How to set up memberships

Please note that memberships are only available to those on the Organization plan or above. Membership features are enabled at Settings > Defaults > Basics. Check the box next to "Enable memberships," then click "Save settings." If people or organizations in your database have membership information, you will not be able to disable the feature.

Membership is a way to organize supporters and provide additional benefits based on actions they’ve taken or money donated. When a supporter takes action on your website, membership can be granted. This allows you to create an automated system for creating new paid and unpaid members. Membership can also be defined within a profile or via batch update.

A membership type must be created before you can charge for membership, grant membership for taking action on your website, or add membership to a profile.


Create a new membership type

Before you grant membership to people or organizations, you will need to create membership types.

The following attributes of a membership type are defined in the Settings section of the control panel:

  • Name*
  • Description
  • Default renewal page
  • Expiring membership warning 
  • Expired membership warning 
  • Grace period 
  • Failed payment autoresponse

*Name is the only required attribute when creating a membership type.

Membership expiration is defined within action page settings or when adding a membership to a profile. 

1. Go to Settings > Defaults > Membership types. If you cannot see this area of your control panel, be sure your permission set allows you to manage memberships. 

2. Click on New type.

create a new membership

3. Enter a name for the membership (required). The name can be up to 50 characters long, including spaces. Some suggestions:

  • Singular is better than plural (dog lover vs. dog lovers).
  • There is no need to include the word member in the name (annual vs. annual member).

4. Enter a description of the membership. This can help other control panel users know when to use this membership. If you create a paid membership page, this description will also be displayed on your website.

5. Decide on a default renewal page to connect to the membership. Expiring and expired members will be directed to this page to renew their membership. The drop-down menu will allow you to choose from all pages on all sites within your nation. Since membership can only be created or renewed on an action page, select an action page. You will need to also edit the settings within the action page you choose.

If a default renewal page is not chosen, autoresponse emails will not be sent.

6. Decide when to warn members before expiration. This is the number of days before the expiration date that a member will receive an email letting her know her membership is about to expire. It will include a link to renew membership on the default renewal page. The expiring membership email is customizable once the membership is created. 

If you do not want to warn members, click on the X in both of the drop-down boxes. The warning can be set from 0-31 days, weeks, months, or years.

7. Allow grace period: The length of a membership is defined on action pages or when adding a membership to a  profile. After a membership expires, a person can access members-only portions of your website during the grace period. 

If you do not want a grace period, click on the X in both of the drop-down boxes. The grace period can be set from 0-31 days, weeks, months, or years.

8. Click the "Add membership" button to create the membership. 

Once you have created a membership, you'll be taken to the edit page for the new membership.

After creating a membership, you can update any of these options by going to Settings > Defaults > Membership types > Types and clicking on the name of a membership or the edit icon next to it. You'll be taken to the Settings area of that membership type.


Automate membership renewal

When a renewal page is defined, people will automatically receive an email when their membership is about to expire and again once it expires. This allows you to automate the membership renewal process. You can customize these emails and you can also choose not to send them.

Membership is designed to be added to a person's profile after she takes action on your website. You may find it easier to edit autoresponses after creating a page to connect to the membership. 

There are three autoresponses that can be enabled and are fully customizable. If a membership renewal page is not defined, none of these emails will be sent.

  • Expiration warning
    • Sent before membership expires, relative date defined in the Settings section of the membership type. 
  • Expired
    • Sent when the membership has expired, encourages member to renew.
  • Failed payment
    • Sent when your payment processor is unable to complete an installment payment or recurring donation associated with a paid membership. When a failed payment occurs, the membership expires and no other membership autoresponse emails are sent. 

1. Go to Settings > Defaults > Membership types > Memberships.

2. Click the edit button or the name of the membership you'd like to edit.

3.  You'll be taken to the Settings section of the membership type. Click on Autoresponses.

autoresponse email warning that membership is expiring

Click on Expiration warning to modify the email that will be sent to members on the date you defined in "Warn members before expiration" in the Settings area. By default it is set to seven days.

The expiration date of a membership is defined in the page-specific settings of the connected action page (e.g. Petition settings for a petition page).

When a membership expires, the member will receive an expired autoresponse.

If you uncheck the box next to "Automatically send this email," a member will not be notified when her membership status changes.

Please refer to the paid membership HOWTO for a detailed explanation of the failed payment autoresponse


A person or organization's memberships

How a person becomes a member:

  • Takes an action on your website if a membership is defined on that page (under page-specific settings > Basics).
  • Status is added to her profile (Edit > Membership).
  • Via a batch update.
  • Import membership.

Expiration date for membership is set:

Membership status can be:

  • Active: The person is a member in good standing and can view the members-only portion of a site.
  • Grace period: The membership is expired, but the person can still view the members-only portion of a site.
  • Canceled: The person canceled her membership. This status can be set on a profile, via batch action, or via import. This status will never be created automatically.
  • Expired: The membership expiration date is today or in the past. The person cannot view the members-only portion of a site.

A single person or organization can have:

  • Multiple memberships.
  • One membership of each type.

Notification of the following events will display in the activity stream of a profile:

  • The person became a member via a page or control panel user.
  • The person renewed her membership.
  • The person canceled her membership.
  • The person's membership entered a grace period. 
  • The person's membership expired.

Portions of your website can be restricted to members-only access.

  • Having any type of membership gives you access to these pages.
  • Members-only pages can be accessed during a grace period.

If you merge profiles that both contain membership information, the following will occur:

  • If both profiles have the same membership, the membership with the latest expiration date will be used.
  • If one profile has a membership and the other doesn't, the membership will be added.
  • If a profile has donations attached to a membership, all donations will be kept and associated with whichever membership still exists.

Grant membership for taking action on a website

Almost all action pages can grant membership. The expiration date set in action page settings is a date relative to the when the supporter takes the action.

A donation page can grant one type of membership. If your organization has multiple levels of paid membership, each level must be connected to a separate donation page. If you are comfortable editing page templates, you can create a page offering multiple paid memberships

When a person becomes a member by taking action on your website, you can customize the autoresponse email for that page to let her know she became a member. Under page-specific settings > Autoresponse, you can add copy to thank folks for becoming members. If you want to let a new members know the expiration date for her membership, use the following liquid:

Your membership will expire in {{ page.membership_expires_in }}.


Export memberships

Membership data can be exported by membership type. At this time, it is not possible to export a person and all of her memberships. If you would prefer a "membership details" export, please comment on the export feature suggestion.

You can export membership information by going to Settings > Defaults > Membership types > Memberships, clicking on a specific membership type, and selecting Download CSV:

Exporting a CSV of membership information

 


How to charge for membership

How to import memberships

How pages work

How to batch update


If you’re unclear on how this feature works, please ask a question. If you would like to see changes to this feature, please submit a suggestion.

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