There are a number of initiatives that may help operators get started or grow their delegation. All of these initiatives are completely optional. All Solana clusters are permissionless and an operator can join at any time.
Solana Foundation Delegation Program
The Solana Foundation helps facilitate the growth of the consensus validator network by running a SOL delegation program. The program is open to new applicants. You can find out more information here
Tour De Sun 22
Delegation program participants who operate a performant testnet node, may also join Tour De Sun 22 (TdS22). The program gives locked SOL incentive payments to operators for running approved hardware on Testnet. For more information, see TdS22.
Solana Foundation Server Program
Separately from the delegation program, The Solana Foundation offers a server program that provides servers in various data-centers all over the world. If you would like to run a consensus validator or RPC node, you may use this program to rent bare metal servers in various data-centers. The servers meet or exceed the Solana validator hardware specs. No long-term lease commitments are required. To find out more, visit the Solana server program page.
The Solana ecosystem operates various stake pools. These stake pools delegate stake to validators using various delegation strategies. To learn more about stake pools and their delegation strategies, visit the Solana Foundation stake pools page.