JRI-Poland’s Developing Membership Software

PARDON OUR DUST – Our Membership Renewal is Under Construction

We are grateful to the users of the JRI-Poland database for the very positive response to our relatively new Annual Membership Program. We instituted the program almost 3 years ago… but before we had time to plan and develop software to fully administer all aspects… so we have been experiencing the growing pains associated with developing something new. We haven’t had the software nor the available volunteer power to send regular renewal notices – and so many have been surprised to learn that their membership has expired without receiving a renewal notice. Thus, we ask our members to understand that additional time will be needed to complete the construction and to help us by learning about Membership and continuing to support our operations in this way.

This article will explain the JRI-Poland Annual Membership Program, and how you can learn whether you are currently a paid member (or not) and how to renew your membership.

  • Please Note: The JRI-Poland database is searchable to anyone who has established a free user account on the JRI-Poland website. Access to our data is NOT based upon a paid membership.

Introducing Renewal Notices

As of this writing, we are testing a Renewal Notification system for all members who are not on our auto-renewal subscription program. You can pay membership by debit or credit card on our website or by sending a check or making an electronic funds transfer. These payment methods are not self-renewing, so a series of renewal notices will be used to remind you of the need to renew one month prior to – and then one-week before – the expiry date. A reminder will also be sent one day after the membership expires. Messages will be sent to the email address associated with your UserID on our website reminding you to renew through your “MY PROFILE” screen but the other methods of payment will still be available.

If you use the General Donate button that appears on any of the webpages on our site, please specify that you want the $54 to go towards Membership. Note: if you have more than one account on our system (which we strongly advise against) then we may accidentally post the membership privileges to the incorrect account – as all steps must be currently done manually.

PayPal’s Auto-Renewal Subscription for JRI-Poland Membership

If you use the button on the “My Profile” webpage, then you are automatically enrolled by PayPal in their auto-renewal subscription program. While PayPal is our internet bank, you do not need to have a PayPal account to use this feature. Our system is simply allowing you to make a purchase as a “PayPal guest.” However, PayPal will ask you to sign in or create an account. Just say NO if you do not want either option. We recognize that some users may not want to have a PayPal account or prefer not to use their existing PayPal account to make donations to JRI-Poland.

Using PayPal as our internet bank is saving us thousands of dollars annually – funds that obviously have much better use than bank fees – so please bear with us as we tweak our interface with the PayPal system over time.

Auto-Renewal Subscription Memberships

PayPal’s default is to enroll your membership in their auto-renew subscription which will automatically renew one year from the date of membership payment. While this is great for our overworked volunteers, PayPal does not allow a “guest” to turn off the auto-renew themselves. No worries! For now, just complete your membership donation and then send an email to [email protected] and ask our volunteers to cancel the auto-renew feature. As 2024 progresses, we expect that our programmers will give members the ability to toggle the auto-renew subscription on and off themselves.

Thank you for your patience as we grow and improve our system! Please check your account using the My Profile screen and become a member or renew your membership today!

Other Commonly Asked Questions about Membership…

Member versus Donor

We are often asked why giving to a town project does not automatically make a contributor a member of JRI-Poland. The answer might sound complicated, but it’s analogous to synagogue operations which also use Fund Accounting like we do. In both scenarios, “membership” is the method used to raise donations to fund the organization’s annual expenses. This funding does not apply to special synagogue services like Religious School or Summer Camp that are of interest only to subsets of the congregation. Similarly, projects that are of interest to certain subsets of our user base are funded by those interested in those town or special projects. That led us to create a separate Annual Membership donation to fund ongoing general expenses of our organization separate from our historical project-specific funds.

Benefits of Membership

Since the beginning, paying members (of $54 US annually) have had access to special Members Only Zoom events and to the resulting On Demand Video Library. Then we made it possible for paying members to download entire 18th and early 19th century spreadsheets – those data sets that are generally without surnames and therefore provide optimal research opportunities by viewing the entire spreadsheet. However, we ask you to keep in mind… JRI-Poland membership is primarily a donation (tzedakah) to help our organization and website run as smoothly as possible.

  • JRI-Poland donations are generally tax-deductible for US-taxpayers to the extent allowable by law. Canadian taxpayers can write to [email protected] to learn how to make their donations potentially tax-deductible.

JRI-Poland does not restrict access to our database to members only. Our promise is to make the data we gather available to everyone – after our project has been completed and fully funded.

Next, we introduced the “MY PROFILE” screen to help you manage your account and your membership…

From the “My Profile” webpage, every user can manage their profile, change their email address, and determine their membership status. After you log into the JRI-Poland.org homepage, hover over the “HELLO” blurb on the top right of the screen to reveal a drop-down menu with options to view your profile and to access the Members Only “On Demand Video Library.”