KaviŪ Members Help

Chapter 29. Membership Workflow

What Is Workflow?

Workflow-backed software automates business tasks by encoding business rules so that your memberships move through well-defined processes before they are approved and become current, and as they expire and are archived.

The membership workflow consists of a series of states and milestones through which a membership passes from the time the application form is submitted, through the approval process, the term during which the membership is current, up to the point that expires and is finally archived. The workflow is configurable, so the membership may pass through billing and moderation steps before approval, and the workflow for new and renewing members can vary, so that new memberships may require moderator approval while renewals do not.

Kavi Membership automates most of the membership processes, beginning with self-serve online membership application forms that can include the payment of membership fees via credit card with printable invoices and receipts. When the membership nears expiration, Kavi Membership can send renewal reminders or automatically renew the membership. Throughout the life of the membership, the software transparently manages the assignment or revocation of the types that confer roles and website access privileges on the member, so that user access is automatically maintained at the proper level. Scheduled email notifications can be set to go out based on events in the membership workflow, such as welcome messages for new members, renewal reminders for existing members, and warnings for expired memberships nearing the end of the grace period.

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The Administrator's Role in the Membership Workflow

Even though the basic membership workflow is automated, Kavi Membership gives administrators a great deal of control over memberships. In the moderation step, control passes from the automated workflow to offline administrative processes, and the system only resumes control after the administrator moderates the application. Administrators can bypass much of the membership workflow by adding or managing applications manually, and then choose which email messages are sent out.

In order to manage these offline processes successfully, Organization Admins need to understand their organization's bylaws, policies and procedures — and understand how these are encoded in the software so that you understand the consequences of overriding automated processes and suppressing scheduled email.

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Basic Membership Workflow

All memberships pass through the same basic workflow, but there are some configurable options that can change the rules that govern how a membership moves from a pending state to an approved state, and how the membership is handled after expiration.

Figure 29.1. Basic Membership Workflow

Diagram of the basic membership workflow.

This diagram provides an overview of the basic workflow, including the billing and moderation steps. With the exception of the billing and moderation steps, the basic membership workflow is the same on every website with Kavi Membership, and every membership follows this same basic path.

  • From new, a membership moves immediately to pending.

  • A successful membership application moves from a pending state to an approved state. It may have to go through billing or moderation steps before it can be approved.

    The exception is a membership that is rejected by a moderator and automatically deleted.

  • Once approved, a membership moves to a current state when the membership term begins.

  • When the membership term ends, the membership enters the expired state.

  • The final state of a membership is the archived state.

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Workflow State Definitions

The table below describes all the states in the standard membership workflow and the tests a membership must pass to move on to the next state.

Table 29.1. Membership Workflow States

State Name Definition Destination State
Start Memberships enter the 'Start' state as soon as they are added to pending memberships tables in the Kavi Members database. A membership enters the 'Start' state when a potential member submits an application for new membership, when an existing member submits a membership renewal request or when an administrator adds or renews a membership manually. Once a membership enters the 'Start' state, it may go through the moderation step then the billing step, or the billing step first then the moderation step, depending on configuration.
Pending Moderation

When a membership enters the 'Pending Moderation' state it is sent for moderator approval or automatically passes if this is an unmoderated membership type.

If this membership type is moderated, control over the membership workflow passes from Kavi Members to a human moderator (e.g., Organization Admin) who is responsible for applying organization rules. If this membership was added through an online application form, the application is placed in a moderation queue and the moderator is informed by a scheduled email notification. When a membership is added manually, the administrator can approve the membership immediately or send it to the moderation queue. Moderator approval may be contingent on the receipt of signed legal forms or formal acceptance of the application by the organization's board of directors.

If the Kavi Members workflow was configured to send memberships through the moderation step first, an application that passes the moderation step moves to the 'Pending Bill Payment' state. If the workflow was configured to send memberships for billing first, memberships that pass the moderation test move to the 'Approved' state.

If a moderator rejects the membership, it moves directly to the 'Rejected' state and is automatically deleted.

Rejected Membership state is set to 'Rejected' if the membership fails the moderation test. Memberships don't rest in the 'Rejected' state, but are immediately deleted. A record of the membership remains in the Full Activity Log. Rejected memberships do not move to other states.
Pending Bill Payment Memberships in this state are issued a membership bill unless the membership type is free, in which case the membership automatically passes this test. If there is a fee for this membership type, the membership may remain in the 'Pending Bill Payment' state until the bill is paid or may pass this test regardless of bill payment status, depending on global membership configuration settings. If configured to pass this step regardless of payment status, memberships can go on to the next workflow state and eventually become current even though there are membership bills outstanding. If the workflow is configured to send memberships through the moderation step first, memberships that pass the billing test move to the 'Approved' state. If the billing step is first first, the membership moves to the 'Pending Moderation' state.
Approved 'Approved' memberships have successfully passed moderation and billing steps. Memberships don't rest in the 'Approved' state, but move directly to the 'Pending Start Date' state. 'Approved' memberships go to the 'Pending Start Date' state to test whether they should go current immediately or not.
Pending Start Date Memberships in the 'Pending Start Date' state are tested to see whether they can go current immediately or whether their Start Date is in the future. If the membership is set to start on the current date, it passes through this step and becomes 'Current'. If the membership start date is in the future (e.g., this is a renewal), the membership will remain in the 'Pending Start Date' state until the scheduled Start Date. Memberships in the 'Pending Start Date' state become 'Current' on their Start Date.
Current Memberships in the 'Current' state went into effect on the Start Date of the membership term and will remain in this state until the End Date of the membership term. While the membership is 'Current' the membership holder is active and the member is assigned whatever types are conveyed through the membership, conferring roles and access privileges. 'Current' memberships enter the 'Expired' state on the membership term End Date.
Expired Memberships enter this state immediately after the End Date of the membership term. All 'Expired' memberships eventually move to the 'Archived' state. If a membership is renewed before its End Date, it moves immediately to the 'Archived' state. If it is not, it may be archived immediately but if the membership type is configured to have a grace period, the membership remains in the 'Expired' state until the grace period elapses. If this membership is renewed, it's state is set to 'Archived' as the new membership goes current so that that any types assigned through the old membership are removed when they should be and do not overlap in a renewal scenario. Most organizations allow a grace period between a membership's expiration date and the day when the membership is archived and membership benefits are officially revoked. The membership rests in the 'Expired' state during this grace period. Expired memberships are moved to the Archived state once the grace period has elapsed. For more information on membership expiration and archiving, see End-of-Membership Processes.

The 'Archived' state is the final state of a membership. Archived memberships are retained for historical records, but do not actively convey benefits to the member. Types are always revoked from the member when the membership is archived, and this revokes roles that grant access to protected areas of the website.

Archived memberships remain in the system as part of a member's membership history.

Once a membership is archived it doesn't change state.
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Your Organization's Membership Workflow

Most organizations that use Kavi Membership have enabled billing and moderation for memberships. There are several settings that control the way a membership passes through the billing and moderation steps. The easiest way to determine the membership workflow on your site is to view these configuration settings yourself.

For more information, see Membership Configuration Overview.

Analyzing Your Membership Workflow

Membership configuration tools are available in the Kavi Members Super Admin Area, so Super Admins can click here to go to the Super Admin Menu.

Company-based or Individual-based?

Click here to visit the Set Organizational Properties tool where you can see whether your organization offers memberships to companies, individuals, or both. For more information, see Is this a Company-based or Individual-based Organization? in Membership Configuration Overview.

Workflow through the Billing and Moderation Steps

If Kavi Billing is installed, your membership workflow will include a billing step. Go to Configure Global Membership Applications and see if the Billing Options field exists. If so, the Global Process and Billing Options settings show you how billing and moderation options work in combination on your site.

  • Global Process sets whether a membership goes through billing first, then moderation — or moderation first, then billing. Note whether the processes are the same for newed and renewed memberships, or not.

  • Billing Options sets what happens when a membership enters the 'Pending Payment' state. There are two choices. Either payment must be received before the membership can move through the billing step, or a membership can pass through the billing step even though payment has not been received.

The interactions between these two options have a profound effect on your membership process, and it is important that you understand the process and its implications.

Table 29.2. Billing and Moderation Workflow Scenarios

Steps Requirements for Passing to Approved State Possible Outcomes
Moderated Only Moderator approval required Only moderator-approved memberships are in the Approved state.
Billed only Payment required Only paid memberships are in the Approved state.
Payment optional Passes billing step automatically. Memberships in the Approved state can be paid or unpaid.
Billed then Moderated Payment required, then moderator approval Moderator doesn't receive a moderation request until membership fees are paid, but can access the application, complete payment, then approve the membership. All memberships in the Approved state are paid and moderator-approved.
Payment optional, moderator approval required Passes billing step automatically, so moderator receives moderation request whether fees are paid or not. Moderator can hold for payment or approve at moderator's discretion. Memberships in the Approved state are moderator-approved, but may be paid or unpaid.
Moderated then Billed Moderator approval required, then Payment required If a moderator approves the application, the bill is issued. All memberships in the Approved state are paid and moderator-approved. This is not as common as the Billed then Moderated scenarios.
Moderator approval required, then Payment optional If a moderator approves the application, the bill is issued, but the membership automatically passes to the Approved state. Memberships in the Approved state moderator-approved, but fees may be paid or unpaid. This is not common, but is sometimes used by an organization that is only nominally funded through membership fees, and whose primary goal is to amass the largest possible membership.


There are two billed membership configurations under which memberships can automatically enter the Approved state without being paid: 'Billed Only (payment optional)' and 'Moderated then Billed (payment optional)'. Unpaid memberships can also be approved at moderator discretion on sites with the 'Billed then Moderated (payment optional)' configuration. If you are administrating a website with one of these configurations, see the section on Managing Overdue Payments.

Workflow Variations in Specific Membership Types

These settings are global, but they don't necessarily apply to every membership type on your organization's website. To determine the rules for specific membership types, you have to view each type through the Manage Company Membership Types tool or Manage Individual Membership Types tool.

For each type, review the following settings:

Table 29.3. Analyzing Membership Type Workflow

Configuration Option Description
Application Form Availability This affects the way that a new membership can be created. If these options are enabled, members can apply for this membership through online forms. If they are disabled, memberships of this type can only be added by administrators.
Duration Duration can affect the membership workflow in certain situations. A Lifetime membership doesn't expire, so once the membership is Approved and enters the Current state, this kind of membership doesn't expire. Duration affects end-of-life processes such as auto-renewal and expiration, as described in the next two options.
Auto-Renewal In an auto-renewed membership type, a new membership is added in a pending state some set period of time before the current membership expires. If there are auto-renewed membership types on your organization's website, see the Concepts document on Auto-Renewal.
Expired Memberships These options control what happens at the end of the membership workflow, when it expires and is eventually archived. The first option sets the grace period during which the member continues to enjoy some level of website access. The second option dictates what happens when any grace period expires and the membership is archived. For more information, see the Concepts document on End-of-Membership Processes.
Moderation Process

The Moderation Process section on the Edit Details form controls whether each membership type is actually moderated or not, and whether new and/or renewing members are moderated. If your organization moderates any membership requests, and most do, then new members are almost certainly moderated. Renewing members are not necessarily moderated for every membership type, but they can be.

This option interacts to some extent with Application Form Availability. For example, if a Basic membership type is displayed to new members on application forms, and is moderated for new members, then new members could sign up for the Basic membership, but would have to be approved. Moderation could be disabled for renewing members to make the renewal process easy for both the renewing member and Organization Admins.

Imagine the next membership level in this hierarchical membership structure is called Contributor. If the organization wants to keep the Contributor membership more exclusive, it can disable this option from appearing to new members on application forms. If the organization doesn't want Basic members to be able to upgrade to Contributor without organization approval, it can moderate both new and renewing members, but this means all current Contributor members will also be moderated when they renew. Alternatively, Application Form Availability could be completely disabled for the Contributor membership type, so all new Contributors would be added by administrators and renewals for current Contributor members could be handled through auto-renewal.

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Tips for Managing and Moderating Memberships

Membership Moderation Requests

When a membership application reaches the moderation step, a single moderation request email is sent to Organization Admins. This email contains a link you can click to be taken to a tool where you can moderate this application. There is only one request sent per membership application, so if you do not respond to this request, the membership application will stay in the pending memberships queue until you act on it.

It is a good idea to visit the pending memberships queue on a regular basis to see if there are any membership applications sitting in the queue that require moderator attention. Depending on whether your organization has company memberships or individual memberships, you'll see links to the Company Membership Applications or the Individual Membership Applications tools displayed on the Kavi Members Admin Tools menu. All pending memberships are displayed in these tools, including those that are pending billing or pending start date (so you may not be able to "moderate" every one.

Managing Membership Processes Manually

Administrators may add memberships manually or moderate a single application and walk through the moderation and billing steps. When paying a bill, one of the available options allows the administrator to mark a bill as paid without issuing an invoice, and others can be used to reset the membership start or end dates. You may only need to use these options in exceptional circumstances, but they are available if needed. Remember that you can add an Activity Note to record the reason for this exception if you like.

Why You Want to Enable Scheduled Email

Kavi Workspace is designed to give administrators tremendous latitude over administrative processes, including memberships. In most Admin Area Tools used to manage memberships, you will be presented with a list of Scheduled Emails that are triggered by the changes you have made in the organization's member and membership data. These notifications are disabled by default, so as an administrator, you have to select the messages you would like to send out. Administrators who pass through this screen too quickly without considering what kinds of notification the user may require are likely to find themselves fielding support requests later.

The easiest and most effective way to provide user notification is to select the appropriate message on the Send Email step. Any Scheduled Email notifications that would essentially be duplicates of the most relevant email notification can be ignored. Make sure you look at the recipients before ignoring what appears to be a duplicate message, because if the messages go to different sets of recipients, they aren't actually duplicates. You can also manually combine information from any other relevant messages into the message you intend to send by customizing the message in the body of the email.

For example, if you moderated a company membership application, and changed the company address, you might be presented with a 'New Company Welcome' and a 'Company is Edited' Scheduled Email on the Send Email step. You could select just the 'New Company Welcome', which is the most important and relevant of the two messages, then type a note into the body of the message saying that you updated the company address as requested.

When you approve applications through the bulk moderation tools (i.e., Company Membership Applications or Individual Membership Applications), a welcome email is automatically sent out. If you deny applications through these tools, Scheduled Email isn't sent unless your organization has an Application is Denied email, which is unlikely. You can check on this through the View Email Schedule tool. If you do want to send a message to someone whose application you must deny, click the Manage link for this application and you will be provided with an opportunity to send a message.

Managing Overdue Payments

If you are managing a site with optional billing, such as 'Billed Only (payment optional)', 'Moderated then Billed (payment optional)' or even 'Billed then Moderated (payment optional), you may need to follow-up with organization members who have overdue bills.

The Scheduled Email tools in Kavi Billing can be configured to send out reminders when bills are 30 or 60 days overdue, but if you want to deactivate overdue accounts at some point, you will have to do this manually.

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Membership Workflow State Messages

Members visiting the My Account and My Company pages see different instructions and tool links, depending on what state their membership is in. Here are some examples.

Table 29.4. Sample Membership Workflow State Messages

Membership State Message
Pending Bill Payment Link to pay bill is displayed at the top of the page. Below the membership is the message "Please pay for this membership by clicking the 'Pay Bill' link above."
Pending Moderation

Displays custom message set through Membership Types configuration tools in the Super Admin area, or default text "Your request is being reviewed. If you have any questions, please contact: $org_admin_email. Thank you, $org_name Administration."

'$org_admin_email' is the email alias or address of the Organization Admin, and '$org_name' is the name of the Organization Admin.

Current "Your membership is current. You can now log in to the Members Area to manage your membership. If you need a new password, visit the Password Help page to have a login link sent to you by email."
Expired, Archived "Your membership has expired. Visit the Renew Membership online form to renew your membership now."
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