Fellowship application FAQs

Everything you need to know about applying for Fellowship. If you cannot find the answer you're looking for please get in touch. If you are already an RSA Fellow please check FAQs for Fellows.

Elif Shafak at the RSA

Become an RSA Fellow: apply online

The RSA Fellowship is a unique global network of changemakers enabling people, places and the planet to flourish. We invite you to be part of this change.

The application process and criteria

Can I apply for Fellowship? 

The RSA is a values-based organisation. We are open, optimistic, courageous, enabling and rigorous. We welcome all those aligned with these values as outlined in our Fellowship Charter, who share our vision of a world that is resilient, rebalanced and regenerative, where everyone can fulfil their potential.

We have always been a home for those committed to positive social change regardless of background, qualifications, or level of perceived success.

To become a Fellow, you just need to:

  • Be over 18.
  • Support our vision and share our values.
  • Share our commitment to social change.

To join our community, we ask you to submit a short online application. You can begin your application on our website today.

Do I have to be invited to join?

People apply to become Fellows in several ways:

  • The Fellowship Development Team sometimes identifies people who have made contributions to social change and asks them to join the RSA.
  • Our Fellows and staff nominate people they know who share our vision and values.
  • Partner organisations also aligned to our values may put their members forward.

A number of people join us by starting an application themselves, via our website.

Everyone completes the same online form whether they have been nominated or not. All applications are treated in the same way, with the same criteria followed.

How long does the application process take?  

The application form should take no more than 15 minutes. Your completed application is then reviewed by our admissions panel we will be back in touch within 12 days to let you know about your election to the Fellowship. Once you have been elected, we will process your payment information and your Fellowship will be confirmed via email.

If you begin the application form but do not complete it all at once, we will touch base with you periodically to offer support with completion of the form. If it is not completed within six months, your application will be closed. If you would like an extension on this, please get in touch with us and we will happily work with you to review the timelines and offer our support where needed.

For a detailed explanation on the application process, please refer to (Information about applying).

How likely is it that I will be accepted?

It is very likely that you will be accepted to the Fellowship, you do not need to be a leader in your industry or a CEO of an NGO. Our ethos is inclusive, and we welcome all who are aligned with the RSA's vision and share in our values. Please ensure this is outlined in your application. All applications are reviewed on an individual basis.

Do I have to apply online?

If you have any issues with applying online, please get in touch. We would be delighted to support you with your application.

Who can act as my reference?

Please provide one referee who has known you for a minimum of two years and who can verify your commitment to achieving positive social change either through your work, professional practice, community activism or volunteering. Your reference does not need to be a Fellow of the RSA.

Please note we will only approach your referee should RSA or our Fellow-led nominations panel ask for further verification when reviewing your application.

Is there a way to complete the application without having to provide references?

You may also be able to skip the need for referees if we are independently able to corroborate your alignment with our values and commitment to social change. This is known as our “fast-track application.”

There are several ways for us to confirm this. We don’t usually accept LinkedIn profiles or CVs, so many people provide one of the following:

  • Third-party business of staff pages mentioning their name and relevant work
  • Online articles written about them
  • Academic publications

Whether you work at a social enterprise or volunteer for your local community, we would be delighted to welcome you via our fast-track route. If you’re unsure if this applies to you, we encourage you to contact us and we would be happy to help.

Once we have your information, we will amend your online form, and you will be able to complete it without the need for references.

Life Fellowship

I’m interested in Life Fellowship

Our Life Fellowship option lets you become a Fellow for life with a one-time subscription.The standard price is £3900, which is reduced to £2340 for those who have been Fellows for at least 10 consecutive years or aged 65 and over. If you would like to pursue Life Fellowship, please contact the Fellowship team.

References and fast-track applications

Do I need references to join?

When you independently start an application via our website, we collect information about referees to support your application. This is for us to carry out our due diligence and ensure all Fellows in our community share in our vision and values. If you have been nominated to become a Fellow, your nominator has already acted as your referee. 

We will only approach your referee should RSA or our Fellow-led nominations panel ask for further verification when reviewing your application.If we do reach out to your referee, they will be asked a couple of questions based on how they know you and whether they consider you to have a commitment to positive social change. This will be stored securely on our database as part of your application.

Colleagues in a group workshop

What is RSA Fellowship?

The RSA has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years. We invite you to be part of this change.

Cost of Fellowship and payment questions

The application takes less than 15 minutes to complete and is reviewed by our admissions panel. All Fellows make an annual charitable subscription of £198, which most Fellows with UK bank accounts choose to pay in monthly instalments of £16.50. There's also a one-off registration fee of £75 to help cover the set-up and on-boarding of your Fellowship. For those applying from outside the UK, you can pay in instalments via Credit/Debit Card by contacting the Fellowship team.

If you are unable to cover the full subscription cost, please get in touch and we can offer you financial support options.

Payment queries

When do you have to provide payment to become a Fellow?

You will be asked to provide payment details on your application form. However, payment is only processed after your application has been reviewed by our admissions panel.

I’ve completed my application, but haven’t been charged yet? 

We will securely store your payment details and only take payment once your application to join the RSA Fellowship has been approved by the admissions panel. 

I’d like to pay by direct debit

Direct Debit is the most cost-efficient way of making payment, allowing the RSA to maximise the impact of your subscription. There is also the opportunity to pay monthly or quarterly. If you would like to make the change, please contact the Fellowship Services Team by email or call 0207 451 6939 and we will set up a Direct Debit for you. If you are not yet a Fellow, you will be given the opportunity to setup a Direct Debit when you apply.

I cannot afford my Fellowship subscription

We understand that an annual payment may not be affordable for all. You can pay your subscription monthly (£16.50) or quarterly (£49.50) to help spread the cost of Fellowship through a Direct Debit from a UK bank account. Please contact the Fellowship Team if you are a current Fellow and would like to change the way you pay, or if you would like to discuss alternative payment options.

What are your bank details?

Our bank details are as follows: 

Messrs Coutts & Co. 44 Strand, London W1G 0QS 
Sort Code: 18-00-02 
Account Number: 05309476
BIC/Swift Code: COUTGB22
IBAN GB 24COUT18000205309476 

Please quote your RSA fellowship number in the transaction reference and email [email protected] to let us know that you’ve made your payment. 

Who do I address my cheque to?

Please address your cheque to RSA No. 1 Account. Please write your Fellowship number on the reverse of the cheque, and post it to: Freepost THE RSA

Please do not include any other address information (e.g. our street address) on the envelope as this may cause your cheque to be delayed. 

Gift Aid

What is Gift Aid?

Gift Aid is a government initiative that allows charities to reclaim tax from HMRC for donations made by UK taxpayers. This means that we can claim back from HMRC 25p of every £1 of your Fellowship subscription, at no extra cost to you.

Can I Gift Aid my Fellowship?

Gift Aid is a crucial way for our Fellows to increase the value of their charitable subscription and provide further support to the RSA. If you are eligible, you will be provided the option to Gift Aid your subscription when you apply.

Am I eligible for Gift Aid?

To be eligible, you must be a UK tax payer and pay an amount of UK income tax and/or capital gains tax at least equal to the tax that the RSA and any other charities and CASCs that you donate to reclaim on your subscriptions and donations in the tax year.

If you would like more information about Gift Aid and the RSA, please do get in touch at [email protected] and a member of our team will be in touch.


I’d like to make a donation to the RSA

Please see our donations page for a list of the ways in which you can donate to the RSA. Your support makes a real difference, helping people in communities across the world and enabling the RSA to deliver positive social change. 

What can I access once I join?

There are numerous resources available to you at the RSA. Before you are confirmed as a Fellow, you can still access our ideas platforms, including our innovative research, booking into events and engaging with our online content, podcast and YouTube channel.

Once you become a Fellow, you can unlock our full range of opportunities, begin connecting with people and gaining project support.

This will enable you to:

  • Connect with a diverse community of over 30,000 changemakers including through our online Fellows’ directory, Find a Fellow
  • Receive access to grant funding from the RSA to help turn your ideas into reality.
  • Use the FRSA post-nominals.

Shortly after becoming a Fellow, you will receive a series of welcome emails. These include information on how to access the RSA’s thought leadership, connect with our Fellowship community and receive support on your next social change project.

You will also receive a welcome pack within your first four weeks. Inside, you will find your membership card, welcome letter and the latest RSA Journal.That’s not all…. Look out for an invitation to attend our new Fellows welcome event.

Can I find out who else is a Fellow in my region?

Absolutely, once you become a Fellow, you can find out what events and projects are happening in your area, or use our Find a Fellow feature to find and connect with other local Fellows or those with similar interests. If you would like to meet with some Fellows in your area, please get in touch with our regional team.

RSA Certificates and Diplomas

The RSA no longer supplies certificates or diplomas due to demand for them being so low. Your Fellowship card and welcome letter serves as confirmation of your position within the RSA. 

Accessibility, RSA House and Covid-19

Can I use the House facilities straight away?

RSA House is open to all. As a Fellow, you will receive a membership card which can be used to sign into the House. Members of the public will need to report and manually sign it at reception.

Can I have a tour of the House?

Absolutely, simply send an email to our Fellowship Team and someone would be more than happy to give you a tour of RSA House and answer any questions you may have over a coffee in our coffeehouse.

I’m disabled and/or have access requirements

If you have any access requirements, please let the RSA know. RSA House is accessible via lifts has step-free access into the House as well. Our Durham Street Auditorium is fitted with an induction loop. If you have any additional questions, do contact either the Fellowship team or the House team.

Related links:

The Coffee House at RSA House

Get involved as an RSA Fellow

Email our Fellowship team

Haven't found what you're looking for? Our Fellowship team are on standby 9am-6pm, Monday-Friday to take your call on 0207 451 6939. Alternatively please email [email protected]

Apply online now

Start the application process by registering online via our online application portal