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CiviCRM Documentation
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Membership Types Overview

MEMBERSHIP TYPES allows you to manage as many types of membership as you need.
Each membership type MUST be associated with a specific organization.

Create an Organizational Contact before you create a membership type.

Typically memberships have a specified duration, fee and benefits, for example:

  • Memberships in the organization, often with multiple benefits (newsletter, free passes, etc.)
  • Memberships to specific facilities and services (health & fitness, after-school, arts programs, etc.)
  • Memberships in various units or by member type (state- or county-level, by type or kind, etc.)
    Enabling CiviCRM Modules

    If you don't see the Administrative options for CiviMember in the control panel, you will need to enable the component. Go to Administer CiviCRM >> Global Settings >> Enable Components to do this. See Enable Components.

    Configure Contribution Type(s) for Membership Fees

    If you plan on collecting fees online for memberships, you may need to create special contribution type(s) to differentiate membership payments from other types of contributions. If so, see Contribution Types You must add contribution type(s) prior to setting up your membership types.

    Free Memberships

    Even if a membership type is free for contacts to sign up to, you will still need to create a Contribution Page for it. Go to "Manage Contribution Pages>>Configure Contribution Page"
    and deselect "Execute real-time monetary transactions" and
    "Contribution Amounts section enabled".

CiviMember Access Control

As with other CiviCRM functions, you use the Access Control menu to set access by role.
For users who need to find and view memberships - be sure to assign the access CiviMember permission.
For users who need to create and/or edit membership records - assign the edit memberships permission.
Note: users will NOT be able to view or edit memberships unless they have either view or edit permission for the associated contact record.

Allowing Anonymous Browsers to Use Membership Signup

If you want to allow anonymous (non-authenticated) visitors to use your online membership signup and renewal page, make sure that the anonymous users role has the make online contributions permission checked in Access Control.

If you still get an error, make sure that the anonymous users role has the profile listings and forms permission checked, as well.

Membership Types

To manage membership types, begin at the Administer CiviCRM page.

In the CiviMember section, choose Membership Types.

You will see a list of existing Membership Types. You can create NEW membership types or Edit, Disable or Delete EXISTING membership types using the links to the right of each membership type.


To create a NEW membership type, choose >>New Membership Type.

You will be taken to the New Membership Type page.

Create a Name (required) and Description for the membership type.

Membership Organization - Type in the pre-existing Organization that members are assigned to. This is a required field.

Every membership type requires an associated Organization contact

Create an Organizational Contact for each membership "organization" you want to offer membership in. This could include chapters (California Chapter, Western Division), subject groups (Eagles group, Bears group) or other labels you wish to use to differentiate memberships.

Minimum Fee - Type in the minimum fee that must be contributed for this membership

Contribution Type - Select the contribution type for the fee. You must setup Contribution Types before they will appear in this drop-down menu. This is a required field.

Duration - Set the duration that the membership lasts. Enter a number then select the period from the drop-down list.

Period Type - Select the period type for this membership, rolling or fixed.

Rolling memberships begin on the date of signup, Fixed memberships begin and end on specific dates. For example, a one-year membership could either start on the day of my contribution and last 365 days from that date, or it could begin on January 1 and end December 31, depending on your membership rules.

If membership duration is specified in years, you will be able to specify the exact month and day for memberships to start.  If membership duration is specified in months, memberships will start on the 1st of the current month and run for the number of specified months. For example, if you want to ensure that memberships last 12 full months by rounding up a partial month (for people who join in the middle of the month), you should select 13 month duration and fixed period.  A user who joins on November 15 2007 will have  a start date of November 1 2007 and an end date of November 30 2008.

Relationship Type - Select from the drop-down menu the relationship type to associate with this membership. For example if you want all members of a household to be considered members, select 'Household Member'. Note that the contact that is assigned the membership must be attached to a household, as must the other individuals. See Relationship Types.

Visibility - Choose if this membership is available for self-signup (Public) or if it must be assigned by an Administrator or User (Admin)

Renewal Reminder Message - Select the reminder message to be sent to members. Setup messages in Message Templates.

Membership Status and Reminder Server Requirement

Keeping Membership Status updated and using the Renewal Reminder Day function requires that on your server you setup a "cron job" to run a script which will update membership statuses and send out reminders.
A command-line php script - bin/UpdateMembershipRecord.php.txt - is provided which updates the status for each membership record based on your configured status rules. This script will also send Renewal Reminder emails to members for Membership Types that are configured to do so:

  • You will need to edit this file to set the FROM email address on line 115 and save it as UpdateMembershipRecord.php before running it.
  • Starting with release 1.8 you will need to include the username and password for an authorized Drupal or Joomla user to "authenticate" the script. This must be someone with Edit Contact permissions for contacts.
  • Starting with versions 2.0.7 and 2.1.2, you will also need to configure a site key to run this script (learn more...).
  • Then, you will need to setup a "cron job" on your server to execute this script on a daily basis (or periodically based on your organization's requirements).
  • Use wget to run the script:
    You can also run the script by entering the above URL in your browser location bar. This is a useful trick for debugging any problems you may have running the script. Note that on some servers wget -q -O /dev/null 'http://...' will work better as it will not write a file to the file system each time the wget is run. See wget --help for more info.

Renewal Reminder Day - enter the number of days prior to membership expiration that you want the reminder to be sent.

Weight - Enter the weight for this membership to determine it's position in a list of memberships

Enabled? - Enable/disable the membership type by checking or unchecking the box labeled Enabled? at the bottom of the page.


For EXISTING membership types you can Edit, Disable or Delete each membership type using the links to the right of each membership type.


Select Edit to view the Edit Membership Type page where you can change the values for each membership type option. Here you can also enable/disable the membership type by checking or unchecking the box labeled Enabled? at the bottom of the page.
Click Save to save the membership type.

If successful, you will see the message:

The membership type "General" has been saved.


Select Disable to temporarily disable an Existing membership type. You will see the warning:

"Are you sure you want to disable this membership type? "

Click OK to continue or Cancel to cancel disabling the membership type.

To re-enable the membership type, simply click on Enable.


Select Delete to delete the membership type. You will be given this warning:

WARNING: Deleting this option will result in the loss of all membership records of this type. This may mean the loss of a substantial amount of data, and the action cannot be undone. Do you want to continue?

Click Delete to continue or Cancel to cancel the deletion.

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