How to Get A Free AIBD Membership Renewal (Every Year)

AIBD’s membership is an investment not just in yourself but in the industry as a whole.

Every year you get educational publications, discounts on design competitions, discounts on seminars and conferences, plus free weekly and/or daily email newsletters with industry news.

One of the most common reasons people join AIBD is to make connections with like-minded individuals.

Our Facebook page and LinkedIn group provide an efficient way for members to stay in touch, collaborate on ideas and share free resources.

Our design competitions are a great way for designers to showcase their services to potential new clients.

You know AIBD membership is worth the dues, but what if you could free up more of your budget to spend on marketing?

You can free up the budget with a free AIBD membership renewal.

Free Membership

There are two ways to get a free membership renewal:

The first way to get a free membership renewal is to recruit three new Professional Members within the AIBD fiscal year (July to June).

The second way to get a free membership renewal is to recruit one new Corporate Member within the AIBD fiscal year.

There is one way to get free first-year membership:

If you attend a chapter meeting near you (or online), all AIBD chapters can give one free first-year membership per monthly meeting.

That means each chapter can give away up to 12 free first-year memberships per year.

The best part is that many chapters hold these meetings online, which means anyone can attend.

If you’re a complimentary first-year member, recruit three professional members each year or one Corporate Member each year, and you’ll never have to pay for your AIBD membership. Ever.

What is the Compass Club?

The Compass Club is what we call our elite group of members who have recruited other members.

You only need one to get into the club.

The Compass Club was founded in 2001 by AIBD Fellow Mike Keesee, who was named Designer of the Year for having done so.

The founding sponsor is SoftPlan, makers of architectural design software, who has funded this program and various others during their 27 years of Corporate Membership.

A points system dictates what level of Compass Club you are.

You earn 2 points for recruiting a new Professional Member and 1 point for recruiting a new member at any other membership level.

Members enter the club upon their first recruit with a gift from AIBD, and then Compass Club lapel pins are awarded as follows:

  • 5 points – A bronze Compass Club pin.
  • 15 points – A silver Compass Club pin.
  • 25 points – A gold Compass Club pin.
  • 50 points – A diamond Compass Club pin.

You can view the current Compass Club leaderboard, updated every first Monday of the month, in our Monday Minute Newsletter.

You can also view the entire roster and rankings.

Aside from the prestige and awesome lapel pin, Compass Club members get an opportunity at a free year of membership through referrals (that’s what this post is about), invited to our yearly Compass Club event (more on that below), and now we are introducing…

The AIBD Member T-Shirt!

New inductees to the Compass Club will get an AIBD Member T-Shirt after their first recruit is signed on.

Veteran Compass Club members will get an AIBD Member T-Shirt after their next recruit is signed on.

We’ll contact you to get your size and where you want us to send it, and that’s it!

Getting a Free Membership

The “Bill Ding Membership” recruitment award recognizes Professional level members who recruit three new Professional level members or one new Corporate level member during the association’s fiscal year (July through June).

The award is named after AIBD’s first president, William Dingledy, who (according to our research) cleverly named his business Bill Ding Design.

Bill Ding Membership award winners earn their next year’s membership dues waived; a $289 savings!

You can receive the Bill Ding Membership award every year for as long as you’re a member, and you continue to recruit three new members each year.

Retired members also don’t have dues.

Past Compass Club Events

To celebrate our Compass Club, we hold a yearly event during our Design & Build Summer Conference.

Here are some past Compass Club events:

2021 – Colorado Springs, CO – Ghost Town Museum

For this one, we had food catered in, a bartender in the saloon, and a casino set up with a prize for whoever ended the night with the most chips.

2020 – Virtual via Hopin – Dueling Pianos

In 2020 we held our conference virtually due to COVID.

But, we still had a Compass Club event!

We had Shake Rattle and Roll Pianos come in for dueling pianos while the rest of us requested songs, chatted, and had our alcohol in the comfort of our own homes.

2019 – Clearwater, FL – Sim Center Tampa Bay

With pizza, beer, and wine, we had full access to a virtual reality arcade.

Games included an airliner flight simulator, a formula one race car, a zombie survival game, and a virtual haunted house.

2018 – Philadelphia, PA – Penn Athletic Club Rowing Association

We enjoyed Philly Cheese Steaks on the deck of the skulling team’s boathouse on the Schuylkill River, overlooking the Philadelphia skyline.

2017 – Atlanta, GA – Whole World Improv Theater

The evening included a private dinner and a hilarious theatrical adventure by the award-winning ensemble at Atlanta’s flagship improv.

2016 – Denver, CO – Denver Athletic Club

It was a step back in time with a Retro-50’s style pizza and bowling party at the oldest bowling alley west of the Mississippi.

The Biggest Secret to Recruiting

The biggest secret to successful recruiting is to share your experiences and why you’re a part of the AIBD.

You’ve been a member, and you want to continue as a member. Why?

When recruiting new members, the secret sauce to convincing them is telling them exactly why you joined and why you’ve remained a member.

It is that simple.

Social Media

Social media is free, and like-minded people tend to follow each other.

If you are active on social media, there’s a good chance that fellow designers already follow you.

There are probably also other industry-related folks who could benefit from being a part of the AIBD.

We created an image below that you can right-click and save to share wherever you want.

We also wrote a sample social media message to include.

Below that is some HTML code you can copy and drop into your website (if you know how to do that).

The HTML code will automatically send people to the join page when they click on the image.

Social post idea: “Hey friends! I’ve been a part of the American Institute of Building Design for some time now, and I want to share how it’s helped me.”
HTML Code below, or right-click and save.
<a href=""><img src="" alt="Hey! Click here to join...the greatest association for home designers, ever." /></a>


You’ll have more success with a heart-felt email to someone you know.

It follows the same “secret sauce” as above.

Just shoot over an email telling them about the AIBD, why you’re a member, and why you want them to be a part of it, too.

Text Message

You’ll have the most success with a direct text message.

Again, it follows the same “secret sauce” as above.

But this one needs to operate just a little differently.

When it comes to texts, because they’re so personal, you need to start with a more personal touch and not launch right into the “sale.”

First, send them a text message explaining the AIBD and why you’re a member.

End the first text message with “is that something you’d be interested in getting involved with?”

If they say no, thank them and move on.

If they say yes, send them a link to the join page!

You can also apply this tactic to sending an email, and you may have better results.


They don’t stack up or roll over, so every year starts a new tally, and then you find three more members again and get another free renewal.

Our fiscal year starts July 1st, so that’s when your new opportunity to get a free year starts, too.

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