Think outside the box with CiviCRM: Innovative idea #14

How to setup yearly rolling memberships starting on the 1st of the month?

In CiviCRM there are 2 ways of setting up the period for membership:

  • rolling membership: the membership period starts on the day the member signs up
  • fixed membership: the membership period starts on the particular calendar date you specify

Lets assume your organization is offering a yearly membership

You could make it fixed, to start on January 1st and run for the length of the calendar year. This is typically the option for membership that have to do with a calendar or academic year. Running all your memberships against the same time frame makes convenient reporting: you can easily count the active members for a given membership period. On the operation side, it means that you get the bulk of your membership income around the end of your membership period and you would need to allocate resources for driving the membership renewal campaign (which can come to the detriment of other programs).

If instead, you choose a rolling membership plan, the membership period starts the day of the sign up and runs for the subsequent 365 days. This can be a more attractive option if you want a regular, year round, membership income, for instance if you are a trade organization offering specific services to their members. With rolling memberships you don't need to gear up for a short, intense, membership renewal campaign and instead you monitor your members renewal on a regular basis, which allows a more personal touch when you're trying to invite a specific member to commit for another year. The drawback is that reporting is a little more complex as you cannot really compare membership periods like you can with fixed memberships.

So how do you get the best of both worlds?

Here is a little trick that lets you offer rolling membership to start on the first of the month and not on the day of the sign-up: you get the benefits of a rolling membership (year round income, no heavy membership renewal drive,...) and simpler reporting provided by a fixed membership period type.

You simply configure a fixed membership where the Membership Type Duration Unit is 12 months instead of 1 year. Then the membership will start on the 1st of the signup month, whether the contact signs up on the 1st or the 25th, and the membership will run for 12 months. It is fixed in such a way that all your members have their membership start on the 1st of a month and end on the last day of a month. You can then easily report and compare membership numbers month to month and track the evolution. And at the same time, the membership is still rolling over 12 months and you can keep a year-round operation as you would with a normal 1-year rolling membership plan setup.

What about the rollover date?

You can choose which day of the month is the cut-off day after which new members will get an additional month on their membership. Let's say you select the 15th as the rollover day. Someone signing up on days 1-14 of June 2020 will have a membership end date of May 31, 2021.
Members signing up on days 15-31 of June 2020 would "gain" 15 days since their 12-month membership period will end on June 30, 2021.


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