Creating Seasons

Your CSA or farm membership program will likely be broken up into certain periods of time or sessions. Maybe your customers sign up for your CSA for a full year or perhaps you'd rather have them sign up for shorter periods of time such as a Winter Session or an April - November membership term. In Member Assembler, we call these time periods "Seasons" and we use Seasons to group membership information according to the sessions that your members have signed up for. You can think of Seasons like files that hold all your CSA information. You can see information from any of your sessions by accessing your different Seasons. (Click here to jump to the section about accessing Seasons with the Administrative Settings.)

Member Assembler Seasons do not have to correspond with the actual yearly seasons. You can define your Seasons however your like, but they should be based on the style of CSA or Farm Membership program that you are running. Mostly, new Seasons are created when you want your members to commit to and pay for a new membership session. For example, you may create a new Season when you switch from your Fall Session to your Winter Session or when you want to indicate that you are moving from the end of one year to the next year's sign-up. This article will cover the following topics about Seasons:

  Creating Your Initial Season
  Creating New Seasons
  Enabling a Season for Sign-up
  Returning Member Sign-up
  Sending Renewal Emails
  Changing Your Administrative Setting to Access/Edit Season Information
  Other Season Specific Settings
  Deleting Seasons

Creating Your Initial Season

When you first set up your Member Assembler, your Initial Member Assembler Season has already been created for you. It's a good idea to change the name of your first Season to correspond to the way you run your CSA. Likely, you will either set up one Season per year, or have multiple Seasons based on your different sessions. Including dates into the name can help you keep track of your Seasons chronologically. For example: CSA 2011, Summer Session 2012 or April-November '09.

To change the name of your first Season, log in to the Control Panel and navigate to:

Member Assembler > Configure > Seasons

Click on the "edit" link next to your "Initial Member Assembler Season" to change the name. There is also a description field so that you can add notes. Your customers will only see this section if there is more than one Season open for signup at a time. Additionally, there is an Email Information field for season-specific instructions. Again, this is mostly important if you have more than one Season available for signup at a time.

If you have not done so already, the next step to setting up your Member Assembler is to add Membership Types and Pickup locations. These are important components to your Seasons. To learn more about setting up Member Assembler, read the "Getting Started with Member Assembler" guides in the Knowledge Base.

Creating New Seasons

You will want to create a New Season when you are ready for your customers to sign up for you next membership session. To create a new Season, log in to the Control Panel and navigate to:

Member Assembler > Configure > Seasons

  1. Click on the "New" tab. Add a descriptive name in the "Season Title" field. Including dates into the name can help you keep track of your Seasons chronologically. For example: Summer 2012 or April-November '09

  2. Creating a new Season means that you will have to also create new Member Types, Pickup Locations, Custom Forms, and Charges or Discounts for your Membership Sign-up pages. If the details of the new Season are similar to one of your past Seasons, save some time by using the "Copy From" drop-down menu and choosing the Season you wish to copy over information from. Skip this step if you wish to manually create your new Season. Finally, click the "Create New Season" button.

  3. Your new Season has now been created, however, you may want to create new Membership Types and Pickup Locations or modify those which you have copied over from another Season. To do this, you will have to change the Administrative Setting of your Seasons. It is likely that this Admin Season switch has taken place automatically, but it is always a good idea to make sure that you are working in the right Season by checking the upper right-hand corner of the Control Panel. The Season that you have access to will be listed. (Read more about switching the Admin Seasons here.)

  4. Once you have verified the correct Admin Season, make any edits to the Membership Types and Pickup locations by navigating to: Member Assembler > Configure and make changes so that these choices reflect your new Season's options.
    (For help on configuring your Member Assembler settings visit the Getting Started with Member Assembler section of the Knowledge Base. The articles there will walk you through these processes.)

  5. Once you have configured your the details of your new Season, you are ready to accept new members. Follow the instructions in the next section to learn how to enable member sign-up.

Enabling a Season for Sign-up

You are able to create new Seasons at any time so that they will be ready in advance of when you want to allow your members to sign up for them. You are also able to enable sign-up of your future Seasons while still running your current Season. This is helpful if your membership sessions overlap or if there isn't a lot of time between the end of one session and the beginning of another. When you are ready to accept new memberships, enable sign up for one or more of your Seasons.

To enable sign-up for your Seasons, you first have to make sure that Member Assembler sign-up settings have been enabled. Often times at the end of a Season, or when your membership limits have been reached, you will disable sign-up altogether. Navigate to: Member Assembler > Configure > Display Settings and make sure that sign-up is enabled.

Next, choose which Seasons you want to allow your members to sign up for by navigating to:

Member Assembler > Configure > Seasons

You will see there are two tables of seasons, one for seasons that are currently turned on and one for seasons that are passed or not yet available. Click on the buttons in the "Sign-up" column to Turn On or Turn Off sign up for the Seasons of your choice. The seasons will move back and forth from the two listings. You always must have at least one season Turned On but if you want to disable sign-up for all Seasons you can go to the Member Assembler "Display Settings" section.

Remember: If your past CSA or farm membership Season has ended and you would like to open sign up to customers for an new Season, you cannot simply enable the sign-up process and use the information from the old Season. You must create a new Season in order to sign-up new and returning members.

Returning Member Sign-up

Member Assembler has made new Season sign-up easy for returning members. By clicking on the green banner at the top of the Membership Sign-up page, returning members will be expedited through the sign-up process. See below:

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   Figure 1. Returning Member Banner

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   Figure 2. Returning Member Sign-up Page

Once the returning member has typed in their email address (which must be the same address they used in the last Season) the Member Assembler system will recognize them and begin the renewal process. If the returning member tries to sign up as a new customer, the Member Assembler system will still recognize their email address and direct them to the returning member sign-up process.

As an extra step, your returning user's identity will be verified by having an email automatically sent to their email address which will include a secure link that they will use to complete the sign-up process. If you do not want this extra step to take place, you can disable this automatic email by navigating to:

   Member Assembler > Configure > Display Settings

Un-check the checkbox next to: "Returning Members Must Confirm ID Through Email" to disable the verification email step.

Sending Renewal Emails

Now that you have configured your Season and enabled the sign-up process, you will want to send out an email to your past members to remind them to visit your website and join your membership program. Small Farm Central makes this step easy with our Renewal Email tool, which generates a list of past members who have not yet signed up for your newest Season and composes an email which includes a direct link to your membership sign-up page.

To generate your list and send your Renewal email, log in to the Control Panel and navigate to:

Member Assembler > Members > Renewals

For detailed instructions about how to set up your renewal emails, read the Sending Renewal Emails article.

You will want to create a new Renewal Email each time you want to remind members to sign-up for your program since the renewal email tool generates a new list of people who are not signed up. If you use an old email, you will end up sending a renewal email to some people who, in response to your past reminder email, have already signed up for your program.

Changing Your Administrative Setting to Access/Edit Other Season Information

Only one Season's information may be accessed and edited at a time. The Administrative Setting allows you to choose which Season you want to do work in. Normally, your Admin Season setting should correspond with the CSA session that is currently running on your farm. You can easily check the Admin Season that you are working in by clicking on any of the Member Assembler menu items in the Control Panel. The Season you are currently administrating will pop up in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

After you have created a few Seasons, you may want to go back to make changes to an older Season or to view past information. Alternately, if you have just created a new Season, you will want to configure the sign-up settings or create Membership Types in that Season. In these instances, you will need to temporarily change the Admin Season, so that you can access this other information. (Note: changing the Admin Season does not effect your membership sign-up. Disabling membership sign-up is covered here.)

To change the Admin Settings for your Seasons, navigate to:

Member Assembler > Configure > Seasons

Click “set as admin season” beside the Season you want to view and edit in the Control Panel. You can now view this Season's information and make changes as you like. You may wish to switch back to the current Season before you log out by navigating back the the Seasons page and setting the current Season as the "admin season." Again, confirm your Admin Season setting by clicking on any of the Member Assembler menu items in the Control Panel and check the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Other Season Specific Settings

There are some other settings that will need to be changed when you are ready to switch to a new Season. You can find these by navigating to:

Member Assembler > Configure > Seasons

Click on the tab in the Dashboard labeled "Other Settings". Here you will see settings for Weekly Pickup Reminders, Status Emails, Membership Updates and Member-Scheduled Actions ie Vacation Holds. When you are ready to move from one Season to another, make sure that you update the settings on the features that you use.

The reason why these do not change over automatically when you turn on signup for a new Season is that quite often you will be signing people up for an upcoming Season while still delivering to a current Season and you would want these settings to still correspond to that current Season.

Other areas you might want to evaluate at the beginning of each season

After creating a new season, you will probably want to review the following areas to make sure they are still accurate for your new season.

Checkout - You may need to reconfigure your checkout. If you use PayPal, Dwolla and/or Invoice checkout, you can only have one set of checkout settings for all available Seasons. If you make no changes, your checkout settings will remain the same as the previous Season. If you use Authorize.Net, a new schedule template will automatically be created for you using the settings from the previous season.

Member Agreement - Your Member Agreement will be the same for all available Seasons. You should review your Member Agreement at the beginning of each Season to determine if any changes are necessary.

Display Settings - Your Display Settings will be the same for all available seasons. That means if you have multiple seasons available for sign-up at one time, you'll want to make sure the information in the headers is generic enough to cover all seasons. If you only have one Season available at a time, you can make this information more season specific or you can use the Email Information area as mentioned above for different notes for whichever Season they have joined. It is good to review this information to make sure you don't have outdated information in them.

Deleting Seasons

You will notice in the Season setting page, you have the option to delete a Season. Seasons can only be deleted if there are no Members joined to them. This is to prevent you from losing all of those records. Generally, you would only delete a Season if it were created in error.

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