Membership system setup
The membership system allows you to give recognition and benefits to patrons who donate to your organization. Benefits can include discount pricing on tickets as well as early access to ticket sales.
To access the Membership setup screen, click on Membership setup from the Setup menu.
Membership setup can include different membership types, and within each membership type can be different levels based on how much the patron donates. More on this below, under Membership Types.
Recurring donation amount
Once on the membership setup page on the top you'll note an entry field for the minimum amount for recurring donations.
This is the minimum that can be charged at each recurrence to the donor's credit card. $10 should be the absolute minimum, but you can make this higher if you wish.
This field isn't directly related to membership setup, but should be noted (and edited if needed) if you would like to accept recurring donations from patrons.
Membership types are the choices you have for how you want your memberships to work. There are three types available - they're reviewed below.
After you choose the way you want your memberships to work you'll setup a membership type and name it. After the membership type is setup you can then create membership levels that are linked to that type.
Examples of membership types are "Individual", "Business" "Corporate", "Capital", etc. Most organizations will have only one membership type.
Before you setup your membership type, read the summary below on the options available for how your membership type will work.
Membership type options
There are three options for how you want your membership type to function.
Annual: Membership can last up to one year but will expire on the date you set, no matter when the patron donates.
Rolling: the membership expires one year from when the patron donates.
Once: any length you choose - can be short - such as a month or so between the start and expire date, or many years, or no expire date at all.
These options are described below as well.
Setup a membership type
- Input the membership type name in the first column
- Input the active date - the date this membership type is available to start, and also tells the system how far back former donations should apply toward this membership as it initially begins.
- Input the expire date - this is important to include only if the membership will be set as an Annual expire type, meaning that all members of this type expire on the same date. Note that in the case of an Annual membership type, this date will automatically roll forward on that date to the next year* (see notes at the base of this article).
- Unavailable after - Note that this date is typically used only with a "once" expire type wherein the membership is not available for renewal and you don't want memberships of this type to start too close to the end of the available time, thereby short-changing patrons on their member benefits. It also can be used to end a membership type that you are no longer using. It will prevent the levels related to that membership type from displaying on the membership public page as well.
- Expire type - this field is used to designate an Annual, Rolling, or Once membership type. This choice is important for your membership program:
- Annual - this membership type is tied to your annual year and all memberships, regardless of when the donation started the membership will expire on the same date each year. An expiration date is required. (On that date the system will automatically roll this date forward one year from that date at 12:01am on the expiration date, so your annual membership will be renewable*.) This means you never need to go back to the setup and edit it to make it current with each new year.
- Rolling - this membership type needs no expire date. In this case the expiration date will be the anniversary date of the first donation that led to the membership. So all members of this type will expire on different dates each year. Their benefits extend 12 months from the date the membership began. After you've setup your rolling membership type you don't need to edit it to make it current for each new year, it remains current all on its own.
- Once - This is a more rare membership type. It can be used for a limited time membership connected to a specific fundraising project, or it can be used for multi-year memberships, or even memberships with no expiration.
- Automatic renewal days - this is the number of days prior to expiration of the patron's membership when a new donation will renew/extend the membership instead of increasing to the current year's membership amount. This is often set to 60 days. So a donation that comes in from a current member within that window of time the donation will renew the membership for another year at that amount. Donations coming in before that window of time will increase the current membership level instead. (Also note that the auto renewal days are used for the membership renewal batch to pull patrons whose membership is coming due to expire.) Automatic renewal days setting does not apply to a new membership. New memberships will always begin on the date the membership was triggered and will apply to the current membership year.
- Notes - for your internal reference
- Create a fund: navigate to Donation setup and create a fund that all donations that go towards the membership you've setup up will flow into. (If you see that the Default fund is in place from when your account was initially setup, you may want to just edit this fund.) Connect your fund to your newly created Membership type. Make a note in the Notes field that this fund is connected to memberships. Navigate back to Membership setup to setup the membership levels that are within your membership type.
Below is an example showing each of the membership type options - the names are for example purposes to indicate which option is being used in that type.
Membership levels are the different giving levels, also usually associated with different sets of benefits to the member. Each membership type (above) will have its own membership levels.
Setup a membership level
- Navigate to Choose the membership type that this level belongs to.
- Input the membership level name - such as "Gold", "Silver", "Director", "Angel", etc
- Input the description - this will appear to your patrons if you direct them to the Membership public page. It can be used to describe the benefits of donating at this membership level. This field will accept html code.
- Input the minimum donation amount. If the gold level is for donations of $100 - $249.99, then input 100.00 here.
- Qualify for Pre-season - check this box if you plan to allow members of this level to purchase tickets or subscriptions ahead of the general public for a new season.
- Repeat this process for each level within your membership type.
- Contact your client support representative by clicking Help and Submit a request if you've created membership benefits that give pricing discounts on tickets early access to tickets sales. Give your support person the details and they'll edit your pricing system to put these features in place.
Here's an example of membership levels that have been setup for the Annual and Rolling membership types shown above.
Testing your membership setup
Once you've completed your membership type and level setup the final piece is testing to be sure it's working the way you want it to.
1. Navigate to DatabasePeople and enter your own first and last name.
2. Click Lookup existing patron, if the system populates the page with your record, move to step 4.
3. If the system messages you "No customers found" click Save New patron.
4. Email address? It's important that your record have an email address so you can receive the confirmation emails after you complete your test purchases. This way you'll be able to see how the process works for your patrons when they get a membership. Enter your email address and click Update patron record.
5. In the left menu click Donations. Select the fund that's linked to the Membership type you want to test. Recall how much you need to donate in order to get the first membership level. Enter that amount into the Donate now box. Click Continue to payment.
6. To process the order as a test transaction that will disappear at midnight from your system find the Credit card entry field and type into it your Arts People username that you entered to login to your Arts People session. (This is often your first name.) Click to complete the purchase. You should see a notification at the top of the page indicating an email was sent to the patron (you) and a notice that a new membership was setup at the appropriate level.
7. Click Continue with same patron to return to your Database record.
8. If you have other levels to test you may use the instructions above, beginning with step 5, but instead of donating the full amount to test the next level, take into account the amount you've already donated and subtract it from the full amount for the level you want to test. For example, if my levels are $50 Bronze, $100 Silver, $150 Gold - I'll donate $50 initially to reach the Bronze level, then to test the next level of Silver I'll donate another $50, and finally when I test the Gold level I'll donate another $50.
9. Did something not work in your testing? Reach out to your support person by clicking Help and then Submit a request. Ask them to have a look at your membership setup and they'll work with you to get things straightened out.
Additional Notes & Best Practices
- Remember: After setting up membership types, you need to specify which funds (setup on the Donation setup screen) will point to the membership type and which won't. Every membership type must have at least one fund that points to it, or $ cannot be assigned to membership.
- Note that the system quantifies membership level by the amount of $ donated by the individual. Related household members will automatically be given the same automated benefits related to that membership that you have built into the system, such as automatic ticket discounts. So you do not want to have levels that are individual vs household. Memberships are always attached to the individual who makes the payment. Household members simply get their benefits also. With this in mind, things like "family" membership don't really apply. Levels are typically called things like Bronze $25, Silver $50, Gold $100, Platinum $500, or Actor, Director, Producer levels, etc.
- Red flags that could indicate incorrect usage of the system (talk to us if you have these):
- Having different levels at the same $ amount
- Having numerous membership types (most groups will have just one or maybe two)
- Having redundancy between type and level, or a one to one relationship
*Annual membership (notes from above)
When the Annual membership type expire date arrives, the system will automatically update that date to be one year in the future. When this happens the system will send an email notice to the business contact email listed on your account.
The text of that email is:
"This is an automated message sent to your Arts People business email address. It is a notification of an update. No action is required by you at this time."
You have a Membership setup in your system with an annual expiration date. That date has arrived and the system has automatically adjusted that date for another year forward. This is so that your membership will automatically continue forward year to year The affected membership type is: 'membership_type_name'
If you have any questions, you can view the documents in the Guide regarding membership setup, and/or use the help option in your Arts People system to submit a help desk ticket. We will be happy to assist.
The Arts People Team"
See the Donation setup article for additional related instructions.