#2: Creating Membership (Share) Types

Creating Membership Types is the first step to getting started with your Member Assembler account. Each Membership Type represents a different option that a subscriber can choose to buy into your membership program or CSA. A Membership Type can also be called a "share type." Some examples of titles of share types would be:

    Egg Share
    Weekly Vegetable Share
    Bread Share
    Spring Membership Share
    Summer CSA Share

Each Membership Type will list one or more options and their prices next to a button so your customers can select the share type they want. For example, if you had a Vegetable CSA Share, you might create a type labeled ‘"Summer Vegetable Share" and then create 3 options under that type: Full Share, 1/2 share, and 1/4 Share. Once created, your members might see share options on your website that look a bit like this:

CSA_signup_on_SFC_website_640sharp2.PNG
   Figure 1. Membership Types on a Small Farm Central Website

Get Started!

To create your first Membership Type, navigate to the Member Type Manager in the Control Panel:

   Member Assembler > Configure > Member Types

This is where you can see a list of all of the Membership Types that you create. Here is where you can edit, disable, or delete your Membership Types. In the Membership Type List, you will find “Create New Type” link in the row with the yellow background. See below:

Membership_Type_List_640sharp2.PNG    Figure 2. Create New Type Link in Member Type List

Clicking on this link will take you to a form which you can use to create your first Membership Type. It will look like this:

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   Figure 3. Create New Membership (Share) Type Screen

Now, simply fill out the different fields:

  1. Create a Title this will identify the share type for you and your members.

  2. Write a Description. This will allow you to explain the type of share this is and add important details about it. You can also think of this as a space to advertise each Membership Type. Choose wording that will convince your customer that this share is just what they are looking for. If your Membership Type has more than one option, as described above, this is not the place to list those choices. Adding options is the last step in creating a Membership Type and will be addressed later.

    Note: You will be using the Rich Text Editor toolbar to create your description. For more on using this tool, read the "Using a Rich Text Editor" article in the Getting Started with Website Tools section of the Knowledge Base.

  3. Assign a Weight. The weight setting determines the order that the Membership Types will be listed. Lower or "lighter" weights will float items to the top of the list, while larger or "heavier" weights will sink items to the bottom. Weights are used throughout the Small Farm Central Control Panel for putting lists in order. To learn more about them, read the Assigning Weight to Items article.

  4. Decide if your Membership Type is Optional. When your customers are signing up for your CSA, they must make at least one required Membership Type selection. An example of a required Membership Type would be "Summer Vegetable Share" in Figure 1.. In order to subscribe for your CSA, customers would have to choose one of the levels of this share type, otherwise the system will not allow them to move forward in the subscription process. You may have more than one required Membership Type.

    You can also create some Optional Membership Types so that your customers can add more share types to their subscription. An example of an Optional Membership Type would be an "Egg Share". Let's say your customers are not required to subscribe to the "Egg Share" in order to be a member of your CSA. This is an extra share that they can choose to subscribe to. To designate this share as a choice that is not required for membership, be sure to click the checkbox next to the word "Optional" when you are creating this Membership Type. Again, if this box is not checked, customers will be required to make a choice of one of the share options in order to complete their subscription.

  5. Decide if your Membership Type is Editable by Customer. This means that once your customer has gone through the subscription process, they will be allowed to sign into their account and add more Member Types to their membership. You can learn more about allowing your members to update their membership information by reading the Allowing Membership Updates article.

  6. Decide if you would like to add an Image to display with your Member Type. You can choose to have none, upload your own image, or use one of our provided illustrations. Our suggested dimension is 500 pixels wide by 350 pixels high.

  7. Under "Advanced Options" which you access by clicking on the text, you can set a Member Type to be a Buy-Down style where E-commerce credit is automatically assigned to members who purchase and pay for this Member Type. Then they would use that credit to make their own weekly purchase decisions rather than getting a box. More information about that is available here.

  8. Also in "Advanced Options," you can decide if you would like to allow for multiple Quantities of this Member Type. This means that you member can sign up to receive more that one share of the option that they choose. For example, if your Member Type is called "Summer Vegetable Share" and you offer the options of Full Share, Half Share, and Quarter Share, your member could sign up for the Full Shares and choose 3 of them. You will set the quantity number you allow in the next step. Remember that the quantity feature will simply multiply the price of your share. For example, if your Full Share is $600 and your member chooses 2 Full Shares, the cost will be $1200 at checkout.

  9. Click the Save Changes button and a new tab will appear where you will create Options. These are the choices listed under each Membership Type. You must have at least one option for your customer to choose for each Membership Type. For example, (See Figure 1.), since our "Flower Share" Membership Type only has one choice for customers, we only listed one option for them to select. However, our "Summer Vegetable Share" has three options to choose from. List your options, add prices, choose the quantity you allow (if applicable) and rearrange their order in this section. Don't forget to Save Changes when you are finished!

    The Options section is also where you can manage the choices of your Membership Type. If one of the options of a Member Type fills up or is otherwise unavailable, just click the disable button next to it. Disabling an option will keep the entered data in your system, but will hide this choice from new sign-ups. The "# in Option" column lets you view how many people have signed up to receive each option.

    It is important to note that for each Member Type you can only select one option. If you want your members to be able to select two options, you may need to split the Member Type into two. For example, if you have a Cheese Share and then offer the option of choosing either a Cheddar option or a Chevre option, your members will have to choose one or the other. If you want your members to be able to choose both, you can create two Member Types - a Cheddar Share and a Chevre share, each with a single option. The other way to do it would be to keep only the one Member Type but to create a combination option like "Cheddar and Chevre combination share", along with just the Cheddar Share and the Chevre Share. This works okay if you only have a couple options but if have more than three options, it is probably best to break each out into its own Member Type.

An important note about changing names and pricing We recommend that once you have set up a season and begun signing people up that you refrain from changing the names of your share types and options and/or changing the pricing of your options. Changing this information does not automatically affect people who have already signed up but could have unintended consequences down the line if you make other adjustments to their membership later in the season. If you are changing the pricing due to a discount offer or due to pro-ration, we would recommend using the Charges/Discount tool for handling those changes. For more information on doing that, read The Charges & Discounts Cookbook.

Congratulations! You have created your first Membership Type. Use the Membership Type List to edit, disable or delete your Membership Types. Disabling a Membership Type will remove it from your website's sign-up page, but keep all the information about that Member Type saved. This is helpful if certain Member Types fill up or if the time period to sign up for that type has passed.

Continue this process until you have created all of the Membership Types that you would like to offer your customers. When you are finished, view your Membership Sign-up page on your website by clicking the "Go to live site" link in the top right corner of your Control Panel.

Ready to move on? Click on another article below: