Your membership model is the backbone of your site and dictates the type of membership that you are actually running.
Well membership technology now provides us with a lot of different options, and a lot of the traditional membership models are no longer the ‘norm'. Instead we are seeing an increasing number of people wanting to break away from more traditional models and rather than just call this a hybrid model as we have previously, we decided that what. Joining an organization by way of membership is the best thing that people in the US believe they can do to support an organization’s mission – even more than making a donation! This finding in itself should be enough to encourage leaders to take a hard look at membership programs and prioritize support for them! Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 120,000 members. NASW works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies. A Microsoft Action Pack unlocks resources that help you build innovative solutions, sell more cloud volume, empower your teams, and grow your business. View Action Pack Access membership benefits.
Whilst you’ll find lots of variations of membership models – in fact we wrote a post a couple of years ago on 7 different membership models that you could use – in the Membership Academy we approach membership models slightly differently.
Why? Well membership technology now provides us with a lot of different options, and a lot of the traditional membership models are no longer the ‘norm'.
The Fort Worth Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Reciprocity Program, which means you can receive half off admission at more than 100 zoos and aquariums across North America. Always pack your membership ID card when you travel, and be sure to check the list of participating institutions, as they’re subject to change.
Instead we are seeing an increasing number of people wanting to break away from more traditional models and rather than just call this a hybrid model as we have previously, we decided that what was actually needed was a new approach to membership models.
We affectionately call this the ‘Membership Trifecta'.
In this way of looking at membership models we actually split your membership into 3 key elements that you can combine as you need to create the membership of your dreams. This approach also gives you a more fine-tuned model to build on in the future.
So, what are the 3 key elements of your membership model?
- Content – the main type of content you will be offering
- Delivery – the way your content will be delivered
- Access – the type of access someone is given to your content
Essentially you need to pick one option from each of these key elements, and combined they will create your central membership model. This gives you quite a lot of flexibility, rather than tying you to a model that isn’t quite the right fit.
Do More With Membership Dues
Let's look at each element in a little more depth.
The Content Element:
The content element can be broken down into 6 core types:
- Course – a structured course with an a-z path, broken into modules/lessons (or similar) and with a particular goal.
- Premium content – providing in-depth content but not necessarily in a specific order or with a specific result as with a course.
- Library – a content hub comprising of lots of different courses or content types, usually with a ‘pic’n’mix’ approach.
- Community – a forum or other group brought together to discuss a particular topic.
- Service – accompanies a service such as coaching, design or web fixes (e.g monthly design graphics).
- Product – a digital product or resource – usually downloadable.
Your content should be based on the main focus of your membership. So, you may plan on having a community element, but if your main offering is actually a 6 month course then your content model is the course. The content aspect is where traditional membership models are drawn from.
The Delivery Element:
This element looks at how you will deliver you content to members. There’s just 3 options to choose from here:
- Instant – everything is available immediately. No new content to be added except perhaps updates or bonuses.
- Ongoing – new content released on an ongoing basis – often monthly and usually without a fixed end date.
- Dripped – content released at scheduled intervals relative to when the member joins. Often for a set amount of time.
The Access Element:
Your access model is linked to the payment structure you will have, as typically with a membership site it is payment that dictates whether someone has access. There are 4 main options to choose from here.
- Recurring – access tied to regular payments, usually monthly. When payment stops access is removed.
- Lifetime – access for as long as the content is available.
- Fixed Term – access for a set amount of time, i.e. 12 months.
- Pay As You Go – access as needed.
Lifetime and fixed term options could be either one-off or recurring/instalment payments. If using instalments, then be aware that the access can still be revoked if someone fails to make one of their payments.
The Pay As You Go Model is lesser known but think of sites like Udemy or Skillshare – you become a member and then pay for access to specific courses as you need them. This model is also common in the fitness world for access to workout videos.
You may offer a combination of payment methods, such as recurring and lifetime, but your access model will depend on the predominant one – usually the recurring option if this is offered.
So, that's our new approach to membership models. What do you think? What does your own membership trifecta look like?
Membership Academy – Extra
Access your “How to Create Your Membership Masterplan” course in the Membership Academy.
Discover how to go from having lots of ideas to creating a practical action plan for your own successful membership website.
Not an Academy Member? Click here to learn more
A Beta Release means that while the plugin is active and stable, it is not fully supported and should be used with caution in a production environment. While the functionality may work well with the core PMPro plugin, most of our Add Ons are not compatible with multiple memberships per user. We are working to update the documentation pages of Add Ons listed in this site to reflect current compatibility or plans to develop compatibility.
In particular, almost all of the Add Ons that adjust the checkout process, membership pricing, user subscriptions, or perform actions when users change membership levels will NOT currently work as you might expect with this plugin active.
This work will take one to two years at least. So please feel free to use the MMPU Add On in the meantime, but also take a look at the workarounds in this article which often work as well or better than using the Add On.
- Make sure you have the Paid Memberships Pro plugin installed and activated.
- Download the Multiple Memberships Per User Add On from GitHub.
- Upload the
pmpro-multiple-memberships-per-userdirectory to the
/wp-content/plugins/directory of your site.
- Activate the plugin through the ‘Plugins’ menu in WordPress.
- Continue reading for setup instructions.
This Add On introduces the concept of “Level Groups”. Each Level Group has specific permissions related to the levels within, specifically:
- Users can only choose one level from this group, or
- Users can choose multiple levels from this group.
If you have existing levels in your PMPro-powered membership site, the first step of setup will be to name your level group and choose the setting. You can “drag and drop” levels into the group and reorder them just as you would in the traditional PMPro plugin.
About the Membership Levels Page
Your Membership Levels page will be altered to instead display levels according to their groups, and allows the user to choose to add or remove levels to their “order” (a shopping cart-like experience). Logged-in members will see what levels they currently hold and what levels they are modifying in this session.
When the member is ready to complete checkout, they will click a single “Checkout” button.
About Membership Checkout
If you are using Stripe as your primary gateway, this plugin will support a single checkout experience for multiple level changes.
All other gateways will require the user to complete multiple checkouts for each selection in the session. This is why there is a warning specifically for the PayPal gateways in the admin area.
If you are using PayPal as your payment gateway, you will need to adjust the appearance of your Membership Levels page to not allow people to add multiple levels to checkout. Using this approach, if the user wants to select both Level ID 4 and Level ID 6, they will have to complete two separate checkouts, one for each level.
You can use the Advanced Levels Shortcode Add On or build a custom layout for your level pricing page to make this more obvious to your members. Note that these two approaches will not show how levels are grouped.