Donations vs. Memberships in NeonCRM

Defining a Membership
Defining a Donation
Donations vs. Memberships
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This guide will define the difference between a Membership and a Donation in NeonCRM.

  • A Membership in NeonCRM is a transaction within the Membership Module.
  • A donation in NeonCRM is a transaction with the Fundraising Module.

Note: An account in Neon is not a Membership or a Donation. An account is either a person or an organization. A Membership or Donation is a transaction on that account.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does this transaction have specific benefits as a result? Admission to a facility, magazine subscription, discount on events, etc.
  • Do these benefits have an end date? After a set amount of time will the person no longer be eligible for the benefits?

If the transaction has benefits that are given to certain people or expire, then you may have a membership. If everyone receives the benefits, regardless of the size or date of the transaction, then it may be a donation.

Defining a Membership

In NeonCRM, a membership has 5 requirements:

  • Transaction Date - the date the membership is purchased
  • Term Start Date - the date the membership goes into effect
  • Term End Date - the date the membership will expire
  • Membership Level - categories you create to define a type of member, such as "individual" or "family" or "student." 
  • Membership Term – a configuration that fills in the price and length of time for the membership

In Neon when someone has a Membership, they are a Member for a set amount of time. When you run the Current Member Report, you will only receive people who have not reached their end date. Once an individual has reached their end date, they will no longer be considered a member by NeonCRM until they renew their membership.

Note: If your Organization uses Member to refer to all your donors, that is fine. Your external language does not need to match the NeonCRM terminology. What is important is what you want to track about these individuals and how you want to report on them.

Defining a Donation

In NeonCRM, a donation has 2 requirements:

  • Donation Amount – the amount of the donation
  • Donation Date – the date the donation was made

A donation can be:

In NeonCRM when someone has a Donation on their account, you will run a different report to capture their gifts. In NeonCRM you can run a Donation Report to get a list of all donation transactions. Each donation would be its own line. You can also run a Donor Report to get a list of all donors. Each donor would be its own line and the donations will be totaled.

Donations vs. Memberships

Another important difference is emails. In NeonCRM, System Emails and System Letters are automatically triggered after a transaction. Donations and Memberships have different emails/letters. Donation System Emails include an email that is sent immediately after the transaction is processed. Membership System Emails also include an email that can be sent after the transaction is processed. Membership System Emails also include emails that can be scheduled. This means that you can tell Neon, that a certain number of days before a Membership expires or a certain number of days after a Membership expires, send a different email. This can be a very powerful tool in automating your communication with members.


  Donations Memberships
Can be associated with a Campaign, Fund or Purpose  
Can be associated with a Solicitor  
Contains Start & End Dates    ✔
Generates automatic transaction acknowledgement emails and letters (system emails/letters) when entered into the system  ✔
Generates scheduled reminder emails for due and past-due renewals    ✔
Generates a single 1-year transaction anniversary email  
Available in Membership reports    ✔
Available in Donation and Donor reports  
Available in Transaction and Stats reports ✔ 


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