There is a great post by Deirdre Reid on ReviewMyAMS which brings up a point that we all need to talk about. Auto-Renewal Membership Plans for Associations (disclaimer - auto-renewals and recurring payments are one of the differentiators that are built into Tendenci already so I'm biased).

While yes Deirdre predicts technology will continue to be both a hindrance and a help, we find the overall message in line with the goals of Tendenci.

We're geeks, so we have been calling it "recurring memberships" but I like her words better - "auto renewal membership plans" - and that applies to individual memberships as well as corporate/organizational membership types.

Let's face it, any barrier to an individual, even if they love your association, is still a barrier. I know I've had my credit cards stolen and it was one of those things that made me reevaluate not only every Association Board of Directors I had agreed to serve on but also every Association I was paying to be a member of!

This is not to say those associations didn't create value. It's just that for many of them I found that if I waited a week to update my billing information and during that week I didn't think about my membership at all, then they probably weren't providing the value I was hoping for. Or more likely I was too busy to INVEST my time in my membership in the association to make the dues worth it.

First - I recommend you read Deirdre's piece on ReviewMyAMS on recurring, or auto-renewal, of association memberships being a basic part of your AMS. Consider auto-renewal baseline imho.

Second - SLOW DOWN. Before you are eager to just charge a member and auto-renew, again as pointed out in the article, have you reviewed your membership engagement notifications? Are they being sent out 30 days prior to renewal stating "you will be billed" like Arnold Schwarzenegger? Or did you customize and ADD notices that go out to the member throughout their membership life cycle? It's called marketing automation, membership reminders, or newsletters. It's BUILT IN but you still have to be the one to USE IT! 

If you want to engage your membership and utilize auto-renewal, if it's auto-renewal of organizational memberships or the auto-renewal of individual memberships, the first question is "are we engaging the membership on their terms?"

While as a software company behind the Tendenci community - we can provide help with the tools for recurring payments. But it is ultimately up to the board to be sure they are providing value, and TELLING people how they are doing so.

After that, yes, your AMS must provide the option for recurring payments or whatever you want to call it. Auto-Renewal is baseline imho.

I do like Deirdre's terms - auto-renewal of association memberships. Feel free to go kick the tires of Tendenci's system at The entry-level price is.... zero (it's fully open source at ) and quite robust. 

By: Ed Schipul

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