We have 3x Membership types, two paid and the other free. All appear on the same signup form.

When a free membership is created, the auto-renew flag is set correctly, and a Recurring Contribution is created for $0. However when the membership is due to be renewed the membership does not renew and it goes into an inactive state.

I am able to search for the members and manually update the expiry date but I would like to find a way to automatically do this (even if it's via CiviRules). I can create a Smart Group which contains all the relevant members, but I can't use CiviRules to renew the membership.

Does anyone know the best way to automatically renew $0.00 (free) memberships on their renewal date?


  • CiviCRM 5.59.3
  • WordPress 5.2
  • CiviRules 2.47
  • Haven't heard of a way. I think we might have approached doing a free ongoing membership as perhaps a lifetime (ie no 'end date') membership to avoid the whole renewal question - but of course do not know your logic/requirements
    – petednz - fuzion
    Apr 23, 2023 at 20:57
  • I don't see anything currently via CiviRules
    – petednz - fuzion
    Apr 23, 2023 at 21:11
  • SHould I presume your Scheduled Jobs are running and that other non-zero-dollar auto-renews are firing correctly?
    – petednz - fuzion
    Apr 23, 2023 at 21:12

1 Answer 1


So far as I know, autorenew is driven by the payment processor: Stripe, PayPal, GoCardless etc determine that a new payment is due based on the payment schedule that has been setup. They charge the customer and notify CiviCRM via a webhook of the new payment. CiviCRM then records the payment and updates the membership.

In the case of free membership, there is no external payment processor to trigger that renewal. There may not be a CiviRules action for that, but it shouldn't be too hard to write. But since core's UI lets you create an autorenewing free membership it would seem there should be a core method for doing the renewal, probably as a scheduled job. I'd suggest writing it up as an enhancement suggestion on https://lab.civicrm.org/dev/core/-/issues

  • Thanks for this, I just realised I have the same problem. This explanation makes sense.
    – Hugh
    Apr 10 at 22:22

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