Approving memberships is useful for when your organisation requires potential members to be approved before they're able to become a member of your organisation but you don't want to process memberships and payments manually.
With Tidy, you can assess applications and then 'release' the membership registration forms to the successful applicants. Putting you in control of who can register for your organisation and letting the member complete the registration and payment themselves.
What we won't cover
This article assumes you've set up your paid membership levels previously and have an understanding of how the 'visible to' feature works. Here we focus on the parts of the process: setting up restrictions for membership levels, enabling people to complete applications and the processing of those applications.
After setting things up, and by following this article, your membership application process will look like this:
- A potential member completes a membership application form via your public Application Form
- Applications are assessed and processed by the committee or processing team / person
- If approved, the applicant will gain access to the appropriate membership level where they can register as a member for the organisation, if denied – they'll be kept on record for future reference
- Setup groups to manage the status applications
- Restrict membership levels to 'groups' allowing approved applicants to access the membership levels
- Create an application form (public membership level) to collect applications
- Share your application form
- Review and manage your applications by moving contacts to the correct groups
1. Create groups
We'll first need to create the contact groups that you'll use to keep track of application process. We'll create three groups, one for each step of the process; Membership Applications - Pending, Membership Applications - Denied, and Membership Applications - Approved outlined in detail below:
Membership Applications - Pending
This is the group that applicants will be added to automatically when completing the application form. We'll use this group to process applications and keep an eye on new applications.
Membership Applications - Denied
People that are denied will be moved to this group. Keeping the 'Pending' group nice and organised – this will also act as a record for how many applications have been denied over time.
Membership Applications - Approved
Approved contacts are moved to this group. We'll set the membership levels to give this group access - allowing anyone in this group to now have access to the membership forms.
2. Restrict visibility of the membership levels to 'groups'
Now we have our groups set up, we'll set up the visibility of the membership levels so that only the contacts in the correct group will have access to our membership forms.
Head to the Access & Sharing section of your membership level settings, set 'visible to' to 'groups' and add the group(s) you want to allow access. By default, any new membership level that is created is set to 'Admin only' - which is hidden from the public. In our example, we'll restrict the membership level 'General - 12 Months' to the group we've setup: Member Applications - Approved. This means that contacts in the 'Member Applications - Approved' group will now be able to access this level via the public pages.
Tip: You can double check your visibility settings for the membership level via the Memberships > Membership Levels area, shown here:
Note: admins will still be able to manually assign this membership level to any contact they choose, if needed.
3. create application form (membership level)
We'll set up a Membership level to use an application form – collect any data you want in the application form, but in our example, we're just collecting the basics: First Name, Last Name and Email address.
Name, Description and Price
Set your application form name (membership level) and description. Set the price to free, rolling, 1 month (the period doesn't matter too much, as we're just using this to accept the application).
Advanced tip: use the membership length to prompt / keep track of how long the application has been pending.
Basics done. Now we'll set up the rest of the application form:
Welcome email / Expiry Email / Fields
Update your welcome email letting your potential member know that their application is pending. Skip the 'Expiry Email' as this will not be sent. Lastly, Fields: these are your registration form - you'll use this to assess the application, so add anything that's important to your application process.
Note: you can add new custom fields to the application form for anything you need to assess the application. For example, the 'file' field can be used to upload documents or relevant attachments.
Auto-Add member to group
Select 'Member Applications - Pending' for 'Auto-Add Member to Group' – this will place contacts that complete the application in this group, ready for review. We'll use the 'Members Applications - Pending' group to review and move successful applications to the successful applicants group. If unsuccessful, we'll move them to the 'Member Applications - Denied' group.
Disable all notifications here, we don't want to confuse applicants with an expiry email for their member application membership level.
Notify on new membership
If you want to be notified, select which admins you want to alert when there's a new member application.
Access & Sharing
Set 'Visible to' to public and now your application form will be visible to anyone that visits your public pages.
Tip: Copy the public link from here if you're ready to share the form with people.
Hit save and now you'll have a membership application form visible on your public pages - ready to share.
4. Share application form
You're ready to share your form and start accepting applications. You can find the shareable link under the membership level settings > Access & Sharing section.
5. Review and manage your applications
You're now ready to process and manage applications. New applicants will be added to the 'Member Applications - Pending' group – ready for review. If they're approved, add them to the 'Member Applications - Approved' and they'll now have access to the membership levels. In our case, they'll now have access to the 'General - 12 Month' membership on the public pages.
Don't forget to remove the contact from the 'Member Applications - Pending' group once you've processed the application to avoid double handling.
Tip: make sure to move denied applicants to the 'Member Applications - Denied' for recording purposes.