Members of the BDI are trade associations that are the top representative of an entire industrial or service sector for the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany. Membership is voluntary. The BDI currently represents 39 sector associations, including a working group consisting of 5 associations which share their membership. The Board decides on applications for membership. Direct membership of companies is not possible. However, they can apply for membership in the Förderkreis der Deutschen Industrie e. V. (Association for the Promotion of German Industry).