Enabling small group sign up through Embed
In addition to helping your members to sign up for small groups through My ChurchSuite and Connect, you can also enable small group sign-up through an Embed list of small groups in your website. This can be especially useful for allowing non-church members (those not yet in your Address Book and those members unable to use My ChurchSuite) to sign up for your church's small groups.
In this article
This article will explain an overview of the sign-up process and the workflow within ChurchSuite. We'll then demonstrate the process for enabling small group Embed sign-up on a group-by-group basis. We also recommend reading the related article below, which explain the process of how to Embed small group lists and maps in your website.
Overview of embed sign-up functionality
Small Group Embed sign-up functionality works on a group-by-group basis, allowing you to enable the sign-up feature for some groups but not others; while still retaining the ability to show your active, and even future groups in your embed group list and/or map, if you wish. This is useful where you want to present the small groups that are running in the life of your church, even if they are not yet open to sign-ups currently, rather than displaying an empty list to those visiting your website.
Within the Small Groups module settings are a variety of Embed-related options that can be customised. For example you to set which email address is notified when a new sign-up has been submitted; perhaps a Small Group Pastor or Administrator. Multiple email addresses can be added, each separated with a comma.
You can select whether to show just active groups (the default), or to also show future groups. In this way, future groups can shown even if the sign-up period has not yet started. Note that this option still respects each group's visibility settings, so that you can still choose to show some future groups but not others, if you wish.
You can specify which small group roles are optionally notified when someone signs up to a group - perhaps the small group leader, or the small group hosts - ensuring that new sign-ups are not missed, but identified quickly and welcomed to the group. Head to "Small Groups" > "Roles", select the appropriate role(s) and flag the "Sign up" notification setting to "Notify of Sign-ups". Then simply make sure the appropriate members/leaders/hosts are assigned that role in the member list for each group.
Small group sign-ups can be added automatically to a Flow. We provide you with separate options for newcomer and existing contact sign-ups, so that (for example) you can have newcomers be added to a different flow to the one which existing contacts are added to.
For each group you can set up a confirmation email that is sent to new sign-ups and is triggered automatically as soon as their sign-up details are submitted.
Each small group has it's own unique group page URL (Select "Go to group page" to view the page and obtain the URL), which can be distributed or linked in your communications; perhaps to promote a particular newcomer group, allowing those who may not yet be in your Address Book or those without My ChurchSuite access to be able to easily sign up to that small group via the group page.
Once small group lists and/or maps are embedded in your website, people can browse your groups and select a group to view more information about it. If embed sign up is enabled and group sign-up is open and there are spaces available, they can also sign up using the form in the group page. The group page also includes a visual progress indicator showing the group capacity and available spaces. If the group is full, or the sign-up period is not currently open, the group remains visible in the embed list, but a message is displayed and the "sign-up" button is disabled.
The group Embed list and maps can be configured to filter by site (for multi-site churches), Day, and Small Group Tag, allowing you to customise your embed lists and maps to display just those groups you wish to show, and also to make it easier for your website visitors to filter lots of groups to find just the one that's right for them. This also means you can deploy multiple group Embeds to different parts of your website, perhaps showing just newcomer-friendly groups in the newcomer section of your website, while showing courses running as small groups in the discipleship section of your site.
Configuring the look and feel of your Small Group Embed list (including, adding a customisable messages to the sign-up page, and defining global sign-up notifications) is covered in the related support article, "Embed small group lists and maps in your website" (see below).
For multi-site customers, 'unmatched' successful sign-ups are added to the "pending" section for the same Site as that of the Small Group for which they're signed to - the contact is flagged as being part of their Small Group's Site and is visible in the 'pending' section of the Address Book to those users
Overview of sign-up process
The sign-up process involves people completing the sign-up form on the group page. ChurchSuite will attempt to match the sign-up details submitted to an existing Address Book contact. A matching algorithm uses first name, last name, email and mobile to find a match. If matched, the Address Book contact is joined to the small group member list, a "Joined group" Key Date is automatically recorded, and a Note is added against the contact to indicate the sign-up originated through the embedded small group list.
Importantly, ChurchSuite employs "reCaptcha" ' Robot' checking to protect churches from being 'spammed' by non-genuine sign-ups. For sign-ups where the person cannot be exactly matched in your Address Book, they are added to the "pending" section of your Address Book. The unmatched sign-up is still joined to the group, but with a clear visual indicator in the group member list that indicates that the new contact needs to be reviewed and 'set active' in the Address Book. A Key Date and Note are recorded against the 'pending' contact as with 'matched' contacts.
In the Address Book module, in addition to "Active" and "Archived" contacts, you will see a "Pending" status section where unmatched sign-up contacts can be reviewed before being set active in your Address Book.
After reviewing a "pending" contact - perhaps to check a duplicate contact isn't being created, to check the legitimacy of the sign-up, or to assign them to a different site (for multi-site churches) - they can then be 'Set active' (or archived or deleted if they are not legitimate for any reason).
Setting a contact active has the effect of changing their status from pending to active in the Address Book. Until a "pending" contact is set active, they cannot participate in any other module functionality throughout ChurchSuite i.e. they can't be processed through a Flow, or appear in Smart Tag results, or be linked to a Giver profile or added to a Rota or be able to use My ChurchSuite, etc. Their functionality is restricted to only being visible in the small group member list.
When setting a pending contact active, if ChurchSuite detects "sign-ups" from other family members (i.e. where contact details match), ChurchSuite will give you the option to set those related pending family members active too.
Enabling embed sign-up functionality for a small group
Small group Embed sign-up is managed on a group-by-group basis; allowing you to enable sign-up on some groups but not others, if you wish. In "Small Groups" > "Groups", select each group in turn and click "Edit group".
Scroll down to the "Visibility" section. To set a group visible in Embed, tick "Show in Embed". Additionally, to allow sign-up, tick "Enable sign-up from Embed".
Next, add the date range for when you want the sign-up period to be active for (this can be open-ended), and optionally set any group capacity. The "Member List" setting is only relevant to groups visible in My ChurchSuite (Embed "sign-ups" cannot view a group member list until they are given access to My ChurchSuite), so this can be ignored for Embed purposes.
If not already done, you can add a custom confirmation email that will be sent to all new sign-ups. The same confirmation email is received by signups through Connect, Embed and My ChurchSuite, so we recommend your message be generic enough to cater for all sign-up sources.
Remember to save any changes made to the Small Group before navigating away from the page. Repeat the above process for each Small Group in your list that you want to enable "embed sign-up" functionality for.
To tag or not to tag?
A great way to group similar types of group together is by using Small Group tags. You might create tags around oversight clusters, geographic areas, the group focus, or indeed anything you like. There's no limit to the number of tags you can assign to your groups. Once tagged, you have enormous flexibility with your embed filtering, to provide content-relevant group lists in your website; making it even easier for people to find the right group and sign up. So if you have a youth section of your web site, why not just embed your youth small group list by tagging your youth small groups and adding that youth tag filter to your HTML Embed code. It's really simple to do!
Small group capacity
With the Small Group capacity setting you can optionally cap the number of sign-ups a group can receive. Once a group is full, no further sign-ups are permitted via My ChurchSuite or Embed.
Note that active Address Book contacts can still be manually added to the group in ChurchSuite, allowing you discretion to override the capacity cut-off. But also, Small Group leaders, or those roles with 'group edit' functionality enabled for My ChurchSuite, can also add members to their group, in effect overriding the group capacity.