How to automatically track member renewal notices and payments?
March 2, 2009 2:57 PM   Subscribe

I manage an organization with a few hundred members, each of which pays an annual membership fee. Is there a way to automate renewal notices and payments?

The membership fees are staggered throughout the year, based on when the member joined the group. Currently, I'm managing things with a combination of manually tracking members on a spreadsheet, manually sending out email reminders and Google Checkout email invoices, and manually recording on the spreadsheet who's up to date on their annual fee and who's behind.

I'm looking for an automated web-based service or off-the-shelf program that can automatically send out email renewal notices based on a date and track the receipt of payment (Google checkout) so as to keep the list of paid and delinquent members up-to-date. Ideally I'm looking for as much of a hands-off solution as possible where all I have to do is monitor a report to see who hasn't renewed yet.

I could manage a small monthly subscription charge or a one-time software purchase, but a custom programming solution is probably not in the budget. Ideas?
posted by jcmilton to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I might be off of what you are asking specifically, but Paypal does offer recurring payments and subscriptions. Just as one option...
posted by Vaike at 3:12 PM on March 2, 2009

I wonder if AWeber could do this. It might even integrate with Google Checkout, though this quick search doesn't list it as one of the supported carts.
posted by PatoPata at 8:53 PM on March 2, 2009

Can you just ask your bank to set up/recommend a direct debit facility for you? The fees will be less than Paypal, and it will provide you with clear tracking for "bounces" (people who've closed their accounts, changed details, etc). If you're doing this once a month, it should give you some negotiating room with your bank on rates. Aside from buying the software, you'd need to set aside a computer as a server. (nothing fancy, any old crappy PC with NT/WinXP should do)

The one used by an organisation I used to work for would generate letters to notify and chase up any bouncers. Huge, huge savings on time and administrative hassle...
posted by Grrlscout at 4:46 AM on March 3, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas. Paypal does indeed manage recurring payments, but I think I'd still have to manually track in a database who has paid and who hasn't.

I looked through the AWeber site. I'm not sure how that would work since it looks like just an email marketing company. Am I missing something? They can manage subscriptions to a newsletter, but I don't see them tracking recurring payments and reporting out delinquencies or late payments, etc.

The direct debit facility is something I've never heard of before! Is that some kind of custom software solution or off-the-shelf? Links?
posted by jcmilton at 8:49 PM on March 3, 2009

Talk to your bank, jcmilton. They'll be able to direct you. Where are you? Most of the direct debit software/services I'm familiar with are based in the UK. Your own bank will be able to tell you what they recommend... or you can contact Direct Debit and put in a query for partners or recommended providers where you are. In the US, a direct debit is sometimes called an ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfer, if this helps you in your quest for info from your bank.

My experience with this is from working for a UK-based professional sports organisation. DDe software worked beautifully for us to collect different tiers of membership and fees on a consistent basis. Easy to use and very easy to customise.
posted by Grrlscout at 11:54 PM on March 3, 2009

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