This behaviour has been observed on a live CiviCRM 4.5.8 site as well as the current demo site which is 4.6.6

When renewing a membership offline, the start date doesn't update to reflect the current membership term. An example (using UK date formats)

Membership type term = 1 year Membership Since Date = 01/07/2011 Membership Start Date = 01/07/2014 Membership End Date = 30/06/2015

So as of today, the member is in "Grace".

When you click "Renew" the membership start date doesn't update to reflect the new membership term, only the end date does. So the new dates are

Membership type term = 1 year Membership Since Date = 01/07/2011 Membership Start Date = 01/07/2014 Membership End Date = 30/06/2016

which would suggest this person has 2 year membership and doesn't reflect that they renewed this year, making membership dashboard data incorrect.

Is this expected behaviour or a possible bug?

Heather O.

4 Answers 4


If you check on yoursite/civicrm/admin/member/membershipStatus?reset=1 and for the status "Grace" there is a Yes in the column headed "Member" then this is expected behaviour.

CiviCRM does not have a "renewal start date". The "start date" is the date the latest continuous period of membership started on. For any member with a status that has a "Yes" in that "Member" column a renewal will extend the end date of the current membership and not change the start date.

If you want anybody who renews after their membership end date to get a new start date then you either need to edit the Grace status and untick the box Current Membership?, or disable the Grace status entirely if it is not needed for your business rules and just have a membership status of Current followed by the membership status Ended.

You can read more about Membership status rules in the Defining memberships chapter of our User and Admin Guide


That sounds like the behaviour described in Test Plan - Membership Renewal:

Renew A CURRENT Membership

"Current" membership means that the calculated membership_status has is_current_member = TRUE. For this case we are basically extending the End Date for the existing membership record and inserting a membership log record. Processing is the same for Rolling and Fixed membership periods.

Update the existing membership record
    Join Date and Start Date are NOT modified...

In my experience different organisations will interpret this in different ways.

Some expect the membership record to represent the entire length of time the contact has been a member and this is CiviCRM's default behaviour. In your case the contact is in their second year of of membership and this is represented by the data.

Some expect the membership start and end date to represent the current membership period. This isn't the default way that CiviCRM works but you could achieve it by creating a second membership record for the contact, letting the first one expire. You would then have a membership record per year of membership. Its not the way we would normally recommend setting up memberships but have come across installations where its being used in that way. Therefore these organisations would probably view this as a bug or undesired behaviour!

As others have said, the behaviour your seeing is as expected.


The benefit of the start date NOT changing upon timeline renewal is that it is easy to spot "continuous" members. This is because members that have never expired since they first became a member will have an identical "member since" and "start date". Those that have expired, and come back, will have different "member since" and "start date"s.

  • if folk are using Fixed periods for their membership, then the above probably doesn't hold because the SInce and Start dates are likely to be different for the majority of members.
    – petednz - fuzion
    Nov 6, 2023 at 2:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.