Let's start this article off with a disclaimer: Knowing the data model relationship between a Membership and Accounts within the Join It system is not required to use the system. In fact, most of our users will happily use Join It with out understanding the nuance -- however, some more complex Organizations will benefit from a deeper understanding. Which is the point of this article.
Accounts represent individual persons and their relationship with an Organization.
Accounts are identified and consolidated by a unique email address.
Accounts can own multiple Memberships
Accounts have passwords to login to Join It
Accounts can have a payment method (e.g. a tokenized credit card) to make payments
Memberships represent the relationship between an individual person and an Organization/Membership Type
Memberships have statuses (Prospective, Pending, Active, Canceled, and Expired)
Memberships fall under a Membership Type, have a Date Joined, and an Expiration Date.
Memberships carry information for default fields (e.g. Address, Company, Job Title, etc.) and custom fields.
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 Accounts
Accounts represent the relationship between an account, identified by an email address, and an Organization. So when email@example.com purchases a single Membership, an Account is created between this email address and the respective Organization.
Account Scenario A: If firstname.lastname@example.org purchases a Membership in January (then a resulting Account is automatically created) and then email@example.com purchases a second Membership using the same email address - the system will assign the newly created Membership to the existing Account based on an email match.
Account Scenario B: If firstname.lastname@example.org purchases two memberships (one for him and one for email@example.com in the same transaction), then the system will create 1 Account (using the membership information in the first position on the checkout form). Because the Account is firstname.lastname@example.org, when email@example.com logs into their member portal - then will see both Memberships.
Definition of Memberships
Memberships are the core kernel of Join It. A Membership relates to a Membership Type, an Organization, and is owned by a single Account (though, an Account can have multiple Memberships).
It's the Memberships object that carries a Status (Prospective, Pending, Active, Canceled, or Expired), an Expiration Date, and the collected information (default fields and custom fields).
Definition of Membership Types
Membership Types are created on behalf of Organizations, and determine how Memberships are created. 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.