Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #12

Stop Managing Contacts with Multiple Memberships Manually

CiviCRM was not specifically programed to handle multiple memberships for the same contact. For example, if a contact with multiple memberships renews online, CiviCRM will renew the original (oldest) membership record and will disregard any other memberships. As a result, organizations that allow multiple memberships have pushed the responsibility of membership renewal to their staff/volunteers, and this responsibility can become a very costly part of the membership management workflow.

There is a solution that can be implemented to automate this process: allowing your members to access their records via the CiviCRM contact dashboard provides them with the ability to select the specific membership they wish to renew.1 Through the dashboard, it becomes possible for all of your members to renew online, and as long as they complete the payment online (e.g. via credit card), the whole membership renewal process remains automated, thereby removing the burden from staff/volunteers to manually update membership records.

In addition to membership information, the CiviCRM contact dashboard allows your constituents to view the groups they are subscribed to, their contribution history, their event registrations and more.  The CiviCRM contact dashboard comes configured, but you can control the sections that should be included in the dashboard under Administer > Customize Data and Screens > Display Preferences. In order to make the CiviCRM contact dashboard available to your members:

  • In your CMS, the CiviCRM: access Contact Dashboard permission must be enabled for the relevant "Member" role
  • If you want to allow contacts to update related contacts, make sure that relationships have the appropriate permissions
  • Instruct your members to create user account to log into the website that hosts your instance of CiviCRM
  • Provide access to the dashboard either through the user profile or via a dedicated page

An added benefit of requiring members to log in is that you can easily identify them, give them access to members-only content, and track their browsing history to better understand how they engage with your organization. 

Want to know more about how CiviCRM can help your organization further? Contact your account manager at Cividesk and we'll be happy to help.


1. When a membership is purchased using the online membership signup page (self-service), that user's Contact Dashboard will contain a "renew" link pointing to that page. However this link will not appear for members whose initial membership was entered manually unless you configure a Default Online Membership Renewal Page