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Ask Nonprofit WP: How can I let my members make automatically renewing payments?

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Sometimes people write in with questions about their specific situation. I don’t guarantee a response with free advice, but almost every email gets a reply. In hopes of sharing knowledge more widely, I’m going to start posting the questions and answers to the blog. Let me know if this post benefits you too!

We are a national non-profit club (Australia). We charge $10/yr for membership. We would like automatic membership renewal on our WordPress site, but I can’t find anything that doesn’t cost the earth!

Membership sites are tough! Since memberships can look really different between organizations, the perfect plugin for one doesn’t meet the needs of another.

Something as simple as the Jetpack recurring payments block could be enough, but it all depends on what information you need to collect and if you have other systems that you need to integrate your data with.

If you need a full-blown membership database, then it’s likely that a 3rd-party CRM tool (Customer/Client/Constituent Relationship Management) is probably the way to go, even with slightly higher costs. There is a huge benefit to being able to get started immediately and have all your needs met by a single tool.

There are tons of CRMs with wildly different costs and features. Some integrate into WordPress like JetpackCRM or MemberPress. Others are totally separate from your website like Little Green Light, Bloomerang, Neon CRM, EveryAction, and the behemoth Salesforce.

You can also build your own custom setup by combining well-known WordPress plugins. You can use Gravity Forms to accept recurring payments or WooCommerce with its Subscriptions add-on. If your memberships are technically donations, you might even look at Give which is a donation platform built for WordPress that supports recurring donations.

To figure out what’s right for you, I would start by making a list of the features you need to administer your memberships. That list might look like this:

  • Recurring annual payment of $10
  • Export member list to CSV once a month
  • Sync membership list with Constant Contact
  • Allow members to edit and update their information
  • Publicly display membership profiles on website

Then, find various products that might be able to fulfill those needs. Since I love a good spreadsheet, I would make my own product comparison sheet comparing each of the products I’m considering, and use it to figure out which one has the best combination of cost and features for my own needs.

Good luck with your site!

If you’ve found a good solution for your membership site or accepting recurring member dues, share it in the comments to help your fellow nonprofits!

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