Allow Renewal Date to be set based on the current Renewal Date, i.e., 1 year/1 term later
The system is currently set up to allow for the renewal date to be set based on the Join Date or Specific Date, but, oddly, neither of those options allows the renewal of, say, a 1-year membership, to be 1 year from the existing renewal date unless a member happens to renew on the actual renewal date. Most membership/subscription systems don't work like this. If someone renews a membership that expires on, say, 16 October 2023, and does so, say, on 1 October 2023, responding to a renewal notice, the expectation is that the new renewal date will be 16 October 2024. However, with Wild Apricot, the new renewal date is set 1 year out from the date on which the renewal was done, so in this example the new renewal date will be 1 October 2024. But in this workflow, the member's membership is now short-changed by 15 days. We want members to renew as early as possible, but if they get a renewal notice 2 months before their renewal date and renew right away, they get a new renewal date that is 2 months earlier than it should be. This violates accounting rules, too. When you take someone's subscription fee or membership dues, you have to earn those funds over the life of the subscription or membership. If you foreshorten the term, you are not fulfilling your obligation, i.e., you still have differed revenue that you cannot earn.
Wild Apricot's answer to me on this issue was that the renewal policy can be set to not allow the member to renew until the renewal date, but that workaround is totally unacceptable. Organizations want members to be able to get notices way in advance of the end of their current membership terms, and you can't have a member receive an email two months or one month or one week ahead of the expiry date and then go to the website to pay only to receive an error message that says "Sorry, it's too early for you to renew. Come back to this website on the exact date that your current membership ends."
Lawrence Glynn commented
We have renewal period set to "every - 1 year" and on Join Date. We do not have recurring renewal payments set as that charging the joining fee again. We have not disabled self-service for members renewals. When our members renew, be that before or after the renewal date, their original renewal date is preserved. The exception being if the membership lapses, in which the renewal date becomes the date on which they paid. To achieve this latter feature the renewal date must be set to never when the membership lapses. And that may be the key.
CHNA Parliamentarian commented
Thank you for posting this Gregory! I thought I was going crazy when people were renewing and the renewal date was arbitrarily changing. This needs to be corrected as I agree about violating accounting rules and people should never be penalized for renewing early as it's the goal of most organizations.