Provide a way to change membership level during renewal
During membership renewal a member may have more than one membership level available. Choosing among them is cumbersome. The member clicks one button to renew at his current level or clicks another button to choose a different level.
Also, changing the membership level doesn’t act like a renewal as regards calculation of the Renewal Due date. Desired Behaviour
Use one button for both functions. If multiple membership levels are available, show “Renew and choose membership level” on the “Renew until …” button. This would give the member a choice that looks like that on the membership application form.
The membership Renewal Due date would need to be calculated based on the level that was selected, since different levels may have different renewal periods.
An option may need to be added to the membership level renewal policy to prohibit member self-service level changes, which would prevent the Change Membership Level button from showing on forms. Why
We have in the past only offered an annual membership (Regular). We have now created a three-year discounted membership as another level (Regular – 2011 3-Year Deal). The process for a member to select the new level is too cumbersome and confusing. First, he has to know another level exists. Then he has to use the Change Membership Level button instead of the Renew Until button. If he chooses the Change Membership Level button, the Renewal Due date is calculated differently that for a renewal (it’s based on the current date at the time of the level change).
We have started analysis for this issue, and it seems that key problem is how Wild Apricot handles level changes close to renewal date. The system is currently designed to collect the full new level amount and set renewal date according to new level renewal policy. All prepaid amounts for old levels are disposed. Moreover, since no prorating occurs, the new level might be effective only for a few days.
As a first step, we suggest to redesign how level change is working and add prorating there:- Level would be changed immediately, as now - Remaining portion of old membership level payment will be applied to new level - For new levels with specific renewal date (e.g. annual levels with renewals Jan 1st) apply the pro-rating settings for new applications: - Allow member to pay only a pro-rated amount of the new level fee (e.g. six months before renewal date) - Allow member to renew for one extra period (e.g. when level changed in December)
See attached diagram for details
Do these changes seem reasonable to you? If not – what would you change and why?
If you have some spare time, we would appreciate a short interview with you about your level setup and change level policy – just reply to post or email onesterkin [at] personifycorp.com
Thanks, Dmitry, that's wonderful! Hopefully, something can be done before our organization's renewal period starts next November. Cheers — Bob
Bob, thanks understood. Currently, changing levels is not connected to the renewal at all, As this thread shows, this is a frequent request and something our product design team plans to work on this year.
I've talked to a couple of our members who've had this problem. They logged on to their account and went to their Profile where they were given the opportunity to chose two buttons, which are both on the same page:
1. Renew unti 01 Jan 19132. Change Membership Level
Since they wanted to change their membership level, they chose no. 2 and paid the fee, assuming that this would also renew them for the coming year. Someone else also changed from a regular membership to a institutional membership bundle and had the same problem.
Bob, can you comment re p.2 in your description - how exactly people renew at a different level right now, do they start a new membership application with a different email address or somehow else? (Since Wild Apricot renewal process does not have an option to change level)
This is a huge problem for us. Right now, I am dealing with numerous emails from members who are questioning why they are still receiving membership renewal notices when they believed they renewed they already did––just at a different membership level. Basically, here's the problem:
1. Member receives a renewal notice
2. Member renews at a different membership level, e.g. a student member graduates and becomes a regular member
3. Membership renewal at a new level is not recorded as a true renewal
4. Member continues to receive renewal notices and finally contacts our web administrator
Last year, we dealt with this same problem, but I assumed it was just a glitch, now it's returned.
We make a huge amount of effort to make all the experiences our members have on our website good ones. It seems like a simple fix, just enable the system to accept renewals at different levels.
This is a big problem for us and I hope it will be corrected soon.
Evgeny Zaritovskiy commented
I understand, thanks for comments.
Clint Fowlkes commented
We also have been forced to utilize multiple 'levels' because we have the option of people renewing for 2 or 3 years in exchange for a modest discount. So my first request would be a listing of the specifics that affect multi year renewals even if you don't make any changes. I've looked for something like that and can't find it.
My second request would be to acknowledge that you will have a number of users with very forgiving renewal policies. So then you would also allow for more latitude in renewal policies. Your system seems very complete if you expect to collect every dollar of dues within a predictible time window or else their membership privledges are revoked. Frankly, we're thankful that people join (contribute could be a better word), maybe skip a year and then renew. The manual efforts we have to employ to fit our volunteer organization within your parameters is not what we expect when we're paying $1,200 a year to use it.
Because we are a volunteer organization we were glad to pay your higher fees because your system does seem to offer quite a bit, We chose to offer multiple year memberships because you offered the option and we thought it would work as well as the conventional 'one year at a time' option. It should, but it doesn't . Please focus a little more of your creativity on the logic of multiple year renewals so that WA can do more of the work and be worth much more than what you charge.
We also have this problem with the WA software logic. When it is time for our members to renew, they are given the chance to renew for 1, 2 or 3 years. The current logic of treating level changes differently than renewals means that any level change requires administrator manual intervention every time.
We strongly endorse changing that logic to insure that level changes are treated with the same logic as renewals .
Richard Pouzar commented
I should have added this: there are two things that would improve the situation for us. One, if there was a setting that could keep the original renewal date for any active member no matter what membership level choices they make. Two, if the Member Profile Setting allowed a text block on the profile page in which instructions or hints could be placed.
Regarding the first item, I cannot imagine the situation in which we would want to change the original renewal date for an active member based on his choice of renewal options. If the member was downgrading his level, he/she had already paid for the full term of the higher level and we want merely to extend his membership with payment for the lower level by one year, two years, etc. beyond the original renewal date. If the member is upgrading to a higher level, we would certainly want to give them every advantage because they have become a more valuable member. So, again, we would want to extend their membership term by one year, two years, etc. beyond the original renewal date. (Lapsed members are a different issue that we are not that concerned about.)
Regarding the second item, it would be nice to have different instruction text for each membership level, but if that is difficult, we would settle for just one chance to give members a clue about renewal options.
Richard Pouzar commented
I agree that the current options in the member profile for renewal are not intuitive, at least not for our situation. We have implemented multi-year memberships and the only way we could find to do that, was to have a different membersip level for each membership term. So we have an Individual (one year), Individual (two year), Individual (three year), Supporting (one year), Supporting (two year), Supporting (three year), Sustaining (one year) . . . you get the idea. It makes it tedious when we have to specify which levels have access, or which levels apply to certain functions, or have to change renewal options, but it is workable. The true difficulty arises when a member renews. First, we have to educate the member that "Change Membership Level" needs to be clicked to go from a one year Individual membership to the two or three year version. Even then, if they do it correctly, they lose their original renewal date as it becomes effective when they renew instead of extending their original date. In some cases this penalizes them a month or more. Finally, if they renew at the one year rate (because they didn't realize that they had another option), and later instead want the multi-year option, we ask them to mail in a check and we change it manually or we ask them to make a donation to cover the difference and change it manually. In most of these cases, we have to rely on hardcopy files of the members' renewal dates so that we can correct the system's resetting of the renewal date. There has to be a better way, but we haven't found it.
Greig Holder commented
I agree that the better long-term solution would be multiple payment terms for the same level.
I was trying to accomplish that within the current WA capability and bumped up against the situation that caused my post. But my approach also causes an increase in the number of levels we need to administer.
Greig, thanks for posting.
I would appreciate comments from others - is it common for people to change levels during renewal?
Is this only due to payment terms tied to the level and a better long-term solution to allow membership levels with multiple payment terms for the same level?
Dave F commented
Change Membership Level is upper right. Renewal is lower right. As renewal happens more oftem the membership level change, I sugggest that the Renewal button be much more prominent than the Change Level Button.