Kavi® Members Help

Chapter 28. Kavi Membership


Kavi Membership installs a rich set of options that allows your organization's membership structure, bylaws and business rules to be encoded in the software. The global membership application process determines the basic membership workflow, such as whether the membership is billed or sent for moderator approval, and in what order each of these steps occurs. The rules for each specific membership are established through configurable Company Membership Types or Individual Membership Types. Your organization can have as many types as needed, and each can have it's own instructions and website access privileges.

If Kavi Billing is also installed, memberships can include membership fees, with bills and receipts issued online. Kavi Commerce is usually installed alongside Kavi Billing to process online credit card payments.

Kavi Membership Concepts Documents

  • Kavi Membership (this document) explores some general approaches to membership management for those who are new to the subject, and describes the basic ways that membership structures and processes are encoded and managed in Kavi Membership.

  • Membership Workflow explains the effects that billing and moderation steps have on the membership process. Kavi Membership offers several distinct ways to configure the membership process, and if you are an administrator, it is important that you understand how the membership workflow functions on your site.

  • Membership Configuration Overview explains how common membership structures and processes map to available configuration options. It ties all the components of membership together, and references the other Kavi Membership Concepts documents, membership tools and tool page help. If you are in the process of developing requirements and would like more background information, or are a new administrator who wants to understand membership structures and processes on your website, this document is designed for you.

  • The first part of the membership workflow, including applications, billing and moderation, is the topic of Membership Application Processes. Whether you are managing memberships or adding new membership types, you need to understand your website's membership acquisition processes in order to perform your task effectively.

  • Membership Renewal encompasses some subtleties such as membership renewal and expiration rules, grace periods, archiving and deactivation. The configuration settings work collectively and there are significant edge case contingencies that must be covered in these rules.

  • If your organization has any auto-renewed membership types, see Membership Auto-renewal for information on configuring and managing auto-renewals.

  • Membership Fees and Billing discribes how the Kavi Billing and Kavi Commerce components combine forces with other membership features to process your organization's billed memberships. This document focuses on configuration and processes from the viewpoint of Kavi Members Super Admin and Admin tools. More information is available in the Kavi Billing and Kavi Commerce tool page help.

  • What happens when a membership reaches the end of its lifecycle? The Concepts documentEnd-of-Membership Processes discusses membership expiration, grace periods, archival and what can happen if a membership lapses before it is renewed.

Back to top

General Approaches to Membership

Membership means something a little different in each organization, but in every case, membership defines a member's formal relationship to the organization. Memberships are typically defined in the organization's bylaws or constitution, have a defined duration or term, and confer privileges on the membership holder. There may be membership fees, terms and conditions, or prerequisites that must be verified by a moderator before an applicant is allowed to acquire membership.


If your organization is relatively new or prefers to handle membership acquisition through invitation-only processes, you may be able to get by without Kavi Membership as long as your administrators can keep up with requests to add new users manually. Kavi Membership can be enabled at a later date when the need for automated membership management becomes apparent.

Informal Memberships

When the goal of an organization is to sign up as many members as possible, with little or no qualitative restrictions on prospective members, the membership structure and processes tend to be informal.

Characteristics of Informal Memberships

  • Nominal membership fees (if any).

  • Memberships are not moderated, so applications are approved automatically (although this may still be subject to payment of the membership fee).

  • Membership expiration rules and grace periods are generous, because it is to the organization's advantage to have lapsed members remain active on the site for an extended period.

  • A flat membership structure, so that all members have the same type of membership and basic website access privileges.

Formal Memberships

It generally takes time to develop a formal membership structure, so most organizations with formal memberships are well established. In some cases, young organizations that have grown rapidly, or that operate in an arena where intellectual property rights (IPR) or a formal accreditation body are involved, may need to define and adopt a formal membership structure rather quickly. Formal memberships are defined in the organization's bylaws or constitution, have a duration or membership term, generally have a cost, and confer benefits on the membership holder.

These organizations use Kavi Membership to help ensure that members meet all prerequisites before being granted website access, to faciliate membership acquisition and renewal processes, and to systematically track and enforce access permissions. In most cases, Kavi Billing and Kavi Commerce are installed for automated billing and online credit card payment of membership fees.

Characteristics of Formal Memberships

  • Significant membership fees.

  • Moderated memberships, often including prerequisites such as the submission of signed documents in hardcopy before the applicant is eligible for membership.

  • Membership expiration rules and grace periods tend to be stricter, so that lapsed members have some or all of their site access privileges revoked at the end of the grace period as an incentive to renew.

  • A hierarchical membership structure, with different levels of member benefits and participation.

Back to top

Basic Membership Structures and Processes

Because membership information is widely published and adherence to the process is so important, Kavi Membership allows membership types and processes in the membership layer to be defined in great detail. Although the interaction of options governing membership acquisition and renewal can be complex, a focus on the major structural and process components provides a useful overview of how memberships work.

Company Memberships, Individual Memberships or Both

When characterizing an organization's membership, the single most important attribute is whether the organization offers memberships for companies, for individuals, or both. This defines the type of organization: company-based, individual-based or mixed. This aspect of membership structure is always encoded as the first step in the Kavi Workspace setup process, and has a widespread effect on site configuration.

For more information, see Membership Configuration Overview.

Membership Acquisition Process

Most organizations allow prospective members to apply for membership through online membership application forms. When Kavi Membership is enabled, online membership application forms become available. If this is a company-based organization, a Company Membership Application form is enabled, along with a Company Representative Signup form. If this is an individual-based organization, an Individual Membership Application form is enabled. Mixed organizations get all three.

These forms are configurable, and although they are automatically installed in the /membership_info directory, which is publicly accessible, most organizations put links to these forms on their home page.

The membership process or "workflow" is also configurable. For an organization with an informal process, the membership acquisition process may be as simple as clicking a radio button to signal agreement with terms and conditions, then submitting an application form with all required fields filled in. An organization with formal memberships may enable both billing and moderation.

For more information, see Membership Application Processes.

Membership Types and Companion User or Company Types

Membership Types embody the organization's membership structure. Most organizations have several levels of memberships, with a different Membership Type for each level. These types may have different eligibility rules, benefits and membership fees. They can also have different terms or durations, so that organizations that offer lifetime memberships to top-tier members can have annual (or some other) duration memberships for everyone else.

Whatever your organization's membership structure, it needs some mechanism to classify its members. In Kavi Membership, Member Companies are classified by Company Types and Individual Members are classified by User Types. These Company Types or User Types are associated with a Company Membership Type or Individual Membership Type, and assigned automatically when a company or user acquires a membership of this type.

It is standard practice to add a unique Company Type for each Company Membership Type (or a User Type for each Individual Membership Type) so that it easy to retrieve all companies or users with a certain type of membership in searches or reports. This companion Company Type or User Type usually has the same name as the membership type to which it corresponds.

Back to top

How Types Are Assigned through Membership

Once a member acquires membership, Kavi Members automatically assigns whatever Company Type(s) or User Type(s) are granted through that membership. The companion types may be associated with roles that confer website access permissions, or roles and access may be conferred through the default 'Member Area Access' and 'Workgroup Access' types. When these default access types are used, users and companies may be assigned multiple types through membership.

When an Individual Member acquires membership, she or he is automatically assigned whatever User Types are associated with the Individual Membership Type, and directly acquires roles and access through this type. If this is a Member Company, the Member Company is assigned whatever Company Types are associated with the Company Membership Type, and these roles and access are inherited by users who belong to the company.

Types granted through a membership cannot be assigned or revoked manually. When a membership expires, any Company Types or User Types associated with that membership are revoked, along with all roles conferred through these types. If the membership was renewed, types conferred through the new membership are assigned so that an appropropriate level of website access is continually maintained.

Figure 28.1. Types Assigned through Membership

Diagram showing types being assigned or
	    revoked from a user as the user's membership type

Fred's Board membership just expired and was replaced with a Sponsor membership. When the Board membership was archived, the 'Board' User Type was automatically removed. When his Sponsor membership became current, he was automatically assigned the 'Sponsor' User Type.

Back to top