Blackbaud CRM™ Membership Tools

By Amanda Cose, Principal Consultant


While traditional membership programs are often structured as dues-based programs where people pay for membership levels with dues and receive certain benefits in return, nonprofit organizations have long utilized membership programs to increase giving while offering special incentives to do so. The rewards of a membership program include increased or sustained giving, loyalty, and retention.



Blackbaud CRM™ makes this process easy for you by allowing you to create a contributions-based membership program. Follow along to learn how.


The first step to creating a membership program is defining your membership levels, benefits associated with each level (or if there are no benefits), and the length of membership (e.g., annual, semi-annual, lifetime). Once you’ve got those details, you’re ready to set up your program in Blackbaud CRM™.


Navigate to the Memberships functional area and click Add under Membership Programs. The Add a Membership Program screen appears, and you’ll see several tabs. Under the General tab, check the box for “contribution-based membership” and then set the type of membership (annual, recurring, lifetime) and term. Under Levels, specify the various levels of membership, or if there is only one level, add it here. You can add as few or as many levels as you like.


Once your levels are laid out, specify the benefits for each level under the Benefits tab. This is also where you would indicate if gifts toward membership are tax-deductible, partially tax-deductible, or not at all tax-deductible.


Since your membership program is contribution-based, the Contributions tab is important. This is where you should specify which contributions qualify for membership. For example, if only gifts to certain designations qualify for membership, you would indicate that here. If you prefer, you can also create a Selection and use that as the contribution basis for your program. This is also where you would define what happens when members give more than what is required for membership (considered as additional revenue or upgraded level), as well as what date to use for membership expiration (e.g., the gift date or the last day of the month in which the gift was made).


Once your membership program is set, you will then need to create a membership contribution process and set a job schedule, so new memberships and upgrades are processed regularly when qualifying revenue is committed in your environment. To do this, navigate back to the Memberships functional area, and select Membership Contribution Processes. Add the process, select the applicable membership program, and save. Go back into the process you just created, click on the job schedules tab, and set a schedule (recommended daily).


In a nutshell, that is how to create a contribution-based membership program in Blackbaud CRM™!