I'm currently working on a new install of CiviCRM to manage our co-operative membership. Membership is paid annually per household - each householder additionally makes an initial one-off £1 investment of share capital which confers voting rights in the coop.

I've done a LOT of reading around household membership and I'm aware that it's an underdeveloped area in Civi - sadly we're not in a position to cover the 200-400 hours of work that Lobo suggests would be required make it work as desired.

There seem to be a few people who've crafted successful work-arounds either with organisational subgroups or using Drupal webform integration to create complex sign-up pages. However, I've also seen a number of people years later bemoaning having taken the 'household route' initially.

As I'm at the beginning of the process and some of the forum discussions are a number of years old, I'm looking for a steer on the current developments and best practice. In particular:

  • Is there a recommended route for allowing online self management of family groups?
  • Our preferred CMS is wordpress, does the active development of Caldera Forms integration suggest a potential route, or will we have to adopt Drupal for complex webforms?

Many thanks for any pointers.

1 Answer 1


This question has a lot of moving parts, not all of which are clear to me here. It may be best as separate questions. I'll try to answer the parts I see.

  • It sounds like you need to track the members of a household each as a separate contact. This is best with Webform-CiviCRM. However, Caldera Forms will do most of this. You can create several contacts, and create relationships between them. However, you can't take payment on the same screen (not a big deal). I'm not sure how it handles pre-populating related contacts for managing households later - you'll have to experiment. Worst case, you could sponsor the Caldera Forms devs for a lot less than 200-400 hours for that feature.
  • You do NOT need to use the Household contact type if it's not important to you! You can do this with a "primary contact" who has a relationship to the other family members. This is up to you. I prefer to not use households, personally.
  • You use the Relationship Type feature of CiviMember to allow family members to inherit the membership via relationship to the household (or primary contact).
  • Thanks for the response Jon, sorry if the question is a little confused. I'm testing what is possible with Caldera Forms and will report back. Am I correct in thinking that if we go for Primary and secondary contacts that only the primary will be able to renew membership?
    – Durruti
    Sep 29, 2017 at 10:23
  • No problem! See also this question which discusses the feature in Webform-CiviCRM that I suspect Caldera may lack: civicrm.stackexchange.com/questions/9195/…. I'm not sure about renewing memberships through the non-primary contact - I know those "permissioned relationship" checkboxes exist but I've never used them and they're sadly underdocumented. Sep 29, 2017 at 14:02

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