Procedure for Renewing Memberships and Certifications
Because we have implemented an automated membership and certification renewal process in our new website, there are some unusual steps that have to be taken for first-time renewals. Please read this closely to understand how the process works. It’s not difficult; it’s just not immediately obvious.
How the System Works
Renewals (called Upgrades by the automate membership subscription program) can only occur from a status below the Regular Member (or Affiliate Member) level. Once a membership expires, the member’s status will be downgraded automatically until he or she renews (Upgrades back to Regular Member). The member will get an automated email advising him or her that their membership has expired. Once he or she renews, the membership (and CWFI) will be reinstated. Renewal can be activated immediately by online (credit card) payment of dues. Offline payments (check or money order) are also accepted but renewal won’t occur until the check or money order is received.
Why the System Doesn’t Seem to Work that Way
When a current member registers at the new website, he or she is upgraded by me to either a Regular or Affiliate Member status. If that member is also a CWFI, he or she is also upgraded to CWFI at the same time. Once upgraded, the system assigns a one-year expiration date to that membership and CWFI. Current members, however, may not have a year remaining on their dues. (I cannot change the expiration date manually – it messes up the system and can cause it to crash.)
When a membership (and certification) expires, a member’s status is manually reverted to ‘Registered User’ by me. Since a Registered User status is a lower-privileged status, the member can then upgrade (renew) his or her membership by going to his or her Profile Page and selecting the Membership Details tab. There the member will be presented with upgrade (renewal) options. The member will select Regular Membership and click the “Upgrade” button at the bottom of the page.
Once the upgrade button is selected, member is taken to the payment option page and will select either the online payment or offline payment option. If Online Payment is selected, the member can complete the credit card payment panel and make the payment through a secure (SSL) transaction. His or her membership (and CWFI if selected) will then be immediately renewed.
If Offline Payment is chosen, the member will be presented with an invoice that must be printed out to activate the renewal process. That invoice can be provided to your agency for payment. If you’re writing a personal check or money order, the invoice should be sent along with the check or money order. If being provided to your agency, ask them to make sure a copy of it is sent with payment so that it is properly credited. Once received, the payment will be entered and the members status will be upgraded accordingly.
New members or members who have not yet registered but have received notice of renewal should simply register at the site and select Regular membership (and CWFI if appropriate) at the time he or she registers. The process of payment will then follow the same procedure as above.
Why is the Process Seem Different for Current Members?
The truth is that the process really isn’t different. The reason that existing members must be manually downgraded is because the membership year is fixed at one-year terms. I can manually downgrade or upgrade registrations but I cannot change the default term of one year or expiration dates. Once all members that have registered with time left on their current membership term renew for the first time, there will be no more need to manually downgrade a member’s status – the system will do that automatically. Renewal will always occur through the Profile Page and the Membership Details tab.
What about Affiliate Members?
Since an affiliate member’s dues are paid by their organization, an affiliated member needs to do nothing unless he or she is a CWFI. If an affiliated member is CWFI, then the affiliated member will be notified when the CWFI term expires. That member will have 30 days to submit payment to renew the CWFI. Once renewed, the Continuing Education report also needs to be submitted along with the payment or shortly thereafter to remain certified. The renewal process is the same process described above for a regular membership renewal; you renew CWFI through the Profile Page under the Membership Details tab.