Who Are We?

The World’s Largest Referral Organization BNI is the largest business networking organization in the world. We offer members the opportunity to share ideas, contacts and most importantly, business referrals. As a member of Chapter 53 you will become part of a real community of entrepreneurs and enjoy its benefits. As a vital member of a BNI Chapter you will bond with many other professionals seeking the same kind of “referral marketing” business as you. Since 1985 BNI has used a simple but elegant philosophy that exemplifies membership, “Givers Gain” (what goes around comes around). This elemental approach to prospecting for clients through relationship-building has seen BNI grow to well over 100,000 members in more than 40 countries around the world. BNI Manhattan currently has over 1000 members in more than 50 Chapters.

Why Our Chapter?

Successful businesses depend on referral marketing. Referral marketing is the best advertising. BNI provides a structured and supportive system of giving and receiving business. It does so by providing an environment in which you will develop personal relationships with dozens of other qualified business professionals. By establishing this “formal” relationship with other people, you will have the opportunity to substantially increase your business.

  • Increased exposure to many other people and businesses.
  • Substantially increased business through networked referrals and recognition by one’s peers.
  • Tools to network more effectively, including an orientation DVD giving the “Formula for Success” in BNI, a, badge, a vinyl card holder to carry members’ business cards, referral slips, marketing materials for your chapter and much, much more.
  • Participation in up to 52 networking meetings per year.
  • Quarterly newsletters with educational material on networking, public speaking, and business.
  • Participation in business tradeshows (where you’ll have an opportunity to market your chapter and your business).
  • Free periodic workshops on networking.
  • And much, much more!!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions we get about BNI, it’s purpose, membership, and how to find and join a chapter.


A: BNI is “Business Network International,” a business marketing program that allows one person from each profession to join a chapter. The sole purpose of the chapter is to increase business through a structured system of giving referrals.

Q: WHERE does BNI meet?

A: In many chapters throughout the New York area, and more that are developing all the time. To find a chapter, visit http://ManhattanBNI.com

Q: WHEN does BNI meet?

A: Every week, so that members maintain contact and exchange regular referrals. Take a look at the different days the chapters meet in our member directory.

Q: WHY visit and join BNI?

A: Because what goes around comes around! people that GIVE business referrals GET business referrals! Visit and see BNI in action!

Q: HOW do you benefit from BNI?

A: In a number of ways:

  • By allowing members the opportunity to present and promote their business to all members in a group exclusively without competing professionals. Each profession has only one representative per chapter.
  • By an increased awareness of your profession from other networking members who will use or recommend your services once they know and trust you.
  • By substantially increasing and expanding your business through referrals.
  • By exposing your service and knowledge to businesses and success oriented people throughout the community.
  • By gaining knowledge from information on other networking members’ professions.
  • By using a professionally designed forum to promote yourself and your business efficiently, effectively and economically.
  • By routinely meeting with other focused, motivated business professionals.
Q: Can anyone join a chapter?

A: We only take one person from each profession. So if you are a residential real estate professional and we already have one, we can refer you to another BNI chapter, or we may help you open another chapter.

Q: What occupations benefit the most from networking?

A: It is not the occupation, it is the individual. The occupation can be anything. All professions can prosper from BNI given you take the time to learn how to target market and teach your fellow members what you are looking for in referrals.

Q: How many members are in a typical BNI chapter?

A: A good mature BNI chapter typically has between 25 and 30 members. Some BNI chapters have as many as 80 members!

Q: Are there any other events besides the weekly chapter meetings?

A: Yes. Member Success Programs, monthly advanced training and from time-to-time there are regional workshops and other educational events. Some regions have golf outings and awards banquets as well. Contact the local Director for more information or check out the regional calendar in this site.

Q: Are members supposed to bring visitors?

A: You’re encouraged to bring visitors for those occupations that are open. After the visitor has been prescreened and joins, their profession is then closed. BNI is primarily an invitation-only organization and members look to invite visitors who are either interested in joining BNI and/or invite those interested in meet a dynamic networking group.

Q: If all of the current chapters have someone in my profession, what do I do?

A: Contact the local Director. You will then be given information on how to start your own chapter.

Q: Do ethical rules for certain professions prohibit participation in BNI?

A: BNI understands the importance of the ethical concerns governing certain professions and acknowledges that rules can differ by location. As such, BNI therefore requires its members to uphold the rules of its profession so as not to violate the professional’s ethical obligations. In the event that BNI’s general rules could potentially violate a professional’s ethical code, BNI’s rules are superseded by the dictates of the professional’s ethics’ code. Significantly, a primary objective of BNI is to educate its membership in ways to market and grow business. It is BNI’s intent to ensure that this is permitted.

Q: So, for example, as a real estate professional would my membership in BNI be in conflict with the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)?

A: No. We see nothing in the BNI model that conflicts with any requirements of RESPA. Being a member of a chapter provides you with structured business networking opportunities, but does not require you to obtain or make referrals as a condition of continued membership. Moreover, as a member you’re free to make or receive referrals from other chapter members or anyone outside of BNI – and this is not contingent upon receiving a reciprocal referral or anything of value from the other member. BNI does not receive or pay any commission or anything of value for any business connections or referrals that a member obtains. Doing so would be against BNI’s set of Core Values. There is no quid pro quo in the BNI model.

Q: If I specialize in a field within my profession, am I expected to be an expert in all aspects of my profession?

A: BNI understands that many professions are broad and that people often specialize within their profession. BNI does not expect, nor does it encourage, any professional to participate in an area in which the professional does not have expertise. On the contrary, BNI prohibits professionals from acting outside of the scope of their abilities.

Q: My profession does not let me directly solicit business. Is BNI still right for me?

A: BNI’s primary objective is to assist its members in ways to improve their business and to educate them concerning how they can effectively network. Business people get business when their expertise is known and others reach a comfort level with them. BNI provides a forum that allows members to meet other business peers who need to know effective and efficient business people.

Q: How do I join BNI?
  • Attend a chapter in your area as a visitor. You are allowed to attend a maximum of two meetings, after which time you will be asked to make a decision if you would like to apply to that chapter.
  • When you visit you will have a brief visitor orientation, and be given an application along with a visitor’s pack which contains additional information about BNI. Since BNI only accepts one person per professional specialty, if your position is already represented in the chapter, you can contact the Director to learn about openings in other chapters or to start your own BNI chapter.
  • When you apply, complete this application and return it to the Vice President of the chapter, along with your payment for annual or bi-annual dues, and the registration fee. The Membership Committee of the chapter will evaluate your application, verify your references and interview you and your sponsor. A decision will be given before the next meeting.


Q: How do I go about starting a new BNI chapter?

A: First visit a chapter to see if you like BNI. Next you will need to contact your local Director and let them know you want to start your own chapter. Finally, you will need to find 12 or more people in different professions who are willing to start the chapter with you. Your Director will then take you through the education process of forming your new powerful referral marketing team!

Q: How do you know new members are reputable?

A: The application asks for references and we have a membership committee that checks them. It’s referral marketing, so before they even come to a meeting they have to have spoken to someone or been invited by someone in the group. Everyone has to have a sponsor, or one is assigned to them, and they interview them.

Q: What if a member gets a referral and does poor work?

A: We have an ethics committee and it is imperative that anyone who gives a referral and finds out it was not satisfactorily handled must report that to the membership committee, who will investigate.

Q: What is the Investment to join?

A: The cost to join BNI is $445 annually for a 1-yr. membership, or $685 for 2-yr. membership,  with a one-time $150 administrative fee due in the first year. In addition, chapters collect a breakfast fee which covers the cost of the meeting space room rental and a light meal, such as a continental breakfast.

Have any more questions?