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Home : General : Membership Management - Creating & Selling Memberships Online & Manually - Tracking Renewals, Sending Out YE 'Statements' & Renewal E-Mails, and More (Nonprofit Only)

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Article ID: KB315
Keyword Name: Membership, Association, Event
Created: December 16, 2019
Viewed: 15384

Membership Management - Creating & Selling Memberships Online & Manually - Tracking Renewals, Sending Out YE 'Statements' & Renewal E-Mails, and More (Nonprofit Only)

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Author: Joel Kristenson

Last Updated: 2019-12-16


This article walks through the steps to utilizing some of the big new changes that were released in 2016 for selling/tracking memberships using your Trail Blazer database.

It walks through the creation of a membership ‘event’ to track yearly membership dues, creating membership levels to sell, and how the process works both online and manually.

The last section shows how to run search queries by membership information i.e. whose membership expired, who your current members are, etc. Use the Ctrl+F hot key to jump to different sections of this article (example: “#1”, “#2” or “Related Resources”.


#1 – Creating a Membership ‘Event’ Record and Creating Memberships Levels to Sell

#2 – Running Search Queries in the Contacts (Donors) List for Current & Lapsed Members

#3 – Related Resources

#1 – Creating a Membership ‘Event’ Record and Creating Membership Levels to Sell

Navigate to the Events list under the Application Menu > Calendar/Tasks > Events.

Give the ‘event’ a name, check the box to ‘Enable Assignment of Contributions and Expenses’, set a date-range, and click [Save].

In my example I called my event “Become a Member - 2016” and set a date range of 1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016.  You may find it easier to just create one single membership event those goes on forever with no end date, both ways work.

NOTE: You’ll return to this screen later to finish ‘publishing’ the event to the web once all other setup steps are complete.

Navigate to Setup > Products > Membership and click the [New] button.

Enter all of the required information as well as any of the optional information that you want.  My example is below for an ‘Individual, 1 year membership, for $75.00’.

IMPORTANT: You *only need to check the box for ‘Provide Membership logon access’ if you’re working with a development firm that is connecting Trail Blazer’s API to your online membership login portal.

Repeat these steps until you’ve created all of your membership levels.  My examples are below.

Next navigate to the Website Customization tab where you can configure many other settings i.e. where to send your members to after they make a purchase, extra fields to collect, add attribute check-boxes, etc.  My example is below where I turned a few optional fields on, and entered a post-redirect URL to send members to after they complete their purchase.

Write a description for the event in the upper-right text box (ex: membership discounts, special offers, further instructions, etc.).  My example is below which utilizes a small amount of html and css to further style the way the description will display online. If you want to style your membership page further take a look at this article.

Next, navigate to Setup > Contact, enter your phone/email, and check the box to ‘Publish Contact Information’.  My example is below, *if the box to publish this info is greyed out you’ll need to close, and re-open the event record.

*If you want to display a map of your address, navigate to the Address tab, fill out your information, and check the box for ‘Publish Address Information’.

*Optionally add a logo/banner under the Logo / Banner tab.  In my example I uploaded the Trail Blazer logo, make sure the image is published to the web during upload.

*If you want to create a different email response than the automatically generated receipt, you can select the template that you’ve previously created.  The benefit of creating your own custom template is that you can thank people specifically for becoming a member, and there are also membership specific merge fields that can be utilized.  In my example I selected a pre-built template called ‘2016 – Membership Thank-You Receipt’ as shown below. You can find a similar one to use as a starting point by inserting one of our ‘Standard Trail Blazer Templates’ from within the email composer, *if you want to do this you’ll open the composer, and select File > Insert Standard Trail Blazer Template > Select the Membership one:

Img 1 – Select Standard Templates

Img 2 – Choose the Membership Template

Once you’re finished creating the membership ‘event’ click [Save] in the bottom-right, check the box in the upper-left to make the event public, and click [OK] when you get the pop-up warning.  Shown in two images below.

Img 1 of 2 – Save the Event Record, and Check the Box to Make it Public

Img 2 of 2 – Click [Yes] to Finish Publishing your Membership Event

Next you’ll want to preview what your membership event looks like, click [Save] one more time in the bottom-right, and then click the [View Page] button at the top.

Here’s an example of how mine looks online.

Yours could look quite different depending upon how you set it up i.e. one single membership event that runs forever, OR (like I did in this tutorial), a separate membership event for each year.

It’s good to run a test membership purchase before going live with this and linking it to your website.  Here’s an example of how the purchase works, and how the receipt & email acknowledgement look.

Img 1 of 4 – Top-Half of Checkout Screen for Purchasing a Single Membership (on a desktop monitor)

Img 2 of 4 – Bottom-Half of Checkout Screen for Purchasing a Single Membership (on a desktop monitor)

Img 3 of 4 – Receipt Details after making a Purchase (redirect page)

Img 4 of 4 – Auto-responder Thank-You E-Mail w/Receipt Details (this is if you decided to use a different email response than the default response, covered in the previous steps above)

As the data gets collected you can view the orders, order lines, etc. from within the membership ‘event’ record.  Example below.

#2 – Running Search Queries in the Contacts (Donors) List for Current & Lapsed Members

Navigate to the Contacts (Donors) list under the Application Menu.

Click on the Sales tab > Orders sub-tab > Plug it in > Select your ‘Membership Event’ > Click [Search]In my example it produced 2 members so for or my 2016 membership event.

You can also filter this further by entering a date rangeThis can be very useful if you have a ‘single’ running membership event instead of doing what I did and split each membership year into its own event.

If you want to search by a specific ‘Membership Type’ you can select that from the Membership sub-tab.  In my example I queried by individual (1 year) memberships which returned a single record.

You can filter it specifically by membership start dates, end dates under this same area.  My example is below where I looked for members who have expired prior to today's (3/11/2016) date which returned 4 results.

There really is a multitude of ways to look at this information as a report.  It ultimately boils down to personal preference and what works most efficiently for your organization.  Another common area to run these reports is in the Sales lists under the Application Menu:

When you run these reports it’s possible you will want to add or remove certain columns of data from the results, this will be handled via formatting.

#3 – Related Resources

Article: Save and Load a Lybunt Contribution Query as a Favorite

Article: How to Print Name Badges for Event Registrants – Using Avery 5392 Name Badge Paper

Article: How to Print or Re-Print Event Tickets and Event Order Receipts from your Database

Article: How to Style your Event Pages – 4 Example Mock Events – Sample CSS Code with Descriptions

Article: Purchase Orders

Article: Events 2014 – Part I

Article: Events 2014 – Part II

Article: Saved Searches – Favorites

Article: SQL Wildcards

Article: Creating and Saving Default Formats for Reporting with the Grid

Article: Save and Load a Search Query as a Favorite

Video: Thank you’s using mass email

Video: Orders Manual entry and payment

Video: Events – pay for an event online

Video: Scheduled Emails

Video: Setting People up to Receive Mass Email Drafts

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