Developing a Software Solution for Club Membership Renewal Automation: Our Approach



In the diverse landscape of clubs, each one is as unique as its members. As software developers on a mission to streamline club management and make managing clubs more fun, we were faced with the challenge of creating a tool that caters to the specific needs of various clubs. 

The question that echoed in our minds was, "How do we make it work for the most clubs possible?" The answer lay in a flexible and configurable system designed to tackle the intricate process of membership renewal.

Setting the Goal: Build a Configurable, Flexible System

Our primary goal was clear: to create a solution for managing membership renewal that adapts to the various requirements of many different clubs. To do this, we needed to build in flexibility—enabling clubs to customize what would be one of Clubistry’s core features to fit seamlessly into their existing processes and models.

Visualizing the Problem of Automating Renewal

Understanding the intricacies of membership renewal meant visualizing the problem from the perspective of club administrators. What hurdles did they face? How could we simplify their tasks? By immersing ourselves in their challenges, we gained invaluable insights into crafting a more efficient solution.  

We’ve included some of the diagrams we drew for ourselves for this process, during brainstorming or team meeting sessions. 

What's Really In Scope Here?

Recognizing the complexities of payment processes, we focused on the core renewal experience. With a goal of building a configurable system, we determined that we could focus on the intricate dance of renewing memberships without delving into the intricate world of financial transactions in the same step, keeping the scope clear and manageable.  As with all technical projects, we knew we were going to face scope creep without thinking through the problem carefully.


Even excluding the payment process (which we knew would appear as a new feature in the near future), there was still lots to consider.

  • Variable membership and renewal periods

  • Expired and lapsed memberships

  • Multi-person memberships

  • Administrative reporting and tracking

  • Manual handling of offline users (yes, even today there are some folks who aren’t online)

  • Notifications and reminders for members

  • Self-service workflow for members

Define the Club Membership Renewal Life Cycle

We began by dissecting the lifecycle of club memberships. What commonalities exist among different membership models? Identifying these common threads laid the foundation for our approach, allowing us to build a tool that speaks the language of all clubs, regardless of their size or focus.

We identified three states of membership, and defined a number of terms for events and windows of time.  Here’s how we describe the membership life cycle.


  • Active member
    The state of membership most are in, most of the time.  This is the “normal” state for a member, meaning they have paid their dues and are enjoying access to the club.

  • Due date
    At the risk of stating the obvious, this is the day when a member must pay their dues to renew membership in the club.  Some clubs have the same due date every year for all members; others might have different dates depending on levels of membership.  Still other clubs might have rolling renewal, like your subscription to Netflix or other your phone bill—it comes up on your “anniversary,” either monthly or yearly.  

  • Renewal period
    The period in which a membership can apply for renewal.  For example, for annual renewal, the renewal period might come up 30 days before the due date.

  • Paid and unpaid renewal
    For members eligible for renewal. Once the renewal period starts, a member has an unpaid renewal, and it’s their responsibility to renew (most often by paying dues).

  • Grace period
    The time after the due date during which a membership is still active even if they haven’t yet paid their dues.  For example, an annual renewal might have a 30 day grace period.  This period may last some number of days (could be zero). 

  • Late member
    The state of membership after the due date for dues payment has passed, if they have not paid dues.  During the grace period, a member with an unpaid renewal is considered late.

  • Lapsed member
    The state of membership after the grace period, if they have still failed to pay their dues.

Identify the Workflow Events

Mapping out the flow of events in the membership renewal process was essential. Knowing the key stages in the life cycle, where could we use technology to do what is difficult and time-consuming for people? Identifying these touchpoints was crucial for creating a system that worked harmoniously with existing club operations.  


We asked ourselves:

  • What Can Be Automated? 

  • Where Do Users Need to Take Action? 

  • How Do Users Track and Monitor the Process?

These questions served as guiding lights throughout development. We sought to automate repetitive tasks while empowering users to retain control where decisions were needed. Providing easy-to-read tracking and monitoring mechanisms can enable administrators to intervene when necessary, preventing potential pitfalls in the renewal journey.

The User is Always Right

Our mission of making club administration fun meant that we needed a way to make setting up membership as easy and approachable as possible—while still accommodating the vastly different ways that clubs might organize membership renewal.  We created a simple process that admins can walk through, to answer a few questions and get their membership online, no mess, no fuss.

We had fun creating this wizard and we hope you’ll enjoy it to.  Here’s our initial idea:


Where Can It Go Wrong? What Are We Missing?

Acknowledging that no development process is foolproof, we continuously tested and refined our solution. By looking for potential gaps and blind spots, we ensured Clubistry was not just a tool, but a reliable partner in the club management journey.

We created a map of how our system would be constructed to accommodate the membership renewal process.


Our strategy to tackle membership renewal was to check every day if a given membership needs to be renewed or if its status has changed. This process is performed for every single member of your club, every day.  Clubistry automatically creates renewals and updates the membership status to unpaid, grace period or overdue/lapsed.

The same algorithm also notifies the member via email about the changes to their membership or specific reminders configured by club administrators.  That means all the back-and-forth about when payment is due, and how much, and the check’s in the mail—all that is squashed so that admins are free to help folks who run into issues or have extenuating circumstances.  The majority of your club members can renew without you having to lift a finger!


In the realm of club membership renewal, Clubistry stands out as a thoughtfully crafted solution. By approaching the challenge with a focus on flexibility, transparency, and member empowerment, we've created a tool that seamlessly integrates into the life of every club. 

Your members deserve a smooth renewal experience, and you—the club administrator and leader—deserve not to pull your hair out with every renewal season, because membership renewal is tough.  Clubistry ensures it’s easy, allowing you to focus on what truly matters—enjoying the thriving and vibrant community you've built.


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