico)

  5. List of (min 30) members with full contact information and payment for annual network dues (individual members' dues will be returned if chapter is not approved) 

  6. List of board of directors, stating position and term for each 

  7. Certificate of good standing from the state of incorporation (U.S. only)

  8. Copy of the chapter's Articles of Incorporation 

  9. Signed Affiliation Agreement (request agreement)

  10. Non-refundable $1,500 USD check for application fee

Application Process

  1. Application materials submitted and reviewed with CREW Network staff input. 

  2. CREW Network board of directors will review. 

  3. CREW Network board of directors will provide a recommendation to the council of delegates for approval of affiliation. 

  4. Delegates will consider the board's recommendation and place its vote at a council meeting.  Chapter applications must be approved by a majority vote of the council.

    • Council Meetings occur three times per year in conjunction with CREW Network Leadership Summits

    • All materials must be received no less than 60 days prior to the first day of scheduled meeting. 

  5. If approved, CREW Network will countersign the Affiliation Agreement, making the affiliation official.

Organizations or developing organizations that are seeking affiliation with CREW Network must meet all requirements prior to consideration of the organization’s application. The above listing is not all-inclusive and there may be other items requested during the application review process. If you have questions regarding this process, please contact CREW Network.


Jenny Weissenbach
ContactJenny WeissenbachCREW Network Director, Chapter Services