Some organizations choose to sync up their member schedules, so that all members will expire on a certain date. The date of expiration often lines up with the end of the calendar year, but not always.
When an organization uses this concept of a fixed expiration date, they will also typically have 'enrollment periods' where they accept new members and allow existing members to renew for the following membership period.
While the majority of organizations using Join It will have 'rolling' membership periods, having fixed expiration dates is still common and comes with its own features.
Updating the Fixed Expiration Date
As a general rule, when you update the settings (such as Price, Duration/Expiration Date), it does not immediately affect the Membership that belong to this Membership Type.
Let's look at an example scenario with an Organization called "Survive Y2K". 😉
In this example, the organization had a Membership Type that set memberships to expire on Dec 31st 1999.
On January 1st 2000, they realized that they needed open up renewals for everyone that was interested in continuing their membership. So they went to update the Fixed Expiration Date on the Membership Type to Dec 31st 2000.
This does not immediately update the Expiration Dates of their existing Memberships. Those all stay at Dec 31st 1999 until they renew their memberships -- at that point, it will look at the settings on the respective Membership Type and set the Expiration Date to match.
Using Generic Names for Membership Types
A best practice for naming your Membership Types would be to use generic names that do not include the current year or enrollment period.
So instead of naming a Membership Type to be '1999 Gold Membership', you should use 'Gold Membership'.
The way to distinguish between folks who enrolled in 1999 and those that renewed for 2000 would be by the Expiration Date associated with each of their memberships.
Fixed Expiration Dates can not be in the past
Another important note is that a Membership Type's Fixed Expiration Dates should not be in the past. There shouldn't be a situation where members are able to join a Membership Type that has already past its Fixed Expiration Date.
The system does check for Membership Types that have Fixed Expiration Dates that are in the past and it moves the Fixed Expiration Date to be 1-year into the future.