You might want to offer prospective members a chance to check out your site before committing to a paid membership. 

After the trial period is over, you can automatically switch them to a paid membership.

Setting up the trial membership level

To set up a free trial membership, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new individual membership level and call it something like "Free trial".
  2. Set the membership fee to zero.
  3. Make sure the Public can apply option is checked and choose the paid membership levels that you want your trial members to be able to switch to.
  4. Jump to the Renewal policy tab and choose the renewal period. For a 30-day trial, choose Monthly and Join date, and for a year-long trial, choose Every 1 year.
  5. To prevent trial members from renewing at this free level, go to the Limit renewals section and check the Limit renewal to 1 period ahead option, and set the next option to Limit renewal to within 1 days of expiration.
    Even with these options selected, trial members may be able to renew their free trial membership on the day before it expires.
  6. Under Renewal reminders and actions, uncheck all the pre-renewals options on the left, except the ones under 7 day(s) before renewal date. Make sure those checkboxes are checked. 
  7. Click the Renewal reminder email 2 link and customize the email template to encourage your trial members to switch to another level now, and to expect another email in another week if they don't.
  8. Within the first If not renewed within x days section, set the number of days to 0, so that the trial membership switches to a paid membership the moment it expires.
  9. Within that same section, check the Change membership level to option and select the paid membership level you want to automatically switch your trial members to.
  10. Check the checkboxes under Send grace period email notice to.
  11. Click the Grace period email notice link and customize the email template to let the member know that they have been automatically switched to the paid membership level you chose above. Within that email template, change the Renew your membership button label to something like Pay your membership fee.
  12. Under Renewal notifications (towards the bottom of the screen), uncheck the options under Renew pending email.
  13.  Under Renewal confirmed email, check only the Organization contact option, so that an administrator is notified if the trial member renews their free trial membership.
    You might want to customize the Renewal confirmed email so that its clear to the administrator receiving it that the trial member managed to renew before being automatically switched, and needs to be manually switched to a paid membership level.
  14. Since trial members will be automatically switched to the paid membership level you chose, you should review the renewal policy for that level to make sure it gives your trial members enough time to renew at the new level, and deals adequately with those who never pay for the new membership.
  15. Make sure the trial membership level is selected as one of the levels displayed by your membership application gadget.

Signing up for a trial membership

Once you've set up your trial membership level, visitors to your site can use it to start a trial membership. 

If enabled within your membership application gadget settings, the trial membership level will appear in the membership level list on the first of the membership application screens.

Once your trial member completes the application process, they can access their member profile, where an option will appear to change to a paid membership level.

On the day before their membership expires, an option will appear to renew their free membership level. If the trial member notices this and renews for free, a notification will be sent to the organization contact who can then manually switch the member to a paid level.

After the trial period is over, the member will be automatically switched to the paid membership level you selected above, and will receive the grace period email. Until they pay the new membership fee, they will have a status of Pending - Renewal.