The Difference between a Membership Renewal and a Membership Invoice


Sometimes I see the terms renewal notice and invoice used interchangeably in membership and circulation development. I thought that it might be helpful to point out that there is an important legal difference between the two.

“An invoice is a bill sent by a provider of a product or service to the purchaser. The invoice establishes an obligation on the part of the purchaser to pay, creating an account receivable.”1

However, when a membership is up for renewal, there is no obligation to pay and no account receivable. The member has not received anything and has the option to pay, but no legal obligation to pay. Therefore, a renewal notice is not an invoice and cannot use the word "invoice"

There are cases where an invoice can be sent to a member. An invoice is acceptable if a prospective member requests to be invoiced from a membership solicitation or from a renewal notice. In this case, because the member has agreed to take on the obligation to pay, an invoicing the member is the proper response.

By the way, if you need to redesign your renewal notice based on this post or for any other reason and want a sample of a successful membership renewal notice, please let me know and I will send one along to you.


1. Jean Murray, About.com Guide, US Business Law/Taxes

26 comments:

CBRazil972 said...

Can you please email an example of a renewal invoice to me at cbrazil972@yahoo.com?

Thank You!

Tony Rossell said...

You got it. I just sent it along to you. Tony

Valarie said...

Hello Tony,
I would love a copy of the example invoice as well. I appreciate your blog - you always have wonderful suggestions for us.
Thanks, Valarie
valarie.mckinney@ispastaff.com

Tony Rossell said...

Hi Valarie -- Thanks for your kind words. I just emailed you a sample. Please let me know if you have any questions. Tony

Kristal said...

Hi Tony,

Could you please send me your example.

lafantaisie@sciencenorth.ca

Best,

Kristal

Tony Rossell said...

Hi Kristal -- I just sent it along to you. I hope you find it of help. Tony

Alex said...

An interesting post. Most organisations I've come across in the UK recognise what you've said, but some use proforma invoices instead. I dont think proformas are needed either. What are your views?
Alex

Anonymous said...

Tony, more great thought-provoking info as usual, could you please send me a copy of your sample letter? Thanks, I

Tony Rossell said...

I would be happy to send a copy along. Could you send me your email address. You can find mine on the right hand column of the blog. Tony

Luciana said...

I would love a copy of your renewal notice and renewal invoice.

Thanks!
Luciana
ldandretta@ gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Would love a copy... shelly.redd@gmail.com

Monta Lee said...

I would like a copy of your renewal letter. And thanks for drawing the distinction.
mountplains@aol.com

Monta Lee said...

I would like a copy of your renewal letter. And thanks for drawing the distinction. mountplains@aol.com

Monta Lee said...

I would like a copy of your renewal letter. And thanks for drawing the distinction. mountplains@aol.com

Tony Rossell said...

Thanks for the request. I just sent it off to you by email. Tony

Tony Rossell said...

Katherine -- Please send me you email address and I will forward a copy to you. Tony

Anonymous said...

Please send me the example as well.... Thanks for the distinction in a clear concise way.
namitav6181@gmail.com

Sarah said...

Please send me a copy - mmgsarah@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony,

Could you please send me a copy of the member invoice and the renewal notice. I would love to know moer about the legal issues involved in incorrectly invoicing. I find it to be in bad form but I love to know some specific laws that apply. I need them as support for my argument that it would be bad form to use invoice on our member form for renewal.
Thanks
what is your e-mail so I could send you mind if that is ok.

Tony Rossell said...

Please find my contact information on the front page of my blog. Tony

CS said...

Tony,
an older post but still very helpful! Membership management is new for me, so if you would, please send a sample of a successful membership renewal to me at csouth(at)smwv.org.

Sarah said...

Would love some copies of good renewal notices. Please send to membership@union.wisc.edu.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony, would love to see some example of a good renewal notice. Can you please email them to luna.lu@aaoa.com.au? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi - could you please post me some examples please of membership renewals. I am in NZ so not sure if the rules about invoicing are the same here - just trying to find out. Thank you Lisa

lgcarnie@hotmail.com

Venango Area Chamber of Commerce said...

I would like copies of you recommended renewal notice. Thanks so much. Swilliams@venangochamber.org

Monta Lee said...

Would love a copy of the renewal notice. Please send to mountplains@aol.com

Thanks!