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How to Set Up a Recurring or Lifetime Membership Program

Recurring (or sustaining) programs are for memberships with no expiration date as long as a set amount is paid on a recurring basis. Lifetime programs are for memberships with no expiration date as long as a set amount is paid in full within a specific timeframe.

When you set up a recurring or lifetime membership program, you complete a series of tabs with information about the program.

Note: Currently, recurring and lifetime membership programs can be dues-based only, not contributions-based.

This workflow walks through the setup of a recurring or lifetime membership program, along with the different tabs and fields you encounter along the way.

Before you begin, consider whether your membership program is going to include any benefits or add-ons, as you can set these up in advance. Benefits include items given to the member when joining at a certain level, such as a key chain or calendar. Add-ons are items members can purchase in addition to the membership, without any impact to the membership level. For example, at any level, you might allow members to purchase an additional member or "plus one" for a guest. For more information, see Membership Benefits and Membership Add-ons. Also consider whether you need to create a membership promotion, such as 20% off, to offer when someone purchases the membership. For more information, see Membership Promotions.
From Memberships, click Add. The Add a membership program screen appears. The first fields on the screen are for general information about the membership program, such as its name and description. For more information, see General Information about the Membership Program.
On the General tab, make key choices about the type of membership program you want to set up. This workflow is for a recurring or lifetime program. These programs must be dues-based only. For more information about dues, see Rules for Dues and Contributions.
On the Payment Options/Levels tab, enter the payment options for the membership program.

Recurring programs can have payment options of annually, semi-annually, quarterly, and monthly.

Lifetime programs must be paid in full.

Next, on the Payment Options/Levels tab, set up the levels for the program. You need to have at least one level, but you can have multiple levels. For example, you might have a standard level as well as a premium one. When you enter your levels, begin with the lowest or most basic level first.

For more information about levels, see Membership Program Levels and Terms.

For recurring and lifetime programs, the Prices tab appears. Each payment option and level has a price.

For a recurring program with two levels and payment options of annually and quarterly, you set annual and quarterly-based prices for each level. For example, you might qualify for a recurring membership if you make quarterly payments of $150 or slightly discounted annual payments of $500.

Lifetime programs must be paid in full.

On the Prices tab, you can also specify add-ons. Add-ons are items members can purchase in addition to the membership, without any impact to the membership level. For more information, see Membership Add-ons.
On the Benefits tab, select which format to use for your membership cards, along with the name format to use for members. In addition, you can indicate whether any portion of the membership amount is tax deductible. If the membership program has any benefits, you can assign those to levels on this tab. The benefits will be awarded when memberships are added. For more information, see Membership Benefits.
On the Dues tab, you set rules for any membership dues received, including tax deductibility and payment options. In addition, you can specify which promotions, if any, can be used when memberships are purchased. For information on these options, see Rules for Dues-Based Programs and Levels.
The final tab is the Review tab. On this tab, you can select each level on the left and view information about the level on the right. If you need to make any changes to the information, you can click back through the tabs. Otherwise, click Save.