Did you know you can offer paid memberships through a simple online form?
If you thought offering online memberships was challenging because it involved a recurring payment each year (or month), you’d be wrong. Making a membership or subscription form with FormSmarts is (almost) as easy as making a one-time payment form.
Creating a Recurring Membership Form with FormSmarts
What Is a Recurring Membership?
Before discussing how to make a membership form, let’s first define what a membership is: A member of an organization or membership site may take part in the activities or otherwise claim the benefits exclusively offered by the organization or site to its members during the period of time covered by the membership (one year or month or any other period of time) by paying a membership fee. To remain an active member after the initial period of time, a member needs to pay again. Because most members want renew their membership, membership fees tend to be recurring payments.
When someone signs up for a recurring payment, also called subscription, they agree to be charged a fee at the time they subscribe and again after each period of time specified — until they cancel their membership.
How Can I Make a Recurring Membership Form?
The short answer is: simply by writing “Recurring Membership ($100 USD/year)” on a form. FormSmarts will understand that the person filling out the form should be charged US$100 each year for a membership called “Recurring Membership”.
Like with other types of payment forms, you may add a recurring fee to a form in a radio button option, check box, drop-down list option or text block.
FormSmarts supports the following recurring periods and (optional) number of installments:
- Recurring Monthly Subscription ($15 USD/month)
- Recurring 6-Month Membership ($60 USD/6 months)
- Recurring Yearly Membership ($100 USD/year)
- options: day(s), week(s), month(s), year(s)
Recurring Times/Number of Installments
- Quarterly Subscription (4 x $20 USD/3 months)
- Optional, if Recurring Times is not specified, the recurring payment runs until it is canceled
- Think of Recurring Times (4 in this case) as a number of installments
Multiple Recurring Fees
You may allow users to select more than one recurring fee on a form like on the membership form shown on the screenshot above (feel free to try the demo), but all fees must then have the same Recurring Period and Recurring Times.
When someone selects multiple fees, FormSmarts will charge them each time for the total amount.
Offering a Trial Period
Many membership sites offer new members a trial period allowing them to access the site at a low or no cost before having to pay the full membership fee. A fee with terms (i.e. Recurring Period and Recurring Times) different from the first recurring fee listed on a form is interpreted by FormSmarts as a trial period. Our membership form demo has a trial period.
Integration with Other FormSmarts Features
- If cloud storage is enabled, the details of a membership and all associated payments are listed on FormSmarts on the page corresponding to the initial form entry. A link is provided in every email notification.
- FormSmarts sends a confirmation email to the donator after each successful payment
- FormSmarts notifies the account owner when a recurring payment is received
We are pleased to announce that FormSmarts now also supports recurring donations. A recurring donation allows a contributor to sign up for a donation plan to give the same amount at regular intervals, typically every month or year.
Creating a Recurring Donation Form
- Add a text box with the field name formatted as My Donation ($ USD/month)
- Set the field’s Allowed Content (aka. data type) to Number
- In the Form Details screen of the form builder, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal using advanced integration.
FormSmarts supports the following variations:
- Cause Description ($ USD/month)
- Cause Description ($ USD/2 weeks)
- options: day(s), week(s), month(s), year(s)
- Cause Description (12 x $ USD/month)
- Think of Recurring Times (12 in this case) as a number of installments
- If Recurring Times is not specified, the recurring donation runs until it is canceled
Contribution to Multiple Causes
As illustrated on the screenshot above and in this demo, you may add multiple donation boxes to a form to give contributors the opportunity to choose the causes they wish to donate to and allow them to contribute to several causes in a single donation. In the example above, the donor is signing up to give a total of $300 each month; with $200 to support Project A and $100 going towards Projects B.
We’ve completely redesigned the user interface of our SuperCart shopping cart to provide a more refined and intuitive user experience.
What Is SuperCart?
SuperCart is FormSmarts’ shopping cart.
SuperCart allows a user to submit multiple payment forms — each with one or more priced items on it — and pay for all of them at the end.
A typical use case for SuperCart is to allow a customer to register an open-ended number of guests for an event:
- The customer first enters the information of the first participant and chooses the relevant registration options.
- Once the customer has submitted the form, all fees and priced options are listed in the shopping cart. In the example below, the registration options for the first guest include two fees: Standard Registration and Lunch & Dinner.
- The customer is presented with two choices on the confirmation page: Continue Shopping or Proceed to Payment
- He can submit the form again as many time as needed to register more participants
- Once done, he can pay for all registrations
How to Create a SuperCart Form
Building a SuperCart form is easy:
- Create a form with fees formatted like on any FormSmarts payment form.
- Set the Return URL of the form to the FormSmarts.com URL given by the form builder. If you prefer to embed the form onto your site (which we don’t recommend with SuperCart), use instead the URL of the page where the form is embedded.
- In the Form Details screen of the form builder, set the On Submission option to Integrate with PayPal using SuperCart.
If you haven’t already done so, remember to set up your PayPal account for payment integration.
Advanced Use Cases
Most users set up SuperCart to allow their customers to submit one specific form (e.g. registration form for event A) multiple times to register multiple participants, as presented in the scenario above.
SuperCart however allows different forms within the same cart. This would allow, for example, members of an organization to:
- Buy or renew their membership
- then register for a first event
- then register for a second event
- then pay for the total amount.
And of course, what works for one member works for several…
SuperCart also supports donations.
The new shopping cart is only available with the latest generation of FormSmarts forms. If you’re still using an older version, please update your site now.
We’ve updated the design of our forms. The new forms provide a superior user experience on all devices; mobile, desktop and smart TV.
How Can I Start Using the New Form Version?
If you’ve joined FormSmarts in the last three months, you are most likely already using the new version. Otherwise you need to migrate your forms to the new version:
- Visit the Settings Tab of the Form Builder and set Form Version to New
- Copy the new embed code snippet and update your site
- If you’re using standalone forms, use the new FormSmarts.com URL provided.
What Do You Think About the New Form Design?
Many FormSmarts members use our online forms within their organization, team or with external collaborators. With Private Forms, customers can now restrict who can submit a form to authorized users and identify the person who submitted each form entry.
Unlike other FormSmarts forms, a Private Form:
- can only be accessed and submitted by a user attached to the form owner’s account (find out how to add users to your FormSmarts account)
- each form entry is associated with the user who submitted it, who’s username is displayed in the email notification, PDF, online and Excel report.
Please try out this demo with the following login info:
- Account Alias: formsmarts_demo
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Password: 0TJN`ky#
The Agreement form widget allows you to add a waiver, liability release, agreement, or any other contract (terms & conditions, privacy statement, policy) to a form.
- A user can read the agreement inline in a scrollable area
- The text can be popped out to a larger window and even launched full screen
- We provide print and download buttons in the pop-up window
- Agreements are initially limited to 15,000 characters, please contact us if you need more.
Agreements are only available with the new generation of FormSmarts forms. You can set your account to the new forms in the Settings tab of the Form Builder.
As part of FormSmarts collaboration features, we’re introducing Routing Policies. Routing policies allow you to change the destination email address of a form each time it is submitted, depending on certain criteria.
Until recently the only option was for each email subscriber to receive a copy of the notification message when a form is submitted. FormSmarts now also supports alternative behaviors.
With User-Selected Recipient, users select to whom the form response is sent from a list on the form.
For example, a company might want to allow its customers to submit both sales and customer support inquires online. Customers should be able to choose on the form whether their inquiry is sent to the sales or customer support department.
With Round-Robin, form entries are sent to email subscribers in turn, thus automatically sharing the workload between collaborators in a team.
In the example below, four customers are submitting the same online form. The form was set up for round-robin routing between two colleagues, Clare and David. The first time the form is submitted it’s sent to Clare, the second time it’s sent to David, then to Clare again, then to David again, and so on.
Setting Up a Form’s Routing Policy
This short video shows how to set up a routing policy.
The steps are also listed below:
- Visit the Forms Tab of the form builder and click on the icon showing a pen corresponding to the form you would like to edit
- In the drop-down list under Form Subscribers, check all email addresses that you would like to take part in the routing policy (participants)
- Save changes
- Click Change email routing policy and select the relevant policy
- Save changes
The form builder provides both standard checkboxes and a dedicated checkbox list widget. Let’s review when you should use one or the other.
As illustrated below, a checkbox list is made of a question (field name in the form builder) and a number of checkboxes. Use a checkbox list whenever multiple choices are allowed in a list of items, as often occurs in online surveys and many other types of forms.
When you only need a single yes/no answer, a simple checkbox is all you need. For example, the field Subscribe to FormSmarts Demo mailing list on this mail list signup form uses a checkbox rather than a checkbox list to allow the user to subscribe to the mailing list.
Required Checkbox for Disclaimers & Waivers
Use a required (non-optional) checkbox whenever the form must have a disclaimer/waiver area where the person must “check” that they “agree to” before the form will allow for success submission. The checkbox text supports links and basic formatting.
As the year ends, we’ve updated the form builder to improve how users can organize their forms.
- Forms can now be classified into categories. You can set a category both when creating a new form and editing existing forms.
- A new function allows customers to filter forms shown in the Forms Tab of the form builder by category or enabled/disabled status.
We know those FormSmarts members who have created a number of forms along the years will appreciate this new feature. As always, we would very much appreciate your thoughts and feedback.
Happy holidays from the FormSmarts Team. We wish you a wonderful upcoming 2015.
FormSmarts now supports accounts with multiple users, allowing an account owner to give invited users access to selected online forms.
How to Enable Multiple User Accounts
- Set up an account alias
- Create users
- Manage user permissions
Set Up an Account Alias
Before allowing sub-users to sign in to FormSmarts, you first need to set up an alias for your account. The alias must be unique and easy for users to memorize. A good choice is probably your organization or department’s name. Users will need to enter the account alias on the log in screen. This short video shows how to create an alias with the API Console.
Create a User
As presented in the video tutorial below, the account administrator can create users with the API Console. The user’s email, with which she’ll be able to sign in, must have already been added to FormSmarts in the Settings Tab of the Form Builder and verified. The auto-generated password can’t be changed by the user at this time, but the account owner can easily reset it.
Manage User Permissions
For each form, a user can be granted permission to:
- access individual form entries online or download a PDF (e.g. from the link in email notifications)
- download form attachments (file uploads)
- generate Excel reports
- more options to be added
How to Sign In as an Invited User
We’ve updated the log in screen to allow all FormSmarts members to sign in on the same page. Account owners (aka account admins) can sign in in the usual way with their email address and password. Invited users also need to enter the account alias provided by their account admin as shown in this video.
Multiple users are available with our Business Plus package and above.