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Membership management - a bit off-topic

If I stretch a little, this is a CityDesk issue: A small site, done by volunteers in an organization with bigger ambitions.

http://mlpa.org is a site I do for my neighborhood organization. They want to take credit cards for membership dues. They probably envision membership management on the web, that is, having a member database. (If y'all have any suggestions on either I'd be happy to hear them.)

The issue for me is Webmaster succession. I don't want to publish the site forever. I fear that the complications of credit cards and member management, even if provided by a service provider will lock me into managing the site forever.  And I'll have to train a succession of membership committees and treasurers how to use it, year after year.

On the other hand we could probably bring in some more dues and collect them faster, than we do now.

I need some advice and sympathy please.

tk
Monday, June 09, 2003

Have you considered PayPal?  They act as the middle man.  You don't need to store (and secure) Credit card numbers.  Your members can use all the typical credit cards.

PayPal is pretty easy to interface with.  See my first attempt at using PayPal at http://www.jamesdmacdonald.org.  It will give you an idea how it works if you haven't already tried it.  (It was its own company and gained a good rep by Ebay users.  So Ebay bought it!)

Joel Goldstick
Monday, June 09, 2003

I was gonna mention paypal.. they give you the scripts you need you add and remove members, but it requires some server side scripting on your part.

www.MarkTAW.com
Monday, June 09, 2003

Mark,

You are right about needing some server side code.  However, their documentation gives some cut and paste solutions.  Mine is using ASP but I think they show Perl or PHP solutions as well.

If one was to take credit card info without PayPal, that too would require server side coding (including accessing a database).

My IIS Host charges $15/month for server side capabilities.  I have seen the same for under $10, so the host cost isn't that bad.

Joel Goldstick
Monday, June 09, 2003

> If one was to take credit card info without PayPal, that
> too would require server side coding (including accessing
> a database).

And a merchant account to accept the credit cards in the first place.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

I just started looking at my paypal code on the site i mentioned.  I'm not so happy with it now.  It seems a bit broken - the "continue shopping" button seems not to work.

I realized though, no server side coding required.  Just setting up a form and posting to their page. 

Another article idea!

Joel Goldstick
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

> I realized though, no server side coding required.  Just
> setting up a form and posting to their page. 

That's not true. Paypal sends a confirmation to your server. Otherwise, how do you authenticate members?

There are some "tricks" you can use, like a confirmation page that's simply hidden from site, or a confirmation page that creates a new ID somehow, but the real way to do it is with some server side scripting.

They have a PDF about this.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Terry, I think you're right. Anything complicated will make it that much harder to pass the site off to someone else.  It is possible to use paypal without any server side scripting and that might provide some kind of middle ground for you.

We sell concert tickets and memberships from the Cornell Folk Song Club site using only paypal's email notification.  This work s quite well for us.

Ken McKinney
Tuesday, June 10, 2003

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