Embed a newcomer connect form on your website
Included in ChurchSuite's Address Book functionality is the ability to create a newcomer connect form that can be embedded into your church's website. Newcomers can submit their contact details online and select areas of interest. Submitted details are added to your Address Book and optional notifications are triggered to alert ministry overseers. Newcomers can also be automatically added into Flows. This feature is called Address Book Embed.
In this article
Overview of Address Book Embed
The principles and processes of Address Book Embed are similar to those you may already be familiar with in Address Book Connect - the Sunday-facing application that allows newcomers to submit their contacts details and areas of interest through a form that can run on a computer or tablet on your church's Information Desk.
Since Address Book Embed is on your public-facing website, anti-spam measures are employed to prevent spam contacts being added to your active Address Book. Instead, newcomers are added with a 'pending' status, requiring them to be reviewed and 'set active' before they are part of your active Address Book. Pending contacts are not counted in your ChurchSuite subscription.
The embedded connect form can be customised to suit your church and styled to blend beautifully into your website. It's also multi-site enabled so that newcomers are assigned to the correct site. Address Book module options give you complete control over which fields and areas of interest show in your embed form, which fields are 'required' entry fields, and what happens to newly created contacts when they are added e.g. Notes,Tags, Key Dates, Flows, notifications and success email.
Newcomers can also submit details for their spouse/partner and children - ChurchSuite links the whole family accordingly.
Configuring Address Book Embed
Address Book Embed is configured in the "Address Book" module settings, accessed via the cog-wheels button in the top-right corner of the module. You'll need Manage module or Administrator permissions to access this. In the module options, select the Embed tab.
Begin by first enabling the embed feature - tick to "Enable embedding". The default embed code and preview form option is now displayed. It's this embed code that you'll copy and paste into the source code section of a page on your website. But first, let's look at the code customisation options.
Select "Customise your embed styles" to open the embed code generator.
As shown in the image above, you can choose whether to display a "Site Selector" (for multi-site churches only) or to specify the Site that new contacts will be assigned to when submitting their details. This option is helpful if your various sites/campuses have their own websites or newcomer web pages - you can easily generate site-specific embed code in this way. Where a site-selector is displayed on an embed form, newcomers will be able to choose from the site list.
Finally set the colour styling and click "Done" when finished.
The embed code has now been updated to reflect your new embed styling and options. This code can now be copied and pasted to your website.
It's important to note that the "Customise Embed Code" feature is essentially an Embed Code generator - it generates the embed code needed for your website. However, the code is not saved when you close the module options page. This is intended functionality, allowing you flexibility to use the generator to create multiple custom embed codes, perhaps for use in different parts of your website. Each time you open the Embed settings page, the default embed code is displayed. You must therefore copy and paste your embed code (perhaps to a text file or Word document) before closing the page to avoid losing your changes.
Having first pasted your embed code into your website, you can now use the remaining module options to manage what your newcomer connect form looks like. Changes made here do not require you to re-paste the embed code; your embedded form will automatically update to reflect the settings you make and save.
Begin by specifying one or more contacts to be notified when a new contact is created. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma. You can further customise the appearance of your embedded form by adding an optional Page Title and Welcome Message.
Next, set the "Optional Fields"; enabling or disabling fields and setting those fields that are required.
Set any Tags, Key Dates and Flows that are to be assigned to new contacts when they submit their details. This is great opportunity to ensure newcomers get into your integration processes (perhaps a Newcomer Flow) from the beginning, ensuring that no one slips through the net!
Next, set whether to allow newcomer contacts to add their children. This option is only available to churches with the Children module on their account.
Next, add Areas of Interest. This section is optional and great for engaging newcomers into thinking about their "next steps". We suggest keeping the list of interest areas and the descriptions short, to prevent the newcomer having to endlessly scroll - perhaps just two or three "next steps" to choose from - rather than listing every area of ministry or service your church provides! The areas you display on your website might be entirely different to the interest areas you provide on your Sunday information desk using Connect - ChurchSuite gives you the flexibility to create a different form for both settings!
Add an email address of the ministry overseer for each respective Area of Interest, and any Flow you would like new contacts to be automatically added to if they select that interest when submitting their details. You can add multiple ministry overseer email addresses by separating them with a comma. Use the cross-handles to change the order of your areas. You can even duplicate the areas from an existing Address Book Connect form, saving you typing from scratch - although you prefer entirely different areas of interest on your Embed form compared to the Connect form on your Information Desk - it's entirely up to you!
Lastly, customise the "Success Message" that displays on the screen when someone submits their details online. You can also send a Preset "Success Email". You'll need to have created your Preset email first - then you can select it from the list. Don't overlook the importance of this 'success email' - it's your first opportunity to respond to a newcomer and extend a warm welcome as they submit their details - perhaps explain what's going to happen next in terms of follow up.
Save all your changes by selecting "Save Changes" before closing the Embed options page. You can now view your finished results on your website and make further adjustments if necessary.
What happens when newcomers submit their details?
This is a great question and you should know the answer so that you can engage your newcomer processes accordingly. Here's what happens: -
- A new contact is added to your Address Book with a pending status.
- Any spouse/partner specified will also have a new contact added to the Address Book with a pending status. The couple will be linked. The spouse/partner will share all the contact information of the main contact (except email, telephone, mobile and DOB).
- Any children added as part of the submission will be added with a pending status to the Children module and linked to the main parent contact in the Address Book.
- Key Dates and Tags will be assigned in accordance with your Address Book Embed module settings (and also to any spouse/partner added).
- Notification emails will be sent to the contacts designated in the module settings > notifications, and to all ministry overseers designated for Areas of Interest selected. The new contact will also be added to your Flows, as designated in your module settings (and any spouse/partner).
- A Note will be recorded against the contact that their details were added through Embed (and any spouse/partner and children).
- A Preset "success" email will have gone to the new contact (if you have enabled this).
Managing newcomers marked as pending
When people submit their details using Address Book Embed, ChurchSuite uses advanced 'robot' checking to minimise the risk of spam contacts being created in your Address Book.
To protect your active Address Book, all new contacts are flagged as "Pending", requiring a User to review the submission and set the newcomer contact(s) "Active". Pending contacts are unable to participate in any ChurchSuite functionality until they have been "Set Active" in their contact profile.
When newcomer details are submitted through Address Book Embed, ChurchSuite does alert you to any potential duplicates in your Address Book. When reviewing newly added 'pending' contacts, you might see an information message alerting you to a potential duplicate. You then have the option to check this and, if necessary, merge the duplicate contacts.
What happens if under 18s submit their details?
Ordinarily, all new contacts are created in the adult Address Book module when a newcomer submits their contact details and areas of interest. However, if the Date of Birth field is set as visible on the Embed form, and as long as the under 18 completes that field, ChurchSuite will correctly create the new pending status contact in the Children module instead.
When an under 18 completes the form, certain fields are hidden - marital status, student details, add child, job, employer, since these fields do not exist in the Children module.
Importantly, when an under 18 submits their contact details and areas of interest, Tags, Key Dates, and Notes are all recorded against the 'pending' child contact in the Children module. A success email is sent too, and all notifications are sent, as per the module settings. Once the new contact is Set Active, they can then participate in other ChurchSuite functionality.
Note: New child contacts are not added to Flows, even if Flows are specified in the Embed module settings. This is because Flows only currently exist in the Address Book module and not in the Children module. It is not possible to add child contacts to an adult Flow.
Data Protection and safeguarding: Under 18s present an interesting issue for churches when they submit their details via a website. In submitting their details, churches may have little or no connection with consenting parents and guardians. We strongly encourage churches to consider carefully how they work with new under 18s as they connect with your church. Give thought to your data protection and safeguarding processes as they are added to your database - perhaps a helpful consideration is, "How, as a parent, do I feel about my under 18 child having their contact details being held on a church's database?". We hope this advise is useful and helpful.