6 min read

IAPP Membership

Weighing the benefits of IAPP membership as an individual or a business? Read this.


The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) is a not-for-profit that helps define, promote, and improve the privacy profession globally. The IAPP offers training, certification, and resources to privacy practitioners and provides a variety of exclusive benefits to IAPP members.

An IAPP membership helps offset the cost of certification maintenance, provide discounts on study materials and conference registrations, provide local networking opportunities, and more.

Are you an individual concerned about the benefits, costs, and whether IAPP membership is worth it? Are you a corporation, government, or not-for-profit organization interested in a Corporate Membership or Group Membership?

This post answers all of these questions.

Benefits of IAPP Membership

This section showcases some of the more notable benefits of IAPP membership.

Check out the IAPP website if you have questions about a topic not covered here.

Certification Maintenance

For IAPP certification holders, an IAPP membership provides great value.

To maintain your IAPP certification, you must pay a $250 Certification Maintenance Fee (CMF) every two years or maintain an IAPP membership—an IAPP membership includes the CMF and grants all the additional benefits as well.

If you are a student, employed by the government, a not-for-profit, higher education, or retired, an IAPP membership easily beats paying the CMF. For professionals, the answer may be less clear. Check out whether an IAPP membership is worth it for more details.

Discounts on Study Materials and Training

IAPP membership also has reasonable benefits for certification candidates.

If you're not a certification holder worried about certification maintenance, you may be interested in discounts on study materials and training. The IAPP discounts nearly everything for IAPP members, which includes official textbooks, sample exam questions, supplemental case studies, and more.

In most cases, the IAPP provides a flat $10 discount for these types of resources.

However, this can lead to a range of savings depending on how many certifications you plan to pursue, which certifications they are and whether you need to purchase multiple books, etc. Based on some quick research, this results in a ~13-16% discount on official textbooks, a 28% discount on practice questions for the CIPM, CIPT, and CIPP/US, and an 18% discount on the full-length CIPP/E practice exam.

If you're a certification candidate, these discounts may be worthwhile!

Discounts on Conferences

Okay, Nathan—why separate conference discounts from study material discounts?

The first two benefits focused mostly on prospective or current IAPP certification holders. However, if you don't plan to pursue certifications, the conference discounts available with an IAPP membership are valuable in their own right.

Consider the Global Privacy Summit held annually in Washington, D.C. For simplicity, let's compare the costs of non-members and members while ignoring things like early bird pricing:

Table 1: Comparing conference costs of non-members and members.
Type of Pass Non-Member Rate Member Rate Member Discounts Member Savings
2-Day Pass $1,745 $1,595 8.6% $150
3-Day Pass $2,445 $2,245 8.2% $200
4-Day Pass $3,240 $2,840 12.3% $400

If you plan to purchase a 4-day pass to the Global Privacy Summit, you can save $105 by becoming an IAPP member (assuming a cost of $295 for professionals). If you're a student, work in government, or a not-for-profit, the discounts are larger.

If you intend to attend one or more IAPP conferences in a year these conference discounts can add up quickly and substantially.

IAPP KnowledgeNet Chapters

What about more qualitative benefits associated with IAPP membership?

The IAPP facilitates KnowledgeNet Chapters, which are local meet-ups with other privacy practitioners. These meetings are free to IAPP members, typically eligible for Continuing Privacy Education (CPE) credits, and are a great way to expand your professional network.

KnowledgeNet Chapters are held in-person or virtually (spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic) and occur in a variety of geographies. There are plenty of local chapters throughout the United States and across the globe in places like San Diego, New York, France, Luxembourg, and more.

Although the topics covered vary, a quick survey of upcoming meetings includes talks on privacy in public health, privacy training and awareness, regulatory roundups, guidance on artificial intelligence, advertising, and more.

KnowledgeNet Chapters provide excellent opportunities for all privacy practitioners to share knowledge and network with fellow professionals.

Research, Tools, and Web Conferences

The IAPP also grants access to a variety of research, tools, and web conferences.

While the majority of content provided on the IAPP website is provided free of charge, certain content is reserved for IAPP memberships. While there may be internal criteria for selecting which content is reserved for IAPP members, these criteria are not clear from an outside perspective.

For example, while non-members can review the executive summary of the IAPP-EY Annual Privacy Governance Report, only IAPP members can view the full report. Similarly, the IAPP Privacy Professionals Salary Survey is locked behind IAPP membership. However, there are plenty of research articles, white papers, tools, web conferences, playbooks, templates, checklists, and reports that are free to view.

Without understanding the criteria for why one resource may be restricted to IAPP members, it's difficult to estimate the perceived and actual value provided here. There appear to be more resources available for free, but the resources locked behind IAPP membership may provide more value to you.

Costs of IAPP Membership

The annual cost of an IAPP membership is $50, $100, $110, or $295.

Before you close this tab and reach for your wallet, please read the rest of this section—it could save you some serious money.

First, check whether you have access to a free IAPP membership through your employer. The IAPP allows corporations, as well as government and not-for-profit organizations, to purchase Corporate Memberships and Group Memberships. Among other benefits, these memberships grant your employer a set number of IAPP memberships to distribute to employees at no additional cost.

Are you an employer? Learn more about Corporate and Group Memberships.

Don't have access to a free IAPP membership through your employer? Check out the list below to find the right IAPP membership for you:

To qualify as a student, you must be enrolled full-time at an academic institution and submit evidence that includes your name, institution, enrollment dates, and your total classes and/or credit hours.

As a student, you may also have access to IAPP's Higher Education Program. This program supports students interested in privacy and provides access to self-paced online training, textbooks, sample questions, an exam voucher, and one year of student membership for $250.

Ask your faculty to reach out to the IAPP for guidance on how to participate!

Discounts for IAPP Membership

Currently, there are no IAPP membership discounts or discount codes available.

However, there are varying costs to IAPP membership depending on your employment status and whether you are a student. You may also have access to a free IAPP membership through your employer.

Read through the Costs of IAPP Membership to see if any of these situations apply.

Is IAPP Membership Worth It?

After reviewing the benefits and costs, is IAPP membership worth it? I'd say yes.

Even when considering only quantifiable benefits, an IAPP membership frequently pays for itself. If you are a prospective IAPP certification candidate, an IAPP membership can help offset costs associated with study materials and with the ongoing costs to maintain your future IAPP certifications.

Not interested in IAPP certifications but want to attend IAPP conferences? The discounts available to members can easily offset the cost of an IAPP membership and provide all the additional benefits mentioned above.

If certifications and conferences don't interest you, you need to evaluate the qualitative benefits of an IAPP membership—are these worth $50, $110, or $295?

Does attending KnowledgeNet Chapters provide enough value to you annually? What about having access to certain research, web conferences, and tools?

Ultimately, the decision is up to you—but I hope I've made it clearer!

Corporate Membership

If you represent a business, a Corporate Membership may be right for you.

While Corporate Membership is a great way to pay for your employees' IAPP memberships, it comes with a variety of other benefits as well!

These benefits include unlimited job postings on the IAPP Job Board, complementary conference or training passes, special rates for advertising and sponsorships, discounts for events and training, and more.

A summary of the different Corporate Membership levels, annual cost, and key benefits are shown in Table 2.

Table 2: Corporate Membership levels, costs, and benefits.
Membership Level Annual Cost Included Memberships Unlimited Job Postings Annual Conference or Training Passes
Bronze $3,000 15 Yes N/A
Silver $5,000 25 Yes 1
Gold $10,000 50 Yes 2
Platinum $20,000 100 Yes 3
Diamond $25,000 500 Yes 4

Group Membership

While similar to Corporate Membership, Group Membership is for government organizations and not-for-profits.

Group Membership also provides a set of professional memberships for your employees, and some (but not all) of the same benefits as Corporate Membership!

All levels of Group Membership receive discounts on group training. However, not all levels receive the ability to post jobs on the IAPP Job Board, and only one membership level receives a complimentary conference or training pass.

Unlike Corporate Membership, there are no discounts for advertising or sponsorship—which kinda makes sense. While the overall cost of the Group Membership levels is substantially less, you also get access to fewer IAPP memberships and slightly fewer benefits compared to Corporate Memberships.

A summary of the different Group Membership levels, annual cost, and key benefits are shown in Table 3.

Table 3: Group Membership levels, costs, and benefits.
Membership Level Annual Cost Included Memberships Unlimited Job Postings Annual Conference Pass
Level 1 $1,000 10 N/A N/A
Level 2 $2,000 20 N/A N/A
Level 3 $3,000 30 Yes N/A
Level 4 $5,000 50 Yes N/A
Level 5 $10,000 100 Yes 1

Wrapping Up

I sincerely hope this post was accessible, useful, and practical for you. If you have any feedback on this post, please let me know. Cheers.