Part I: Set Up Mail and Email Packages
If you're adding new letters or emails as part of your renewal process, you should first configure your letters and emails as packages in Altru prior to configuring your renewal process that you will run monthly. Note: If you only need to edit the content of existing letters or emails in your database, see our related solution here: How to edit membership renewal letters

  1. Create Your Mail Letter: If you would like to merge letters in your process, you will first need to create your letter in Microsoft Word using merge fields from Altru. 
    1. Step 1: Generate a Header File: ​The first step to creating your letter, will be to generate a header file. The header file will allow us to pull data from member records in Altru into our final merged letters.
      1. Go to Marketing and Communications
      2. Under Packages, click Export Definitions
      3. Highlight Membership Renewal Effort (Mail), click Generate Header File 
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      4. Save the .CSV file in a place where you can access it again. 
    2. Step 2: Compose Your Letter: Next, open or compose a membership renewal letter in Microsoft Word. To insert merge fields, follow these steps: 
      1. In Word, click on the Mailings Tab, then click Select Recipients and Use an Existing List  
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      2. Microsoft Word will then prompt you to open a file. Open the .CSV header file you saved in the previous step.  
      3. Another window will pop up to confirm the delimiters of your file. Your settings should appear as they do below. The Field delimiter will be a , and the Record delimiter will be (enter), then click OK
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      4. Click Insert Merge Field and select the merge field you'd like to add to your letter from the drop down. 
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      5. When your letter is complete, save your letter. Important: The file must be a .docx file. 
    3. Step 3: Upload Letter to Altru: Once your letter is created and saved, you will upload the letter to Altru. 
      1.  Go back to Marketing and Communications and click Letters.
      2. Click on Add a membership renewal letter       
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      3. In the next screen, name your letter (for example: 1 month before expiration letter) and add a description if needed. 
      4. Under Export definition, select the export definition you generated the header file for: Membership Renewal Effort (Mail). 
      5. Under File, click the green arrow icon to upload your saved Word document letter: 
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    4. Step 4: Create a Package: Once the letter is saved, you will create a package. The package ties the letter to marketing information such as cost per letter. 
      1. Go to Marketing and Communications and click Packages 
      2. Click Add a mail package   
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      3. Name your package (for example: 1 Month Before Expiration Letter) and add a description if necessary. 
      4. (Optional) Under Costs, you can specify any costs you'd like associated with this marketing package 
      5. Under Primary Content, add the letter you uploaded into Altru from Step 3. Your export definition should automatically complete:                                          
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      6. Click Save
    5. Repeat this process for any other remaining mail letters you have in your membership renewal process. There is also a video of this process below: 
  2. Create Your Membership Renewal Emails: If you would like to send emails or generate an email list in your process, you will also need to create membership emails in Altru.
    1. Step 1: Create Your Email Content: If you'd like to send your membership renewal emails directly through Altru, you will first need to create your email content. Note: If you don't want to send emails through Altru, but would like to generate an email list for a third party system, skip to Step 2: Create Your Email Package. 
      1. Go to Marketing and Communications and click Email marketing. 
      2. Under Email marketing, click Add a membership email                                  
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      3. In the next window, select the Membership Renewal Effort (Email) export definition. Note: You can also create a custom membership renewal export definition under Marketing and Communications and Export definitions, but typically this default export definition meets most client needs. Click Continue: 
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      4. In the Add email screen, name your email and add a description if needed (for example: 1 Month Before Expiration Email) 
      5. Under Mailing Options, add a Subject line under Subject, and specify the From Address, From Name, Reply Address, and Failure Notification Address (optional)
      6. Compose your email and insert merge fields using the merge fields drop down: 
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      7. You can also add a direct link to have the patron renew their membership:
        1. If you would like the email to have a direct link for the patron to renew their membership, click the Hyperlink button in your email. This link creates a renewal page for each patron that receives the email, with their member name(s) added to the form and their current membership level's button highlighted.                                     
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        2. Insert the URL:  https://SITEID.blackbaudhosting.com/SITEID/Renew. For example: https://55218.blackbaudhosting.com/55218/Renew 
        3. Under Text to display, type what you'd like that renewal link to say. For example: Click here to renew.  Then click OK. 
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      8. Important: Before saving your emails, you must insert the Privacy Policy and Email Preferences Links into your email. 
        1. Click the hyperlink icon in the letter content editor.
        2. Choose the option for Special Page 
        3. From the drop downs, choose Email Preferences Page and Web Forms Email Preferences
        4. (Optional) Enter alternative text to display under Text to display (for example: click here to unsubscribe) 
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        5. Repeat this process with the Privacy Policy links. 
      9. Click Save to save the email.
    2. Step 2: Create Your Email Package: Once your email is created, you can create an email package to match the message to any marketing cost information. 
      1. Go to Marketing and Communications and click Packages
      2. Under Packages, click Add an email package   
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      3. Name your package (for example: 1 Month Before Expiration Email) and add a description if necessary. 
      4. (Optional) Under Costs, you can specify any costs you'd like associated with this marketing package 
      5. If you're sending the email through Altru, under Primary Content, add the email you created in the previous step under Message. Your export definition should automatically complete:  
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      6. OR: If you are only generating an email list (NOT sending emails through Altru), you can leave the Message blank and complete the export definition. This will still consider constituents that have email preferences or still allow you to generate email lists in your process, but will not generate an email to send.  
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      7. Click Save.
    3. Repeat this process for any other emails you would like to send through Altru. 
​​​Part II: Set Up Membership Renewal Notices: Once your packages are complete, you will configure the membership renewal process to send the right packages at the right time in the renewal cycle. 
  1. Go to Memberships
  2. Click on the hyperlinked name of the membership program you would like to set up renewals for. 
  3. Under Renewal Notices, click Set up membership renewal notices 
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  4. On the next screen, enter a name for your renewal process (for example: Lower Level Renewal Notices) and add a description if necessary. 
  5. Under Membership levels to include, make sure the boxes are checked beside all of the Membership Levels you would like to include in your process.  
  6. Under Renewal Notices, check the boxes next to when you would like to send renewal notices for. (Note: By default, Altru will check 1 month before, month of expiration, and 1 month after expiration.) Under the mail and email columns, insert the packages you created for the time frames they should be sent. You can also remove any packages that are inserted by default: 
    User-added image In this example, we are sending an email 2 months before expiration, a mail letter 1 month before expiration, an email or a mail letter based on preference for the month of expiration, and a mail package 1 month after expiration. 
  7. When both an email package and a mail package is selected, Altru will send a constituent either a mail package OR an email package based on their preferences. (NoteIf you would like to send a constituent both a mail and an email package during the same time frame, you can create two processes. Instructions are in our related solution here: How to send both mail and email membership renewals in the same month). If a constituent does not have a mail preference, you can specify if Altru should send a mail letter or an email by choosing either Mail or Email under "For patrons with no mail or email package preference use..." 
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  8. Click Save to save your Renewal Process. A video of this process is below: 
Part III: Process Your Membership Renewals: Once your process is configured, you will complete the steps below on a monthly basis.
  1. Go to Memberships
  2. Click on the hyperlinked name of the membership program you would like to run renewals for.
  3. Under Renewal Notices, click Process membership renewal notices 
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  4. In the Process membership renewal notices screen, if you have multiple membership renewal processes for this program, select which process you wish to run from the drop down.
  5. Under Associate membership renewal notices with an appeal, choose whether you would like to use an existing appeal or create a new appeal 
  6. Click Start  
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  7. Once the renewal notices process, you can click Merge to download your merged letters in Word or click Download output to generate a spreadsheet of recipients. 
  8. Important: If you are sending email notices, you MUST click Start email job in order for the emails to send.  
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