continue to invoice member for each renewal period
Many membership organizations (golf clubs, etc.) have policies to continue invoicing members even in the event that a member fails to pay the invoice for the preceding membership term. The primary reason that organizations do this is that their membership policies have been tailored to cover the underlying fixed costs faced by the organization. In such organizations the policy generally is to require that the member opt out of the membership by communicating that intention in some fashion to the organization, rather than simply by stopping payment.
Currently on Wild Apricot if a member does not pay an invoice the system will not issue a new invoice for the next period. For an organization operating on communicated opt out policy this adds workload to the administrators; in order to generate new invoices an administrator has to renew each membership and issue the new invoice manually.
This proposal is to allow memberships to continue to be renewed and have invoices generated, even if the invoices for previous terms have not been paid. Within each membership level this would be an option that could be toggled on or off and it would have a period count for how many periods of unpaid invoices would be generated before the membership is tagged as suspended or lapsed.
As a developing a web store is under consideration, some consideration should be given to adding this proposed functionality to renewable services purchased through the store as well.
Robert McClory commented
We have been asking for this for years with WA. Our organization (Rowing Club) operates on a seasonal basis with our members not "renewing" but paying monthly dues each month of the season and it's expected that they have to opt out in order not to pay for subsequent months. I too have had to constantly chase down accounts where everything looks relatively ok but in fact they are well behind because invoices stopped generating when they missed the first one. When I called support about this flaw in the system they told me that Wild Apricot assumed that if a member didn't pay, their membership would simply be suspended, etc. That's not how we or many other programs like ours works. Please help with this as I assume many more who aren't talking about it here are having this same issue.
Some organizations will want to charge interest on past due membership bills. This is commonly 1% to 1.5 % per month past due.
Having this interest automatically calculated into past due invoices would be a useful feature.
Due to a failure to understand how the current system works I am now having to go back and retroactively bill a number of our members who failed to pay their earlier bills and therefore were never invoiced for their later bills. They are not going to be happy and I am probably going to have to cut deals in some cases.
I should add that this is a pretty basic function of many membership organizations, including several golf clubs and athletic clubs that I have been a member of. Opting out is a process that is not defined by the member's decision simply not to pay.
I argue that this function is more essential than is suggested by the lack of attention that this proposal is receiving from other wishlist viewers. Self-selection may be at play here: organizations that have this function as a requirement may not be using Wild Apricot because this opt out function was not found during their evaluation of the software.
A couple more comments:
1) Some organizations might allow partial payments on outstanding invoices as part of a settlement plan.
2) Some organizations might want the actual "opt out" process to be automated within Wild Apricot. One way to do this would be to add a toggle to a membership level that would allow the organization to state its formal opt out language and allow the member to push a button indicating that the member is exercising his/her/their right to depart the organization. Depending on the organization's rules the result of pressing the opt out button could be "hard" or "soft". The "hard" result would be that the membership is immediately suspended by the member's own action. The "soft" result would handle situations where the organization's rules or contracts do not allow an immediate departure by the member, such as when confirmation by a membership committee or a secretary is required. In the "soft" opt out case the membership account would be flagged as requesting a suspension, an administrator would be notified of the suspension request, an administrator would be required to actually suspend the account, and, upon suspending the account, a notice of suspension could be sent to either the now former member or other administrators. This "soft" approach would allow an alternate means to communicate a requested opt out rather than using formal mail, email, or a telephone call.
Yes, that is the gist of the proposal. Plus some ways of limiting the number of periods this invoicing will continue.
Let me rephrase, for clarification. The system generates renewal invoice for next membership period automatically. If the member didn't pay it and missed the whole period, the system generates the new invoice again, for the new period. And continue to do this each period. So, when the member decides to pay his membership, he/she has to pay all renewal invoices, for all past periods. Right?
Katya, Astra crew
Membership features @ Wild Apricot