If you run your association’s or non-profit organization’s website on WordPress, you’ve probably shopped around for a membership management plugin only to discover that “membership management” means something different to many WordPress users. The way most of the WordPress world thinks about membership has mostly to do with restricting levels of access, so you can have members that are allowed to contribute comments, add or modify Posts or Pages, approve and publish content, etc. WordPress website developers can extend this functionality to create gated content areas, but that’s not what most non-profits have in mind when searching for plugin solutions for membership management.
Usually, non-profits are searching for a way to manage memberships to their organization or association. It may be a matter of collecting and processing annual dues or offering people different benefits based upon a tiered subscription model. Think about how museums or your local PBS station offer special packages and premiums when you become a member – maybe your non-profit organization wants to do something similar.
There are many discussion threads on the WordPress support forums on the topic of membership management plugins for non-profits; a couple of plugins, in particular S2 Member and Paid Membership Pro, seem to meet the needs of many non-profit webmasters. However, if you’re looking to step beyond just collecting names and processing payments – if you want to really leverage your membership data in support of your organization’s mission – then you’ll need a more sophisticated solution. That’s where CiviCRM comes in.
CiviCRM lets you manage even a complex membership program with different levels of membership for organizations and individuals. You can set up automated, scheduled reminders for people to renew online, send out segmented emails to specific types of members, or make your membership directory available on your website – these are only a few of the most basic things that CiviMember offers.
Where CiviCRM really shines is in its ability to provide a 360 degree view of how members engage with your organization. When integrated with other core components like CiviMail, CiviEvent and CiviCampaign, your membership data becomes twice as valuable.