9 Best Free and Open Source Membership Management Software Products

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No one can argue—getting things for free is awesome!

Whether it’s a brand new car or just a Chipotle burrito, free stuff makes you happy. So what if you could get something you need and would actually invest money in for free? Maybe something like…membership management software?

With membership management software, your nonprofit can, among other things, keep track of member applications and contact information, and send out email campaigns to keep members up to speed on all that is happening.

Smaller organizations sometimes don’t have the money for large and expensive systems, but luckily there are lots of free and open source software tools out there for you to use.

I’ve put together a list of the best free membership management software out there for you to compare and contrast. Software options are listed in alphabetical order.

This article looks at nine highly rated free membership management software options. See the full list of free membership management software solutions here.

1. Admidio 

admidio

Admidio is a basic open source management software available on SourceForge that focuses on general management, and that can be applied to membership and event management. Although basic on the surface, the features of Admidio range from membership list creation and management to integration with online postings and advertising.

Pros/Cons:

Admidio covers many of the key features of membership management software. It can keep your lists updated, integrates with Excel and can export in .pdf format, and it allows posting online and advertising to your member lists.

However, it does not come packaged with many of the bells and whistles included with other software options, such as Wild Apricot. It does not include payment processing, automatic renewals, or accounting. You may want to consider additional software to supplement these functions.

Features:

  • Event notifications
  • Excel integration
  • Member database
  • Member profiles

2. BigTent

Bigtent

BigTent is an online platform and subsidiary of care.com, that allows users to manage multiple groups all in one place. They provide a secure network where members can interact with one another and stay informed and involved in their groups’ activities. The majority of their customers are like-minded groups, social clubs, small organizations, and the like. BigTent is free for any number of members, but does charge a per transaction fee of 4.9% + $0.49 if you need to take payments through it.

Pros/cons:

BigTent offers payment processing and unlimited free photo and file sharing as well as more general functionality to manage your membership. BigTent is great for small groups and organizations with a small budget and not many people or the time to manage complicated software—they have a customer support page to help you through it yourself. It’s very basic and simple to use and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. However, they don’t give you a custom domain, and they also charge transaction fees.

Features:

  • Calendars
  • Dues management
  • Member applications
  • Member database
  • Member subgroups
  • Payment processing

3. ClubMaster

ClubMaster

ClubMaster is an open source membership management system written in PHP (a code language similarly built to HTML). It’s not as pretty as some of the other programs in this list (due to the bare bones code build), but the functionality is still there.

Its goal is to make a complete membership solution that is free for all, and contains a long list of useful features. It’s licensed under a Beerware license (a very relaxed license), so you can do everything that you want with the software.

Pros/cons:

ClubMaster, in addition to the inherent customizability of being open source, includes shop/order management and integrates with QuickPay. That said, it also means they have very limited support (there is a mailing list for support questions) so you may run into problems with installing and running the software unless you or someone else in your organization is tech savvy.

Additionally, as the software has not been updated since 2014, I wouldn’t expect much in the realm of support.

Features:

  • Admin and user interface
  • Calendars
  • Dashboard
  • Gravatar integration
  • Member database
  • Membership auto renewal
  • Online shop management
  • Role management
  • Team membership subscription

4. GroupSpaces

GroupSpaces

GroupSpaces provides technology to manage membership, activities, and promotion online through a free group website. Their main customers are mostly student groups, social groups, and small organizations. They are free up to 50 members, and they begin charging $7.99/month when you get to 200 members.

Pros/cons

GroupSpaces provides ticketing, the ability to create a custom domain or integrate with your current website, as well as manage events. However, they have a very simple back end and they do not integrate with QuickBooks or any other accounting package. It is also worth noting that we attempted to reach them several times with no success. This may be an indication of low customer service levels.

Features:

  • Custom newsletters
  • Email archive
  • Email subscriptions
  • Event manager
  • File repository
  • Group mailing list
  • Member database
  • Membership forms
  • RSVPs

5. MembersGear

MembersGear

MembersGear is a free open source membership software that provides you with all the tools to easily administer a membership or subscription web business. Its PHP software allows you to integrate and configure your own design with their management system.  MembersGear also offers paid plugin features, if you decide to expand your uses of the software.

Pros/cons:

MembersGear supports member affiliate programs, unlimited groups, and product selling. It’s free and downloadable, and is ideal for managing a subscription-based membership website. However, similar to ClubMaster, support, although free, is limited given that it’s open source, and unless you’re tech savvy you may encounter some problems.

Features:

  • Dashboard
  • Excel integration
  • Member database
  • Member email notifications
  • Website widgets and plugins

6. MemberPlanet

Memberplanet

 

MemberPlanet is web-based software that provides everything for you to manage your group in one place. It’s used by a wide variety of groups, and is completely free up to 100 campaign emails and 100 surveys. They begin charging $5/month once you surpass those numbers.

Pros/cons:

MemberPlanet has donation campaigns, integrates with QuickPay, has online surveys, and has different types of support available among quite a few other options.

Features:

  • Dues management
  • Fundraising
  • Event management
  • Mobile capabilities
  • Newsletters
  • Member text messaging
  • Member database
  • Targeted distribution lists
  • Widgets for your website

7. Tendenci

tendenci

Tendenci is a much more in-depth open source software solution, covering the major features of membership management, such as payments, membership lists, donations, and email integration. The full version of the software is available for download on GitHub.

Pros/Cons:

Tendenci is feature- and option-rich, to be sure. However, as with all open source software, it does require some technical expertise to get it up and running.  That said, if you don’t want to handle implementation yourself, hosting and support are available as packages purchased on the Tendenci website.

Features:

  • Email marketing
  • Event registration
  • Jobs board
  • Member database
  • Member subgroups

8. Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot

Wild Apricot is web-based software for small associations and non profits to help manage membership, website, events, and other activities. It runs through a web browser without needing to install anything on your local computer. Their focus is small organizations and they have a mix of free and paid options. The free option is free for one admin and up to 50 members. They charge $25/month when you get to 250 members.

Pros/cons:

Wild Apricot offers custom domains and integrates with QuickBooks as well. It has good support (and has some great resources and user reviews), even with the free option, and is very customizable. However, if your organization grows rapidly you will quickly outgrow the free version and have to pay monthly fees.

Features:

  • Automated membership renewals
  • Member database
  • Membership applications
  • Membership database customization
  • Widgets for your website

9. Zenbership (addition)

Zenbership

Who doesn’t love penguins? Already Zenbership has me hooked with their clean website and quality presentation. This presentation doesn’t end with their website as their software also offers a clean, modern, and easy-to-understand user interface. Zenbership not only offers your standard membership management features, but also includes free event management, social media marketing, and email subscription options.

Pros/Cons:

Zenbership has to be one of the cleanest and most expansive open-source membership management programs I have come across. However this quality comes at a price. The software itself is free, however installation isn’t simple and requires web-hosting on your own Linux-based servers. If you are savvy with technology, then Zenbership won’t present any issues, however for those who aren’t as savvy, Zenbership does offer help for a price.

Features:

  • Automated membership renewals
  • Email marketing
  • Event management
  • Excel integration
  • Member database
  • Payment processing

Other nonprofit software options

Since many nonprofits run on a limited budget (most of which stems from donations), free tools and software are always a welcome addition. Luckily, at Capterra we specialize in building lists of free and open source software for all sorts of industries, nonprofits included.

Other open source solutions to consider are CiviCRM and Ebase, which I discuss in further detail here.

If you are looking for other free software options to consider, here are a few lists I’ve put together on the Capterra nonprofit blog:

On the other hand, if your nonprofit is looking to move into paid software options with more features and support, I have several lists for that as well:

Looking for Membership Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Membership Management software solutions.

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Nick Morpus

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Nick Morpus is a former Capterra analyst.

Comments

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Guys
Can anyone please suggest me which is the best software for non profit social Community members data base. I just want the basic information name, email and address. DOB of member, date of membership, volunteer record, membership dues for the year. etc.

Thank you

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Hi Emanuel,

I’ve tried to narrow down a list of freemium options for you that have the features you’ve outlined. Take a look: https://www.capterra.com/membership-management-software/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&pricing_model%5B2%5D=true&feature%5B3%5D=38422&feature%5B7%5D=19471&feature%5B10%5D=19472&commit=Apply+Filters&sort_options=

If you find software that you think best fits your needs, feel free to reach out to them to get more information! Let me know if we can help with anything else!

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Can you please give more insight on the sites and recommend which will be the best to use for a chapter event of 100 plus?
If possible let me know by 6 July.

What we need:
* A way to automate the roster so each member can change keep up their information.

* A way to export info into excel 

* A way to accept dues and it show how has paid and not paid

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Hi Melanie,

While I can’t endorse any single one of these products, a good way to find out if a software solution is a great fit for your nonprofit is to contact the software companies with your individual use case. They will be able to tell you if they can meet your individual needs. Please let me know if you need help finding contact information for any of the vendors on this list, or with anything else during your software search!

Very best,
Tirena

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We are a small non profit community and social club and I am looking for free membership software that is easy to use (some of our Board members are not tech savvy people) …. best ones to use?

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Hey there,

I am wondering if you might have a software suggestion for me. I operate a pottery studio, and I need a very simple way to have members check in when they drop in at the studio. There is no booking process, they can come whenever they want. What I’m looking for is either an iPad with software or a tag they can scan to just check in, and their membership can be set to either ‘active’ or ‘inactive’. I’ve been searching and haven’t found anything like this!! I don’t need to be able to sell memberships on the software, just handle check-ins.

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Hi,

Is there any opensource subscription management software which can be installed on Windows?

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Very good your article. I’m looking for alternatives to Ning. I’ll test some suggestions. Thank you

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I am looking for a system (hosted, Saas) where I can run several
email lists on a
subscription base (list members have to pay per year for being on the list)
aka subscription (paid) based email list membership
for 10000 subscribers.
I do not find here the information which software supports these (basic) features.
any suggestions?

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Thanks very much for the list… test some of them and Admidio so far appears to be easy to get around with and modify.

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Try PoolPass … free for up to 50 members. Simple, no website required.

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I will be starting a nonprofit organization to provide academic services and resources to homeless K-12 students. I am NOT tech savvy and need to find, preferably a free membership software option, to manage approximately 250 student members. Students will create profiles and have to log in to access services/resources. Among the resources available to students will be an online school supply store where students “shop” free of charge, so no payments will be processed. What would be our best option? Please advise. Thanks.

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I like others on the thread, need a solution that is COMPANY based, not individual based. Is there ANY solution out that was first built on the company model? There are many who say they are, but it was an afterthought. If there is not, here is an opportunity. Instead of having each person start with their own email addresses, have them start with the company’s domain name, then go from there, ie swta.org

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Many optins here like Wild Apricot are not open source. They chatge you monthly fees and they host it in a cloud

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Hi,

I am from India. I am part of a non-profit magazine which has subscriptions, to whom we mail the hard copy of magazine. At present, we manage the list of subscriptions on paper. To save a lot of energy, we want to switch to software. Is there an open source software, on which we can manually enter all the details of subscription for example, name, address, contact details , subscription date and subscription duration and then, on the eve of new issue of magazine, we can filter out the subscriptions which are about to expire?

Regards,
Akhil

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Excellent blog article just recently discovered as a result of having only within the past year become web tolerant. The comments are just as beneficial given they provide insight into what people have experienced and the answers offer more options.

My sole criticism of the article is there is no explanation at the very start as to what all of these options have in common: all provide access to their system that puts THEM — not you, the customer and club owner, as it ought to be — in control over the membership! This is a major, major potential problem. I’ve taught myself how to code and am in the process of creating my own platform to meet only my needs from the start, which is scalable — as our membership club grows, so does our system.

All of these limited software platforms are a disservice and cleverly marketing free services to get a club to trust them, then become hooked to them, then when the club is dependent on their system and established, the free option is removed like a rug under your feet and there is a word for this: deception/ horrendous business service.

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You can check out our booking management software.

https://www.goplayr.com/Manager/signup

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GymMaster’s trial is free and unlimited in members – and build specifically membership management in the health & fitness industry. Take a look at https://www.gymmastersoftware.com

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We are looking for a software tool to be used by several high school booster programs under the umbrella PA. Is there a tool that will allow that type of customization? Would it be better for each booster to have their own subscription?

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Anyone have a membership management solution with easy integration to Zapier?
Or, integration to a learning management system like Thinkific?

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Hello,
I am looking for a suitable software for a social movement of about 100 persons that will grow to up a million within the next two years.
Which of these will be the best bet?

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Hi, I work for a nonprofit company in Thailand- we train underprivileged youth in socially contributing topics (family, environment, and social issues). We have already trained almost 1,000 youth during the past 3 years and we want to manage the list of members we have so we can reach out to them quickly and easier than with what we have been doing. We don’t have membership fees, I wonder if we need any software to help on his or are there any tools on any websites we can use? I would really appreciate if there are any comments or suggestions on this. Thanks so much!

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Great list!
I am considering creating a separate site which I will make it be of membership type and remain with my content site. I will then send people to the membership site (in the same niche) until this one start moving on its own.
Would you advise creating it on a subdomain of the content site or to create a totally separated domain for the membership site?

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Looking to set up an alumni database with job title, graduating year, contact info, job sector. We want to allow younger alumni to connect with older alumni for mentoring, the database should be easily sorted by field, job and graduating year etc.

What site would be best for this?

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One potential pitfall for all the above software, is the software used by the hosting company that will host your membership software.

Our Family History Society used Fasthosts to host our website, and Account Manager Lite to manage our membership, and give our members access to the members’ only part of the website where we keep all our data files and back copies of our hjournal.

Fasthosts ‘upgraded’ their Apache server software, which stopped support of several dependencies, and our Account manage Lite stopped working, members couldn’t log in, and the Administrator was locked out. This was all due to paths to PERL being changed, and other issues concerning versions of PHP. Fasthosts was not interested in helping with 3rd party software residing on their servers, and the people at Account Manager Lite did not even respond to a request for help for the free version of their software, and have an expensive technical support service.

What is really need is a hosting company that also provides membership management facilities, so there is no passing the buck when problems happen, or when they decide to upgrade or change their hosting software.

Can anyone recommend such a company?

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Sorry to butt in again, but we just published a full guide on how to use Wild Apricot’s free account that might help: http://www.wildapricot.com/blogs/newsblog/2017/01/31/free-membership-management-software-wild-apricot 🙂

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Hi,
I’m looking for software to manage a not for profit charity membership who provide support services for children with Down Syndrome up to the age of 16. We are looking for a free service as we are completely self funding and any additional cost would take funds away from critical services.
I need to be able to manage basic member info, joining date, personal details, dietary requirements and be able to send donation reminders for annual subscriptions and event ticket fees plus share fundraising event details. We already have a facebook page and a website that if possible we could link to.
Do you have any suggestions on the best option for software? We have around 90 members currently and are expanding continually.
Thanks
Jo

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So great to see Wild Apricot at the top of the list! Thanks 😀

For anyone interested, here’s a full list of Wild Apricot’s free/paid features: http://www.wildapricot.com/pricing

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Can you give me to low cost membership software list ?

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I need to scan barcoded key tags with basic member information behind them. Have a welcome screen where members can scan in and out, and we capture their visits with a time/date stamp. Is there a free program that does this? HELP!

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I just want to update that SilkStart is not free now. I am always looking for software like this, Thanks for sharing.

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Hi everyone,

I’m the co-founder of Raklet and we’re building the world’s leading online community management platform. You can manage your members, donors and any sort of contacts on our platform. It’s free up to 1000 contacts as we’d like to support small organizations. It’s still affordable if you have less than 2,500 contacts which is only $79/month.

Please checkout our reviews on Capterra as well.

https://www.raklet.com

Thanks,

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Hi.

I represent a white label solution provider for the sports industry. We would be interested to explore the possibility of creating a professional white label management platform, do you think there would be a market for something like this?

Thanks!

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Hey Leah,

I’ve got one more:
GumRoad.com
it may not be the best platform in this world, but I like it and find it very useful (at least for now).

Best regards,
Milan

[…] But before choosing any membership management software you should be aware of the features of a great membership management software. […]

[…] to management membership software is easy. After purchasing you can either employ a non-technical staff manage the system. A good person […]

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Hiya, can you comment at all on the security on any of these? We are a small non-profit and have a membership that needs to be kept very private and could have safety implications for members if it were hacked. Does this mean that we would need to go with the costly databases?

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Re GroupSpaces, mentioned in above article. Take my advice and stay away from it! When we first used it (before the originators sold it a year or so ago), it was fine and customer support was ok. Now, there is NO customer support; no phone number; no help desk and all emails go unanswered! To top it off, it is now bouncing all emails sent to particular addresses, e.g. ‘hotmail’, so we have no way of communicating with all our members.

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Hey …….

thanks everyone for your splendid work and with all the information about some different software that brings a difference in our society.
We really appreciate your effort and this platform.

well I’m a Secretary of a very small non profit organisation that has just started from the early February this year.
And I’m looking for a free app or software that can help us to create our logo as an organisation and some paperwork to keep the working process smooth ( i.e for events, campaign or other sort of perm flat ).

it must be able to run even in Southern Africa in terms of net work

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Hello I’m looking open source members management software or paid that can be place in our own server that has chat feature
Thanks

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