Let's start this article off with a disclaimer -- knowing the data model relationship between a **member** and **membership** within the Join It system is not required to use the system.
In fact, we hope that most of our organizations will use the system while being blindly apathetic to the underlying data model of Join It because **it just works**.
However, we understand that many organizations have complex requirements for running their membership programs -- which is why we've built a distinction between Members and Memberships and why we're detailing this now.
*Members* represent individual persons and their relationship with an Organization.
*Members* are identified and consolidated by a unique email address.
*Members* can own multiple *Memberships*
*Memberships* represent the relationship between an individual person and an Organization/Membership Type
Both *Members* and *Memberships* carry separate statuses (prospective, pending, active, inactive).
Definition of Organizations
Organizations are the foundational data model within Join It. When a user signs up, they instantly create their Organization. Organizations will have associated membership types, members, profiles, and much more.
Definition of Members
Members represent the relationship between an individual, identified by an email address, and an Organization. So when firstname.lastname@example.org signs up for an Organization, we'll create a member record that represents email@example.com joining the Organization.
Definition of Memberships
Memberships represent the relationship between a member and a membership type. Members own memberships, and multiple memberships can be owned by a single Member (for example, I can be a Member who purchases two separate memberships at the same or different membership type).
Definition of Membership Types
Membership types are created on behalf of Organizations, and represent what your Members are joining. Basic traits of a membership type include: a duration (Annual, Monthly, Weekly, Custom), recurring (does it automatically re-bill), and a description.
Example of different membership types that organizations have created include: "Annual Student", "Gold Level", or "Basic". Membership types are very customizable to meet the needs of complex organizations.