Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #12

Stop managing contacts with multiple memberships manually

CiviCRM is notoriously ill-equipped when it comes to handling multiple memberships on one contact. And it becomes especially problematic when you want to let your constituents renew their memberships online: one of the great tools of CiviCRM is the ability to send an email to a member with a secure direct link to a membership page pre-filled with their personal information ready for them to complete their membership renewal in a couple of clicks. This is a powerfull tool that simplifies the membership renewal process and increases year on year conversion. This link however, will not work as expected when a contact has multiple memberships in their name.

When your members can have multiple memberships, CiviCRM will only renew the oldest membership on the contact, when using the checksum link. And you may end up thinking that your only option is to manage all the membership renewal manually, which can become a very costly part of your membership management workflow.

But that's forgetting about the CiviCRM user dashboard. This standard CiviCRM screen displays, among other things, a table of all the memberships attached to a contact, their status, and a link to renew each of the memberships individually (via a pre-filled membership renewal page). Through that interface it becomes possible for any of your member to renew selectively one of their multiple memberships without running the risk of mixing membership records up. And as long as they are paying online directly, the whole membership renewal process can be done automatically without mobilizing volunteer time to update membership records and enter payment information in the system.

It is also a fairly simple solution to setup since the CiviCRM dashboard comes preconfigured in CiviCRM, so you only need to let your members create a user account on the website hosting CiviCRM and give them access to their dashboard via a dedicated page.

It does add a couple of steps to the renewal process because your members will have to login and access their dashboard before they can click on the individual renewal links for each membership (as opposed to directly clicking on that link from the email they received). But their added benefits to the dashboard: in addition to membership information, it also displays the contact's, donation history, event and newsletter registrations, relationships to other contacts, and the contact will even be able to edit these related contacts' details if permissions allow it... And since they are logged into your website, you can identify them as members when they are browsing the pages and thus give them access to members-only content, and better understand how they engage with your organization.

Want to know more about how CiviCRM can help your organization further? Contact your account manager at Cividesk and we'll be happy to help.