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Contacts vs members

Everyone in your Wild Apricot database is a contactA contact can be one or more of the following:

  • Member – a contact with membership assigned (i.e. belongs to a particular membership level)
  • Event attendee – anyone registered for at least one event
  • Donor – a contact who has made at least one donation
  • Plain contact – a contact with no membership, donations, or events associated with them (e.g. a newsletter subscriber)

A member is a special type of contact:

  • They are assigned to a specific membership level
  • Members can be given special access to member only pages and events.
  • They have special membership-related fields such as renewal date and member status.
  • They can be listed in a member directory.
  • They can be organized into member groups.

Information about contacts are stored in separate records in your contact database. Each record stores different chunks of information about each contact in fields (e.g. first name, last name, email address).

Wild Apricot database fields are divided into two types: common fields – fields that apply to all records (e.g. first name, last name, email address) – and additional fields that only apply to membership applications, event registrations, or donations. 

Turning contacts into members

To turn a contact into a member, simply assign a membership level to the contact from the Membership tab on their contact record. To convert multiple contacts into members, assign membership levels in bulk through the export and import process.

Turning members into contacts

To remove membership and turn a member into an ordinary contact, just suspend the membership. This contact is free to then re-apply using the online application form.


Video: Understanding member and contact statuses
 (7:30)

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