Your jManage Membership can be managed from the "Membership" menu in your back office. The menu consists of the following items:
- Dashboard: this is your membership dashboard, which gives you a overview of recently added members, primary member count, and overall member (primary + related member) count
- New Membership: you can add a new membership to a contact record from this menu item. We strongly suggest adding memberships to INDIVIDUAL contact records only. Read more about this in the Membership Set-Up.
- Find Members: to search for specific membership types, statuses, etc you can use this search.
- Import Memberships: to import memberships from a spreadsheet into your back office, use this menu item. You MUST have the following columns in the spreadsheet to successfully import in memberships:
- Pre-configured membership types
- Individual internal contact ID
- Individual first name (for your reference)
- Individual last name (for your reference)
- Membership type
- Member since date
- Membership status
- Membership start date
Membership vs. Member Dues
When transitioning to a new software system, you may not think about how your office procedure and processes may change. For example, for many faith-based organization's membership is tracked on a family level. Next, many jManage clients have membership dues that are associated with their membership. These organizations have unspoken levels of membership (families, individuals, seniors, etc.) that are not tracked but known to the office staff. To add complexity to the situation, often a member is still considered a "member" at community events even IF the person/ family is in arrears, has not paid dues, moved away, etc.
The office does not have to think about these sometimes conflicting processes, as usually there is only a back office database to manage (no member access or online self-service) and everyone on staff knows the structure without blinking. However, what may work for your current system/back office will need to be re-evaluated as you begin using online self-service for member registration and renewal. Its always good to take time to evaluate current office procedures, ask how well they are working for you currently, evaluate your new software system and how it handles those same office procedures, and identify how things will need to change to make the most of your new system.
Let's go over how memberships will be tracked/managed in your new system. The fundamental aspects of membership in jManage are:
- Memberships are tracked on the individual level (related family members are covered by relationship)
- Memberships are lifetime, e.g. divorced from financials. Members will have two unique records for membership:
- Membership Record (non-financials)
- Financial Pledge for Member Dues (financial) =
- Membership record duration is lifetime (or until staff removes the record)
- Member Dues are annual (or in accordance with your billing cycle)
- Your system CANNOT both batch bill member dues and use a self-service member renewal page. If you allow members to renew their dues online using self-service, you cannot bill them in the back office as you may have done in the past. This will double-bill the self-service user.
- Self-Service Membership Renewal cannot be based on a percentage. They must be a dollar amount.
- Self-Service Membership Renewal allows for the member to choose their own payment plan and when their credit card is charged (date, frequency, duration). This is a fundamental aspect of self-service: the user has more power to choose.
- Adjustments to member dues cannot be handled via self-service. Adjustments will still need to be done by hand by your treasurer/ bookkeeper on an individual basis.
So, considering all of the moving parts and changes your organization may have to undertake within your membership structure to successfully transfer to using your new system, here are a few questions to get you started:
- What is our organization's policy on membership? Is a family/ individual still a member if in arrears?
- What does our membership structure look like? Do we have different types or levels of membership (families, individuals, seniors, ect)?
- Can a family or individual have more than one type of membership?
- How do we current charge member dues? Do we batch bill? Are member dues based on a percentage?
- What other items do we associate with member dues (building fund? tuition?) how will these integrate with our self-service member renewal page, if at all?
- How will we manage self service versus back office member dues billing?
- Who will be in charge of setting up our self-service member renewal page?
- Will we accept online credit card payments? If so, do we have a payment processor service? Has this been set-up in our jManage back office?
- Who will be in charge of monitoring our online member renewal pages, credit card payments, etc?
As you begin this transition, we recommend planning for at least 1 month of set-up for your online member renewal areas AFTER your back office financials are LIVE. This transition can seem like a mountain to climb. However, taking one step at a time you will have a great achievement once the process is complete and helping your community integrate online self-service with membership!