Setting up a Membership Community

We use Drupal to set up membership communities for a variety of clients in different industries. Here are 5 steps to understand the needs of the membership platform, and how you may use the Drupal content management system to fulfill those needs.


  1. Determine user roles
    Typically you may have a different “tier” of membership that unlocks different functionalities. A great example is if you have a “regular” membership, that allows a participant to access members-only resources, but you may add in an “advertiser” membership, that allows that user to also post their own advertisements, events, or special offers. Think about the different roles people will play within your membership community, and what types of access you’ll give to them.
  2. Understand permissions
    Once you know the roles, you may then lay out a “permissions grid” that assigns those roles, the available functions you will give them. As an example:


    Anonymous Visitor Paid Member Editor Advertiser Administrator
    Blog posts view view, add, edit view, add, edit all view view, add, edit all, delete
    Event calendar view title, but not details view view view view, add, edit all, delete
    Business listings view view, add, edit their own listing view, edit all listings view view, add, edit all, delete
    Self-serve banners view view view view, add, edit their own banner view, add, edit all, delete
    Members-only resources view title, but not details view view view view, add, edit all, delete

    Your thinking around this permissions grid will allow you to prioritize which functions you need for launch, and which you’ll add in over the course of development.

  3. Understand content types
    Based on the features you’ll offer, you may then determine what types of content you want to build out. In this hypothetical example, we offer blog posts, calendar events, business listings, advertising banners, and members-only resources. Each of these content “types” will have “fields,” and your list of you want to offer, will help your developer build out these content types. For example, a blog typically has: Title, Body, Image, and potentially a Video, or a “Related Product”.

    Sketch out the needs for each content type, and its related fields. Also pay special consideration to user access. For example, in “members-only resources” you may want to allow the Title to be seen by everyone, both general public and members alike, but only members may download the actual PDF or view the actual text.

  4. E-commerce – membership products
    The Drupal platform comes with an excellent Ubercart function that will help you easily assign the correct “role” to the user who purchases it, directly upon confirmation of payment. We’ve used this tool in multiple instances, such as:
    a) purchase an Annual Membership Product for 365 days of member access
    b) purchase a Monthly Membership Product for 30 days of member access
    c) purchase an Advertising Product for 365 days of access as a “Advertiser”
    You’ll want to set up a PayPal and/or a Stripe account to easily hook up these payment platforms to your site.
  5. Content: marketing, strategy, and outreach
    Once your content is in place, you’ll have many tools available to market your membership community. Take advantage of third-party integrations such as IFTTT,  Buffer, HootSuite or Sprout Social, and social media like Instagram, Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups, Twitter, and YouTube playlists to spread the word about your offerings. Mailchimp offers mailing list integration.

If you’re looking for additional insight into building your membership community, contact us.


Pricing Estimator

We’ve updated our pricing to a flat fee based on the size of your organization:

Pricing (One-time development fee)

$1500 for startups and solopreneurs  starting out with your project/service

$5000 for brands, products, and services (2-10 staff)

$7000 for mid-sized organizations (11-25 staff)

$10,000 for larger organizations (26-50 staff)

Contact us for an estimate on large-scale redesign.



$1000/year annual maintenance (3 checkins a year + review of existing modules)