Memberships are an ideal way to invite your supporters to join your community. You can use the Memberships functionality in Virtuous to create multiple types and levels of membership, define the expiration, and track payments of membership dues.
To get started, click on "Contacts" in the menu, then select "Memberships."
This will open the Manage Memberships page. Here, you can create new memberships and edit existing ones. These memberships represent the various types or levels of membership your organization will offer to supporters. Once they have been created, you'll be able to manually add them to a Contact record.
Click on the "Create a Membership" button to do exactly what the button says.
There are two main types of memberships that you can create: One-time and Recurring. Let's take a look at each separately.
Creating a One-time Membership
One-time memberships can be paid for in full with a single gift, or the dues may be paid in installments over the course of multiple gifts. The key is that the membership is set to expire after a set period of time with no renewal option. When creating a new membership, One-time is the default. You'll see it selected on the New Membership form.
Let's take a quick look at each of these fields:
- Name: Give your membership a unique name, like "Gold", "Benefactor". or "Superhero." Each Membership must have a unique name, so even if you intend to offer both a recurring and one-time version of the same membership package, you'll need to have at least a slightly different name for each.
- Description: Enter a brief description for this membership. This may be copy that you use to describe your membership and its benefits in donor communications.
- Renewal Type: Since we are creating a one-time membership here, we'll leave this set as "One-Time." See below for more on creating recurring memberships.
- Membership Target: Determine whether you want to create this membership at the Contact or Individual level.
- Cost: What is the amount a donor must pay in order to be a member at this level?
- Expires: How long does this membership last? Enter a number to set the number of months until expiration. For example, if this membership will last for a year, enter "12." To create a lifetime membership, or just a membership that does not automatically expire, leave this field blank.
Once you have entered all of the information for your new membership, click "Save Membership" to create the membership and return to the Manage Memberships page.
Creating a Recurring Membership
Recurring memberships are set to last for any length of time, as they will continue to renew for as long as a member continues to make payments. In order to track payments, recurring memberships must be linked to a recurring gift. When adding a recurring membership to a Contact record, you'll have the option of selecting an existing recurring gift on their record or creating a new one, in order to track the recurring payments.
Since one-time is the default for any new membership, you'll need to select "Recurring" for the "Renewal Type" when creating a new membership. This will display different fields in the "Settings" sections for your new membership (the Name and Description work just the same as they do for one-time memberships).
- Frequency: How often will this membership renew? You can select Monthly, Quarterly, or Annually. This frequency must match the recurring gift frequency when adding a recurring membership to a Contact record.
- Recurring Cost: What amount must a donor pay regularly to maintain their membership? For example, if the annual cost of a membership is $100, then select a frequency of "Annually" and a cost of $100.
- Grace Period: In the event that a member fails to make their renewal payment, how long until their membership expires? The system default is a 30-day grace period. So, if a renewal payment is due on the first of the month, and a payment isn't received until the 15th of the month, the default grace period ensures that your Contact's membership does not expire in the interim.
As with a one-time membership, once you have entered all of the information for your new membership, click "Save Membership" to create the membership and return to the Manage Memberships page.
Now that you've created your memberships, you can add them to Contacts or Individuals and apply payments to them.