11/21/2018

11 Steps to Membership Management Success - Planning Your Database I - Managing Membership Levels and Bundles

Step 2 - Membership Levels and Bundles
Step 2 - Membership Levels and Bundles


In Step 1 of “11 Steps to Membership Management Success,” you read about planning and managing your membership database. In Step 2, you’ll learn about preparing your data for migration to Wild Apricot: managing memberships grouped around common elements.

One of the most important features of any membership management system is configuring membership levels (or tiers) and renewal policies. Membership management can be a complex topic, with several things to consider. We are going to try to make this topic easy to understand.

What are your membership levels and renewal policies?

A membership level is tied to one or more of the benefits your organization offers, and membership levels can be free or have a cost. Membership levels also have an optional renewal policy that specifies when members will have the option  to renew. As you assess your renewal policy, ask these questions:

  • How are your membership levels currently advertised, and how do you wish to implement these features into Wild Apricot?
  • What will your membership renewal policy be -- monthly, yearly, quarterly, or no renewal at all?
  • Do you want to take advantage of offering paid options or collect specific information for each member who signs up or renews at a particular level?

Do you offer membership bundles (such as a family or group plan)?

Membership levels can be configured as “individual” or “bundle” membership levels. The type of membership level will identify whether an individual can only renew their own membership or if they can renew on behalf of a group of others through membership bundle. All of this is easily configurable when setting up membership levels.

A membership bundle is a collection of members who are linked together under an “umbrella” membership managed by a bundle administrator — the lead member of the bundle.

Your organization can use membership bundles to offer group memberships to companies, teams or families. A membership bundle enables a group to renew together, rather than requiring each individual to sign up or renew on their own. Each bundle member receives the same access to benefits as the bundle administrator.

Read more on membership bundles from Wild Apricot

 

Priorities for a membership bundle

Members in a membership bundle share several important attributes:

  • a common renewal date
  • a common membership status
  • a common membership level

The entire bundle is charged a single membership fee, paid by the bundle administrator. That’s why identifying the bundle administrator is critical.

If you plan to use membership bundles, your database must be set up to support the “bundling” process during the database import. For example:

  • All members in a bundle must have a database field unifying them together into the bundle: in Wild Apricot, this is the User ID or email address of the bundle administrator.
  • You will need to decide whether you will bundle using the email address of a bundle administrator or whether you will use the unique number (aka User ID) of the bundle administrator.
  • To create the membership bundle, you will need to assign the  bundle key of the bundle administrator (email address or User ID) to each member of the membership bundle in the import file..

 

An simple import file will illustrate this process. In this file we are designating Sarah as the bundle administrator, using Sarah’s email address as the bundling mechanism.

 

Email Address

First Name

Last Name

Member Bundle ID or Email

sarah@gmail.com

Sarah

Bundle Admin

sarah@gmail.com

jim@aol.com

Jim

Bundle Member 1

sarah@gmail.com

liana@outlook.com

Liana

Bundle Member 2

sarah@gmail.com

 

Note that each membership level can be designated with a maximum or unlimited number of bundle members. This business rule will be enforced during the contact import process or when you are adding or removing bundle members.

 

Critical input to the planning process


In one popular CRM system, CiviCRM, the bundling mechanism is called a “household” and can be exported as part of the membership record. Other systems may have some other indicator of a membership bundle. In some systems you may have to create the membership bundle manually if there was never a bundling mechanism in place.

This can be a complex, iterative process — in fact, it’s usually one of the most complex and somewhat abstract parts of getting started with Wild Apricot.


We can help you navigate this key planning process — Contact NewPath Consulting for a free consultation.

In the next chapter in this series, you’ll look at some final considerations in preparing your data for migration to the Wild Apricot platform: Step 3 – Tips and Prep of Your Master Import File.

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