Membership application form

Using a membership application form, visitors to your Wild Apricot site can apply for membership in your organization from their computer or mobile device.

The membership application form consists of two main parts: the initial screen where the applicant choose a membership level, and the membership application form.

The initial membership application screen is automatically populated using the membership levels you have set up. 

The membership application form that follows is automatically assembled using the common fields and membership fields you have set up. The instructions for setting up your membership levels, common fields, and membership fields appear in the sections below. As well, you can adjust the membership application gadget settings to control which membership levels appear on the form.

You can have multiple membership application forms on your site, and adjust the settings on each application form so that only specific membership levels are shown.

Membership application forms – like other site content – are inserted as gadgets, in this case, a membership application gadget. You cannot add a membership application gadget – or any other singular gadget – to a page template or system page, or to a page containing another singular gadget.

You can embed a Wild Apricot membership application form into another website using widgets.

Once the application is submitted by a prospective member, a new record is automatically added into your database and a number of automatic actions take place. Among other actions, an application invoice is generated, and password emails are sent. 

If the chosen membership level requires payment or administrator approval before activation, then an application initiation email is sent. Otherwise, the member activation email will be sent. Until the membership is activated, the applicant will have a status of Pending - New.

Setting up the membership application form

Setting up the membership application form involves the following steps.

Setting up membership levels

You can create as many membership levels as you want, each with its own pricing, subscription periods, and renewal policies. To set up your membership levels, click the Levels option under the Members menu. A membership level will appear on the membership application form if its Public can apply option is enabled. For more information, see Membership levels.

Setting up database fields

The fields that appear on the detail page of the membership application form are drawn from your membership fields and common fields. You can create custom membership fields and restrict them to specific membership levels. You can also create common fields that apply to all Wild Apricot forms (for example, event registration forms).

Common fields and membership fields will appear on your membership application form even if the Others access setting for that field is set to No access, and even if that field is set to No access on the Member privacy settings screen.

To create or customize membership fields, hover over the Members menu and click the Membership fields option. To create or customize common fields, hover over the Contacts menu and click the Common fields option.

You can add field instructions to explain what each field on the membership application form represents.

To allow or require membership applicants to upload files as part of the membership application process, you can create a file attachment field as a membership field or common field. For more information on using file attachment fields, click here.

For more ideas on ways you can use file attachments to benefit your organization, click here.  

Setting up online payments

To enable online payments for the membership application form:

  1. Click the Settings menu and select the Payment settings option (under Your account).
  2. Check the Enable online payment option.
  3. Select an online payment system and provide your account details.

For more information, see Online payments.

Adding a membership application gadget

To add a membership application form to a page on your Wild Apricot site, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Sites pages (within the Website module) and create or begin editing the site page where you want the application form to appear.
  2. Click the Gadgets icon to display the list of available gadgets.
  3. Drag the membership application gadget from the list, and drop it where you want it to appear on the page. You can insert it into a section within a layout, or above or below a layout. 
    When a layout cell or placeholder is empty, a Drop gadget or layout here prompt will be displayed. When you drag a gadget over an empty layout cell or placeholder, it turns green, indicating that you can drop the gadget there. When you drag a gadget above or below a layout, a prompt will appear indicating that you can drop the gadget before or after the layout.
  4. After you have dropped the gadget in the desired location, hover your pointer over it and click the Settings icon. 
  5. From the gadget settings panel on the left, choose the desired settings for your membership application form. Among other things, you can control which membership levels are available. For more information, see below.
  6. Click Save to save the changes to the page.

For instructions on restricting access to the page, see Page access and visibility.

Adjusting membership application form settings

Now that you have added a membership application gadget to your page, you can adjust the gadget settings.

Gadget settings appear in a panel on the left side (which can be hidden to maximize the page design area). To display the settings panel, you position your pointer over the gadget – while editing a site page or a page template – then click the gadget's Settings icon.

The following settings are available for membership application gadgets:

Membership levels
Choose the membership levels to be included on the application form, and the order in which you want them to appear. You can sort membership levels alphabetically or by price, in ascending or descending order, or you can choose the Manual sorting option...

...and determine the order manually by dragging and dropping levels within the list.

The amount of space – in pixels – that appears outside the gadget. You can set top, bottom, left, and right margins separately.

Within the Advanced section, you can enter CSS code or classes to further control the appearance and behavior of the gadget.

Adding a description

You can add a description to your membership application form by inserting a content gadget ahead of the membership application gadget. Within the content gadget, you can add a title and description, and format them using text styles. For more information on adding and formatting text, see Using the content editor.

Adjusting colors and fonts

You can change the colors and text styles used on your membership application form from the Colors and styles screen. For a complete list of the elements you can modify, click here.

Any changes you make will be applied to other gadgets that use the same settings.

Setting up membership discounts

Discounts for online membership applications can be set up using membership discount coupons.

You cannot use membership discount coupons for free membership levels, or for levels that use automatic recurring payments.

To create a discount for membership applications, click the Settings menu then click the Discounts option within the Members section. From the Discount coupons screen, you can create discount coupons, and enter or generate the coupon code.

For more information, see Discounts for online membership applications.

Using the membership application form

There can be several steps involved in applying for membership in your organization.

Selecting the membership level

If there are multiple membership levels, the first step of the application process is selecting the membership level.

Only membership levels with the Public can apply setting enabled will appear. (You may have created levels where members can only be added manually by an administrator. For more information, see Membership levels.)

For each membership level, the following information is displayed:

  • Subscription period
  • Renewal policy
  • Description

Entering an email address

The next step is to enter an email address. If enabled, a Captcha anti-spam section will appear.

If the applicant's email address already exists in your contact database – because they had registered for an event or made a donation – they will be prompted to log in before proceeding.

Filling in details

After clicking the Next button, the prospective member enters membership details in the fields provided. The fields are drawn from the following sources:

  • Common fields – These fields are common to all contacts and forms and display regardless of the level being applied to.
  • Membership fields – These are additional fields that apply to members only. All custom membership fields can be restricted to specific member levels only so different member levels can have different fields.

The common fields are shown at the top while the membership fields are shown below.

If the selected membership level that has a discount code associated with it, a Discount code field will appear on the detailed application form where the applicant can enter the discount code.

Finalizing the application

What happens next depends on the payment method chosen when the membership level was set up.

  • If only offline payment was enabled, then the applicant will have the option of canceling or confirming the application. If the applicant clicks the Confirm button, an invoice will be emailed to them, and a membership application summary will be displayed. From the application summary, the applicant can choose to view or pay the outstanding invoice.
  • If only online payment is enabled, then a Pay online button will appear. Clicking the Pay online button will take the applicant to the online payment screen for your site's payment provider.
  • If both online and offline payment is enabled, then two buttons will be displayed: Pay online and Invoice me. Clicking the Pay online button will take the applicant to the online payment screen for your payment provider. Clicking the Invoice me button will result in the applicant being emailed an invoice – which they can pay online or offline – and a membership application summary being displayed. From the application summary, the applicant can choose to view or pay (online) the outstanding invoice.
When paying using PayPal Payments Pro, the Pay online button with be replaced with two buttons: Pay with credit card, and PayPal Express checkout.

In all cases, a new contact record is added to your database. Depending on your membership level settings, the application may have to be approved by administrator option and/or payment may have to be received in full before the membership is activated.

As well, a number of emails may be automatically sent to the applicant:

  • An invoice is automatically generated. An invoice email will only be sent if the online payment is not completed within 15 minutes of submitting the membership application. Within your invoice and receipt settings, you can disable invoice emails completely.
  • A password is automatically generated and emailed. The password email can be customized by clicking the Settings menu then clicking the Password email option (under Emailing).
  • Depending on the membership level settings, an application initiation email can be sent.

If online payment is initiated but not completed, the transaction will stay marked In progress for 24 hours, after which it will be automatically marked as Probably abandoned. You can search for contacts with failed payment using the Attention required filter and typing abandoned into the search field.


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