How to add member to subscription plan manually?


I am new to Ghost and testing the features with the free trial.
One thing I could not figure out (I looked for the topics and support) is this:

I’m collecting fees for my project on a local crowdfunding platform. When the crowdfunding is finished, I need to add members to Ghost which paid a one-year membership in advance. So, is it possible to add members and give them premium access for one year? I do not have any Stripe IDs as the crowdfunding platform does not use Stripe.

Thank you for your help.

You could give them a complimentary plan.

Basically, add them to the site as free members, and then, following the instructions mentioned in that post from Ghost’s blog, give them complimentary access to a paid plan.
I believe it defaults to a year.

Okay, thank you very much for your answer.
Just one more question:

If I give a user a complimentary plan, and it is for one year. What happens after one year? Will the access be restricted, and they have to choose a subscription plan?

Yes, I believe it will downgrade to a free (or “plan-less”) member.
The Complimentary plan is just a $0 option on a stripe subscription product, so expiry should work the same as that subscription product’s paid (Monthly, Yearly) options.

You could test this first by adding a member, giving them a complimentary plan, and then go into stripe and change the customer’s expiry on that plan to today or tomorrow or something. Then you’ll be able to see the flow for yourself.

Just to share, I have been using this way for granting gifted subscriptions. The complimentary subscription renews yearly forever, so you need to cancel it right after creating it and it will run for one year only.

The issue I am trying to work on is the best way to convert these complimentary subscriptions to paid ones. It’s not scalable to track every renew date manually.

One idea I am experimenting with is sending a one year offer coupon and asking people to signup themselves, but sending a gift and asking to enter one’s credit card is kind of ugly. Plus, in Europe many people are still reluctant to give their credit card number to any site.

Last idea I tried without success is to create the subscriber directly in Stripe, add the subscription product and the free one year coupon, but I don’t see how to « attach » the customer to my ghost site. In this case, renewal invoices could be sent out by Stripe. It almost worked.

I have a final idea I want to try. I’ll share it here if it works.

I’m not a dev and I’m using GhostPro. Hence, I’m struggling to do something that seems fairly simple! Any ideas?

I have solved my problem! And hope it will solve yours.

Let me share. Here’s what I have done to manually create a customer, give him a free year and make Stripe notify him before renewal:

  1. Manually add a new member in Ghost admin (Name + email)
  2. Give a complimentary subscription to the member (@Findolfin this generates the Stripe ID)
  3. Under the three dotted menu, click on « View Stripe subscription » then in Stripe, click on Actions > Update subscription
  4. Remove the product « Complimentary » (it’s a specific product for this use)
  5. Click on « Add product » and add a paid yearly or monthly subscription you have
  6. Click on « Add coupon » and add whatever offer applies (free year, free month, previously configured in the Ghost Admin)
  7. Edit the Payment method (this is where Stripe can send an invoice at the end of the subscription if the customer has no credit card on file)
  8. Save

Last step is to prevent an invoice to be sent out to the customer an hour later (if you’re okay with this, you’re done!)

  1. Always in Stripe, under Invoices, click on the « Scheduled » one.
  2. Click on « Edit draft »
  3. Under « Payment » click on the small gear :gear: wheel icon next to « Email invoice to customer »
  4. Select « Send invoice manually », check everything, then click on « Review invoice » or let it automatically finalise in an hour (beware, once final it can not be edited). This way, the customer will not receive an invoice for this first transaction.

Finally, check in Ghost admin that the subscription is active and that it will renew.

At the renewal date, the customer should receive an email (from Stripe) inviting him to renew. If he does, you will then have his credit card on file and you can switch his subscription to auto renew if you wish.

If he does not want to renew, it would be elegant to inform him that he can cancel his subscription anytime in his Ghost account.

I am confident this should work. I hope. The nice thing is that everything can be set up without the customer receiving any email or notification, so it leaves us free to communicate directly with him.

To go even further, since we can apparently configure other payment methods in Stripe, like by bank transfer, I suspect we might be able to support customers who don’t have a credit card or who don’t want to enter it. Does anyone have an experience with this?

Hope this helps someone and sorry for the long message! :pray:t3:

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