Membership Management Systems?
April 4, 2011 8:04 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as an open-source, web-based Membership Management System?

I have to put together a system for a rather large club with dues-paying members. Maybe two thousand members, divided up into twenty or thirty sub-groups.

The organization wants each member to be able to log in and update their information (phone number, address, etc.). The president of each sub-group should be able to view his/her members and take actions like sending out a mass group e-mail. And then at the top, the administrators will need to be able to see everyone, add and remove members, change presidents at the sub-group level, etc.

Before I charge in and reinvent the wheel, what existing solutions are there?
posted by jsturgill to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
CiviCRM aims to do this, though I find that it's kind of polarizing as far as people's opinions of it. You could also hack something together on top of Drupal or similar if you really wanted to. Either of those could at least theoretically be tackled without having to write any code.

Being a coder, though, and not really liking either, I'd probably opt to roll my own, likely on top of the Django admin and possibly on top of Pinax, which is a Django-based gets-you-80%-of-the-way-there social media website toolkit (but then, I'm a Python fan). Either that, or I'd say screw open source, and get something hosted. If the organization is a non-profit, Salesforce is cheap and people definitely use it for this kind of thing.
posted by andrewpendleton at 8:11 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Drupal's CiviCRM or Atrium, perhaps? You could do the same simply with Drupal and organic groups, and the modules for mailing, and so on.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:12 PM on April 4, 2011

Ahem. Organic Groups.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:14 PM on April 4, 2011

Not as an anti-answer: Not open source, but commercial.
Sitelok - $40 but capable standalone membership. Also interfaces with Paypal.
Requires a database.
posted by Drasher at 8:22 PM on April 4, 2011

Coworkers of mine have gnashed and wailed their way through CiviCRM deployments: it's... not terribly awesome in my experience. I'd probably reflexively build something like that in Drupal, but unless you're content to have it "functional but clunky" you'd need to learn a fair bit about customizing it to make the experience smooth for all of the users.

I'd also suggest not using Atrium, as it's definitely geared towards serving as a project management tool for multiple teams in a large organization. If you just need to track membership and group ownership, the 'Install Drupal, install organic groups, and tidy up the administrative screens' route would do you well.

Unless you're able to find a more focused tool that does just what you need. If someone has a good idea for that, it's probably worth running with.
posted by verb at 8:38 PM on April 4, 2011

From what it sounds like, you're looking for a mass-email system. MailChimp? Users aren't doing anything but managing their information, and administrators are only emailing them and managing different email lists, right? Open-source solutions are going to be aiming to do a lot more on the user level, and are not going to be optimized on the sending-two-thousand-emails level, which is much more about server infrastructure and dealing with bounces, etc., than it is about any kind of management.

(Open Atrium is quite nice and we made it and sold it and stuff so I recommend that if you want an intranet)
posted by tmcw at 8:53 PM on April 4, 2011

Have a look at This is not an open-source solution but matches the requirements you have listed in your post.
posted by jarekw at 2:25 AM on April 5, 2011

CiviCRM is awesome for some things, but delegation of tasks is not one of them. But feel free to give it a try. It's not that hard to setup if you don't mind the native look and feel.

The mass email functionality has also been a little tricky because some parts of it are very sensitive to malformed addresses and don't fail gracefully.
posted by advicepig at 8:02 AM on April 5, 2011

I looked at this problem for a while for my own group, and tried the Drupal path. Looked briefly at CiviCRM, and gave up and went with Wild Apricot, a paid service. There are many others like it.

Open source is nice in many ways, but strikes me as labor and resource intensive. Membership management and mailings are huge things to manage, especially together.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:10 PM on April 5, 2011

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