Put a membership on hold

In these difficult time, your organization may find itself in a situation where it cannot offer the usual level of service or support to all your members. As a consequence, you may want to offer to some of your members the possibility to put their membership on hold for a period of time.

The new version of CiviCRM, that we are currently rolling to our customers, adds a new setting that helps dealing with exactly just that:

Temporarily put a membership on hold.

By default, membership statuses are calculated automatically by CiviCRM based on Start and End dates. A membership will initially be considered New, then will switch to Current before it reaches its End date. After that, if it has not been renewed on time, it will enter the Grace period and finally turn to Expired.

For a few years now, it has been possible to override a membership status in order to assign a status manually and bypass the automated status setting. The status you assign will remain in force, unless it is again modified. You could for instance force a membership to stay with the Current status even though its end date has passed (that's really not something you want to do, though), or you could set it to Canceled if that contact had decided to not be a member of your organization anymore, or any other status you might think of.

The catch about this is the status stays overriden until you manually remove the setting. But we have seen countless CiviCRM instances where the admin users have manually changed the status of some memberships using the override setting, and forget about it, only to realize later on that a membership that should be expired is still counted as current.

In the new version of CiviCRM, the status override checkbox has been changed to a drop-down list with 3 options:

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The first 2 options are the same as previously: No = leave the old box unchecked (default when creating a new membership), Override Permanently = check the old checkbox.

What's new is the option to override the status until a set date in the future, afterwhich the membership status will automatically go back to being calculated based on the membership end date using the status rule.

Let's see how that can be applied with the example of Jane.

Jane is a member of your organization since January 1st and her membership expires on December 31st. Because of her personal situation, she asking to put her membership on hold for the next 2 months afterwhich she would want it to resume normally and extend her membership to 2 more months. Here is how you would proceed in CiviCRM to handle that request:

  1. edit her membership record
  2. set the "status override?" setting to "Override until selected date"
  3. select the date 2 months from today
  4. change the status accordingly
  5. extend the membership end date by 2 months
  6. don't forget to save your changes

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With these changes Jane's membership will be On Hold (and not considered as a current member) for the next 2 months. On September 10th the override on her membership status will be lifted and she'll be a current member again until end of February, 2 months after the original end date of her membership, to make up for the 2-month hiatus.

"Override until selected date" is a great addition to the original "Override" setting, to manage specific membership arrangement with your members: this will help avoid having memberships with an overriden status that we have forgotten about.

And remember you can search for memberships which have the status overriden by using the "Membership Status Is Overriden?" check box in the Membership Search screen.

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