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Multi-Year Initial Terms

For Calendar Renewals: Give members a smoother process when they join near the end of the year.

Melisa Smith avatar
Written by Melisa Smith
Updated over a week ago

After a specific date near the end of the membership year, many calendar-year associations begin giving new members who join an expiration date in the following year. This prevents a scenario where someone joins today for the remainder of the year, and then receives a renewal for next year tomorrow.

You can accomplish this by using the Multi-Year Initial Term setting, which can be found on each member type's Renewal tab.

What is a Multi-Year Initial Term?

Associations use multi-year initial terms to answer the question "Why would I sign up for the last couple of months of this year when I can wait a few months to sign up next year?

When setting up a multi-year initial term, you'll need to answer the following questions:

  • What date determines when signups start to include the rest of the current year plus all of next year?

  • A) Do you want to charge dues for the rest of this year plus all of next, following whatever proration rules you have in place? OR

  • B) Do you want to give your new members free dues for the remainder of this year and only charge them next year's full dues?

Example A - Charge dues for both years:

Let's say that your members expire on 12/31. Beginning in November, you want new signups to expire in the following year. You also want to bill them for the remainder of this year plus all of next year. Your settings would look like this:

Example B - Charge dues for next year only:

Let's say that your members expire on 12/31. Beginning in November, you want new signups to expire in the following year. You only want to bill them for next year and they can have the remainder of this year for free. Your settings would look like this instead:

Where can I view and edit the Multi-Year Initial Term setting?

The Multi-Year Initial Term setting can be found on the Renewal tab of each member type, but only if the Expiration setting is Calendar. Anniversary renewals will not have a setting for multi-year initial terms since all terms will be the same length.

This setting is based on your calendar expiration date and can be set either months or days prior. Example: 30 days prior to 12/31 would mean any member that joins starting on 12/1 would have a multi-year initial term.

Once you've checked the box to turn on the Multi-Year Initial Term, you can enter the date and whether the system should charge dues for "both years" or "second year only".

Important Note: The settings for proration and multi-year initial term are separate but affect each other. This means you'll need to check the proration settings on the dues rule(s), as well as the multi-year initial term setup, for a full picture of how much members will be charged for dues and what their expiration date will be (based on the date they join).

What happens if this setting is not turned on?

If you aren't using the multi-year initial term setting, and you have Auto-Renewal turned on, you might run into a bit of confusion surrounding late-year signups.

Let's again say that your members expire 12/31. Let's also say that the member type is set to auto-renew 90 days prior to expiration, on 10/2. 

Before we dive into an example, it's important to note that your members will renew on 10/2, but Novi will also check for any members who were scheduled to renew within a 30-day period of 10/2, just in case they didn't renew for some reason. This "auto-renewal window" catches any failed renewals.

Example #1

Now, let's say that ABC Company joins as a new member on 10/15. A few things will happen if Multi-Year Initial Term is not turned on:

  • On 10/15, they will be invoiced for their first year and their expiration date will be 12/31 of this year.

  • On 10/16, the system will do its 30-day from 10/2 check (as described above). This new member will fall in that window since their expiration date is 12/31 of this year. They will renew. They will be issued a second invoice, for their second year, and their expiration date will move to the following year.

    This is actually correct, because if this didn't happen, then come 12/31 of this year, they would no longer be a member and then an admin would have to go to their record and manually renew them. However, while it is correct, it could cause a negative reaction from the member who now has to submit a second dues payment right after they've joined your organization.

  • Another place this scenario could cause confusion is in Recent Signups. When you're reviewing new signups on 10/16 (or later), you will see them in the list from when they joined on 10/15, but it will list the second invoice in the Transaction column. This is because Recent Signups will always show the most recent dues invoice. At this point, you might think the system didn't charge for the first year. It did. It's simply on a separate invoice.

As you can see, not using this setting breaks the registration process during this time period into two parts and creates two separate transactions.

It also does not allow for you to forgo the remainder of the current year's dues, if that is something you want to do. On the other hand, using the setting will allow that and will also be a better experience for your new member.

Example #2

If ABC Company joined even later in the year, like 12/5, they would fall outside of the system's 30-day check (described above), which means they would not auto-renew and their membership benefits would stop on 12/31 of the current year. In this case, an admin would need to manually renew the member.

In Conclusion...

To best streamline this process (for everyone involved!), we recommend turning on Multi-Year Initial Term in the member type settings. 

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