Beacon makes it easy to collect and manage memberships online; whether these are sponsorships, adoptions, or traditional style memberships. Beacon forms take care of most things, such as your email acknowledgements, notifications for the team and data entry, ensuring everything ends up in the right place.
By default, Beacon's membership forms conveniently handle your supporter's entire membership process; from choosing their membership through to their payment. But what should you do if you don't want people to pay for their membership at the point of sign up? Perhaps you have an in-depth approval process, or maybe your memberships cost more than most payment providers will process in a single transaction. Membership forms allow you to invoice new members, taking care of everything other than the payment processing itself.
Setting up an example membership form
Unlike other membership forms, there's no need to connect payment providers first!
Create your first membership form
Go to Forms in your sidebar
Click Create form. Give your new form a Name (this will NOT be public) and a Title (the form's public facing name). Set the type to Membership.
By default, your membership form will be set to collect payments. Go ahead and switch this toggle off so it displays grey.
Create a membership option for your form. Click ADD MEMBERSHIP OPTION in the bottom left of the Membership options section.
Add some information about this new membership. Choose the membership 'Type' you'd like to make available, and add a 'Title' for that membership; this is the wording you want potential members to see. This can be different to the internal facing Membership 'Type'.
Note: The Membership Type at the top of this image is pulled from the 'Type' field of your Membership records, so you'll need to update that field if you want to change the membership types available here.
Decide whether this membership option is a 'Lifetime' option (i.e they pay a fixed price and their membership does not expire), or an 'Annual' membership; the rate they pay will cover one year's membership, at which point they can renew, and whether the member can choose how much they pay.
Note: Invoices are not automatically recurring, so are considered a single year membership. You will not be able to offer regular annual or monthly memberships if invoicing new members.
Set the price and click 'Save'. Head to the bottom of your form and click 'Save changes'.
Click VIEW FORM in the top right corner of the EDIT FORM page. You'll see that a new form is created, and ready to go!
That's it! Try signing up as a new member through the form. After the form is submitted, you'll see that the following happens automatically:
A new Payment has been created
The member has been created (or updated) as a Person
A new Membership has been created for this Person
If the Gift Aid checkbox was checked, a Gift Aid declaration has been created and linked to the person
The member is acknowledged immediately via email
You've been notified via email that the membership has been set up
For additional information on setting up membership forms, such as paid memberships, renewing memberships and acknowledging members, take a look at our guide article here!
Created records in Beacon
The Payment record:
Like all other Payments created on form submission, invoiced membership Payments are created with a 'Type' (in this case 'Membership fee') and 'Payment method' ('Invoice').
Unlike all other Payment records however, we assume some slightly different things about the 'status' of that Payment:
⇒The 'Paid?' checkbox is unchecked
Since the payment has not been processed via a connected payment provider, Beacon doesn't have any information about whether the invoice has been paid. The Payment record is created at the point of form submission, so it is assumed that the invoice has not yet been sent, and therefore not paid.
⇒ Payment date > is blank
Likewise, since there is no information about whether the Payment has been paid, neither are any assumptions made about when it was, or might be paid.
The Membership record:
The membership record will be created in Beacon, linked to the new 'Member'. Since the membership Payment has not yet been paid, it is assumed too that the Membership isn't yet 'active'.
The Membership record is created with the 'Status' set as 'Pending' to reflect this. Once you have sent the member their invoice and the member has paid, you can manually update the 'Status' of the Membership to 'Active'.
The Membership record will be created with a 'Start date'. By default, the membership 'Start date' will always be the date the form was submitted and the Membership record was created in Beacon.
You can, however, still allow new members to choose a 'custom start date' for their membership via your form.
Frequently asked questions
My new member has multiple addresses, how do I know which one to use as their 'billing address' for invoicing?
If your new member (either an organisation or a person) has multiple addresses, the billing address will be stored as a secondary address for them. This is the one that you will use for billing and invoicing purposes.