Announcing SBN’s


Effective October 1, 2020, SBN is transitioning our membership dues to a sliding scale model, ensuring that all our members have equitable access to membership benefits, regardless of financial circumstance.


Dear Members:


I hope this finds you well, despite the circumstances. 


COVID-19 has impacted our local independent business community and has forced into the spotlight expansive and long-standing racial and economic disparities, making SBN’s work to build an economy rooted in equity, climate resilience, and localism increasingly critical. 


We thank you for your continued support and engagement with SBN, especially these last few months. What we hear from you continues to inform our programming and advocacy:

  • Workshops on navigating the Paycheck Protection Program
  • A Roundtable with the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection on the opportunities to position climate action as a tool for economic recovery 
  • Recommendations to our local, state, and federal representatives regarding economic stabilization and recovery, some of which have already seen traction. 

We remain committed to serving you with relevant content, meaningful community, and effective advocacy.


As we approach our 20th Anniversary, and in the wake of our current pandemics, both COVID-19 and systemic racism, one way that SBN can best live into our mission and values is to transition to a sliding-scale revenue-based membership dues structure. Doing so will ensure that all our current and future members, regardless of financial situation, will receive equitable access to all the benefits of SBN membership.


We pride ourselves on remaining our region’s only organization serving local independent triple bottom line businesses. In tandem with transitioning to a sliding scale dues model, we are clarifying membership benefits and improving user experience in your membership portal so you can best maximize your membership.


Over the next few months, we plan to provide you with information sessions (see below), an FAQ that will periodically update with questions that emerge from those sessions, and personal phone calls from our team to ensure that your membership information is up to date.


We look forward to continuing our important work – with you and for you – of building a new economy centered around local business, equity, and climate resilience. 


In partnership,

Anna Shipp

Executive Director

Sliding Scale Structure

To support more equitable access to SBN membership and benefits, we are shifting to a sliding scale revenue-based membership dues structure on October 1, 2020.

Our new membership dues will provide one year of membership based on your previous 12 months of revenue. Annual membership dues start at $300 each year for businesses with an annual revenue less than $300K and increase in $100 increments, capping at $1,600/year. Please see the chart to understand the sliding scale member dues.

For current members who have already paid past October for annual membership, SBN will prorate the amount due.

Businesses with less than $300K in annual revenue and unable to pay all or part of the $300 can reach out to to discuss options.



Member Benefits

Our membership benefits remain focused on providing businesses with relevant content, meaningful community, and effective advocacy. All businesses – regardless of their revenue – have access to all the benefits outlined.

Please click on the menu below to see our benefits in detail. 

Member Benefits Menu


SBN members are independently-owned businesses headquartered in the Greater Philadelphia region that practice – and measure success by – the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profitability.  To be eligible for SBN’s Business membership, businesses need to meet the following criteria:

  • Local
    • Headquartered in the Greater Philadelphia region.
    • More than 50% of the business’s owners live within 50 miles of the business headquarters. 
  • Independent
    • Private, worker, cooperative, or community ownership.
    • Decision-making authority is vested in the local owners and not subject to conditions dictated remotely (i.e. owners can make independent decisions on business practices, purchases, distribution, business name, and branding). 
  • Triple Bottom Line
    • Currently practicing and/or committed to improving business’ triple bottom line.

For mission-aligned businesses that don’t meet SBN’s criteria for local independent ownership, but want to be aligned with SBN, connect with our members, and engage in our work, we offer several affordable sponsorship opportunities.  Contact for more information.

Businesses and non-profits eligible for membership that want to invest more in SBN and gain greater visibility are also encouraged to consider sponsorship.

Additionally, nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia region that wish to join SBN’s network can do so as nonprofit members. Annual dues of $500 or $800 will be assessed based on annual revenues.

Because of the additional industry-specific programming, advocacy, and other benefits our GSI Partners receive, a yearly fee of $350 will be added for participating members.


Next Steps

We invite SBN members to attend one of three scheduled information sessions, where we will review the new structure, remind you of SBN’s member benefits, and field your questions. These sessions will take place on the following dates:

Please stand by between now and the end of September for a personal phone call from an SBN staff member, who will ensure all your membership data is up to date and provide any clarifying information that you may have.


Frequently Asked Questions

I’m a current SBN member. How will this new structure affect me?


As long as your dues are up to date, you will continue to have access to SBN’s member benefits.  If you choose not to participate in the new structure, we will do our best to prorate a refund for the remainder of your yearly term.

What if my dues decrease as a result of the new structure?


We encourage you to donate the difference to SBN, or sponsor a business that cannot pay for membership.  If neither of those options is amenable, we will provide a prorated refund.

How will SBN collect and monitor my revenue?


Upon changing our dues model to a sliding scale, we will speak to each business about their current revenue.  Moving forward, we reserve the right to ask for verification, but greatly prefer trusting the honor system.  We realize that revenue does not mean the same thing as profitability, but the sliding scale model is the most equitable structure.

Are there other fees associated with this new change?


Yes. Due to the cost of administration, we will be collecting a nominal $50 sign-up fee for new members, as well as for late renewals (those made 30+ days after renewal date).

To ensure SBN can continue to provide the additional industry-specific benefits received by members participating in our GSI Partners initiative, SBN will also be collecting supplementary dues of $350 annually from GSI Partners.

I’m a nonprofit member. Why are my dues different?


To ensure that we remain focused on serving the local independent business community, we engage nonprofits in a slightly different way.  Nonprofit members have access to SBN’s Community and Content, including a listing on our public online directory, access to our public programs, and discounted tickets to our annual signature events.

What if I can’t afford the new dues but want to stay a member?


SBN knows how important it is to be networked as a local business owner, especially now.  SBN remains committed to being as inclusive and affordable as possible, while ensuring we can meet the increasing needs of our membership.  Please let us know if you have a significant hardship.

Will SBN continue to change or update membership dues in the future?


SBN has not changed membership dues in 10+ years, yet the needs of our members has significantly increased.  This is a necessary step towards a more equitable and inclusive SBN, and our ability to continue to provide our members with relevant content, meaningful community, and effective advocacy.