Subscription Renewals

Learn more about how subscription renewals work

Jenn Norman, CAE avatar
Written by Jenn Norman, CAE
Updated over a week ago

There are a few things you should be aware of when it comes to subscription renewals.

Please Note: A guest cannot purchase a subscription due to the nature of subscription auto-renewals. Whether a member or not, they will need a record to link the subscription to.

If Not an Auto-Renewal

If your subscriptions are not set to auto-renew, the subscription will end on the "Subscription End" date and it will show in the canceled subscriptions list.

If a subscription is purchased as an auto-renewal, an admin can turn off the auto-renewal setting from the Subscriptions list by clicking on the green checkmark to change it to a red circle.


If your subscriptions are set to auto-renew, two different events will happen on the Subscription End date:

1) The subscription renewal will appear on your Order list.

2) An Invoice or Sales Receipt will be generated for the subscription and will show in your Transactions list.

  • If invoicing, like auto-renewals for dues invoicing works, once the invoice is generated you will need to review and email the invoice to the member(s).

  • Keep in mind, an invoice will only be generated in the case where the subscription is not set up via credit card purchase. If it is, the user's default saved credit card will be automatically charged on the renewal date. In that case, there is a sales receipt generated instead of an invoice. The one exception is if the credit card is declined during the renewal auto-payment - then the system will create an invoice.

Items of Note:

When a product is set to be a subscription and Requires Fulfillment is checked, then you will be notified upon renewal that the product requires fulfillment each time it renews.

If a subscription is set up as an auto-renewal:

  • When the product order is entered on the backend by an admin they will need to check the Auto-Renew box.

  • When the product is purchased on the frontend website the Auto-Renewal setting will be checked (i.e. ON) by default.

  • The member can also disable the auto-renewal setting from their Member Compass (on the My Orders tab).

Auto-Renewals for Free Subscriptions

If you want to offer free subscriptions, there are a few different ways to manage this:

1. Create a free subscription and set it to auto-renew.

2. Create a promo code for an existing paid subscription. 

  • Note: The discount will only apply to the first purchase, so if the subscription is set to auto-renew it will create an invoice for the full amount at the time of renewal. To avoid the invoice creation during renewal, an admin can go to the Subscriptions list and uncheck the Auto-Renew setting for the ones that are free. Since they won't be auto-renewing then, the admin will need to manually update the expiration date after a year.

3. If the free subscription is only for a few members and everyone else must pay, you could create a custom field for the free ones, rather than having them purchase the subscription with a promo code (#2 above). This way, there's no need to manage an auto-renewal because they will always be included (until the custom field value is changed). To be clear, this means the people who do not pay won't actually sign up for the subscription.

  • Note: If you choose this approach, be sure to add a condition (based on the custom field) to all subscription-related Groups, Event Tickets, etc. This way the group/ticket will include the subscribers AND the records with the appropriate custom field value.

  • Example custom field: "News Subscriber" with a set of options "Yes" or "No"

Auto-Renewals for Subscriptions Paid Via Credit Cards

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