Managing privacy settings

My ChurchSuite is a great way for members to stay connected with their church/organisation, and also with one another. Whether it's to organise a rota swap or contact a fellow small group member, My ChurchSuite privacy settings make it easy for each member contact or child to control which elements of their basic personal contact details are visible to others in My ChurchSuite.

In this article

Privacy settings & My Groups
Privacy settings & My Rotas
Privacy settings & Search for Others
Managing privacy settings in My ChurchSuite
Managing privacy settings in ChurchSuite
Customising the privacy settings message
Managing the default privacy settings assigned to new people added to ChurchSuite

Privacy settings introduction

It's important to remember that at no time is personal information visible to anyone outside of your church or organisation, but as explained in this article, it is possible for members to optionally set some of their basic personal contact details visible to other members who also have My ChurchSuite access - their name, address, contact phone numbers and email. Other personal details such as their date of birth, marital status, linked spouse/partner and linked children details are only visible to the member themselves and never visible to others in My ChurchSuite.

There are three areas within My ChurchSuite in which members may be able to see another member's contact details (name, address, contact phone numbers, and email only); these are: My Groups, My Rotas and Search for Others.

For those serving on rotas and those belonging to small groups, being able to contact one another is helpful. There's also an optional searchable contact directory called Search for Others. When enabling the Search feature you can specify Tag restrictions to determine who can access the search and who will be included in search results. In this way, you can restrict access to Search for Others to certain groupings of members (rather than being available to all members), and you can restrict which groupings of members people can search for (subject to each person's privacy settings). For example, those in a 'newcomer' Tag could be excluded from using the search and also from showing in search results. Those in your Children module are never included in search results.

Whether these three My ChurchSuite sections are available will depend on the ChurchSuite modules you subscribe to and whether My ChurchSuite access has been enabled in the respective module options. If any of these three areas is not enabled it will not show in the navigation Menu in My ChurchSuite.

Privacy and group emails: A rota group email or small group email sent with Send replies just to me will always disclose the sender's email address in the "reply-to" field of the message so that replies are routed back to just the sender, rather than to the group's email address. This will happen even if the sender's privacy settings have their email set as not visible - it's not possible to send an anonymous email requesting replies to "just me" - the sender's email address has to be disclosed or the recipient's email provider will bounce the message undeliverable. However, a rota group email or small group email sent with Send replies to me and all other group members will disclose the group's private email address only in the reply-to field of the email - replies are routed back to all rota/group members by ChurchSuite without disclosing the rota/group member email addresses.

Privacy settings in ChurchSuite

While Privacy settings primarily control the visibility of member details in My ChurchSuite, they are also respected within your admin-facing ChurchSuite modules. For example, privacy settings are respected by default when producing a printable PDF contact directory or Envelopes/Labels through the Address Book module's Communication section.

Privacy settings & My Groups

The My Groups section shows a list of all the small groups that a member belongs to and a list of groups available for sign-up (if enabled). For each group, members with an active can view a Members list, and subject to each group member's privacy settings, will see each group member's name listed, including their email address, mobile and telephone number. Group members with a pending status are unable to view the Members list until they are set active in the group. Group members whose privacy settings have Name not visible are shown as Hidden.

Clicking Edit my visibility (shown above), a member can further control their privacy settings for the group by choosing whether to use their default privacy settings, or whether to override those settings to provide more granular visibility of certain details for just that group. For example, a group member might decide to make their mobile visible to other members of one group they belong to, but for it not to be visible to members of another group they belong to.

Small Groups module users are also able to manage the granular privacy settings on behalf of group members on a group-by-group basis in ChurchSuite; ideal if you have members who are unable to access My ChurchSuite to manage their privacy settings. See later in this article for details of how this is done.

Privacy settings & My Rotas

The My Rotas section shows a list of 'next serving' rota dates and a list of rotas that a member belongs to or oversees. This section is only visible to rota and ministry members; those not on rotas or who do not belong to any ministry will not see this section in My ChurchSuite.

When viewing a rota, rota members can view a Teams list and, subject to each rota member's privacy settings, will see each rota team member's name listed, including their email address, mobile and telephone number. Rota members whose privacy settings have Name not visible are shown as Hidden.

Clicking Edit my visibility (shown above), a ministry member can further control their privacy settings for the ministry's rotas by choosing whether to use their default privacy settings, or whether to override those settings to provide more granular visibility of certain details for just the rotas belonging to that ministry. For example, a ministry member might decide to make their mobile visible to other members of one ministry they belong to, but for it not to be visible to members of another ministry they belong to.

Rotas module users are also able to manage the granular privacy settings on behalf of ministry members on a ministry-by-ministry basis in ChurchSuite; ideal if you have ministry members who are unable to access My ChurchSuite to manage their privacy settings. See later in this article for details of how this is done.

Note: Only ministry members can edit their ministry visibility. Ad hoc rotas members who are not members of the rota's underlying ministry cannot manage ministry visibility - default privacy settings will always apply.

The Search for Others section, if enabled, allows members to look up the contact details of other members - either by scrolling through a paginated list of members or by typing a contact name into the Search bar. Subject to each person's privacy settings their basic contact details can be viewed - name, email, mobile and telephone numbers are visible in the search results. Those in your Children module are never shown in Search for Others.

Clicking on a contact from the list opens a pop-up, which again, subject to that person's privacy settings, shows their name, email address, mobile and telephone number, address, site, and any custom fields that have been set visible in My ChurchSuite.

Managing privacy settings in My ChurchSuite

Contacts and children with My ChurchSuite access can self-manage their Privacy settings in My ChurchSuite, enabling them to choose which elements of their contact details - name, email, address, mobile, landline telephone - are visible to others with My ChurchSuite access. Parents with My ChurchSuite access can also view and manage information for each of their own linked children through My ChurchSuite.

From the My Details section, members can view their current privacy settings and see which elements of their basic contact details are currently visible to other members with My ChurchSuite access.

Clicking Edit opens a pop-up showing your organisation's privacy message and a series of checkboxes that control which elements of their details are visible (checked) or not visible (unchecked). As a reminder, while each person can view all their details in My ChurchSuite, others with My ChurchSuite access are only able to view their name, address, telephone, mobile and email address if the settings are checked.

Managing privacy settings in ChurchSuite

Administrators and users with at least Write permissions for the Address Book and Children modules can make changes to a contact and child's Privacy settings on their behalf - for example when acting on the verbal instructions of someone who may not have My ChurchSuite access. You may wish to add a Note against the person's profile recording that verbal instruction.

To change a person's Privacy settings navigate to their profile page within the Address Book or Children module and click Edit at the top of their profile...

On the Edit pop-up, locate the section titled My ChurchSuite & Privacy and make the changes as appropriate. Click Save.

Note that you can make bulk changes to multiple people's privacy settings using the batch Edit action in the Contacts and Children section of the respective Address Book and Children modules. You might find it helpful to use the Advanced search to further filter the list, or manually select multiple people, which will show the batch Actions menu...

On the batch Edit pop-up, locate the My ChurchSuite & Privacy settings, tick those settings you wish to bulk-change and select the option value to be applied for each setting.

Small Groups module users with at least Write permissions are also able to manage the privacy settings of group members on a granular group-by-group basis. From the group's Members list, selecting to Edit a member will open a pop-up through which a User can override the member's default privacy settings. These privacy settings only apply to this group, meaning that the visibility of a member's details can be different from group to group if they wish. Group members are also able to self-manage their small group privacy settings on a group-by-group basis from within My ChurchSuite; changes made here by a User are typically only made with the member's consent, perhaps if they don't themselves have My ChurchSuite access.

And finally, Rotas module users with at least Write permissions are also able to manage the privacy settings of ministry members on a granular ministry-by-ministry basis. From the ministry's Teams list, selecting to Edit a team member will open a pop-up through which a User can override the member's default privacy settings. These privacy settings only apply to this ministry (applying to each team the member belongs to, and to each rota produced for the ministry), meaning that the visibility of a member's details can be different from ministry to ministry if they wish. Ministry members are also able to self-manage their ministry privacy settings on a ministry rota-by-rota basis from within My ChurchSuite; changes made here by a User are typically only made with the ministry member's consent, perhaps if they don't themselves have My ChurchSuite access.

Customising the privacy settings message

In each place where people can self-manage their privacy settings, a customisable privacy settings Message can be added. To customise the message head into the Profile section of the Administrator area on the My ChurchSuite settings tab.

Scroll down the settings to the Privacy section. Here you can add or edit the Message to be shown where privacy settings surface. The same message applies to contacts and children, so you should use language and terminology that is appropriate and easy to understand. Click Edit to make changes.

Similarly, in the Small Groups module's My ChurchSuite Options, you can also customise the Privacy message that is shown in the My Groups section of My ChurchSuite when members click Edit my visibility for a group.

And in the Rotas module's My ChurchSuite Options, you can customise the Privacy message that is shown in My Rotas section of My ChurchSuite when ministry members click Edit my visibility for a ministry.

Managing the default privacy settings of new people added to ChurchSuite

You can set the default Privacy settings that are assigned to new contacts and children that are added or imported to the respective Address Book and Children modules. You can later override the default privacy options on a person-by-person basis, and even make bulk changes to groupings of people, or even all people in the module - see related support article Managing privacy settings and communication options bulk groups of people.

For contacts, head into the Address Book's Module options - and for children, head into the Children module's Module options - accessed via the cogwheels icon in the top right corner of the respective module.

Scroll down to the My ChurchSuite & Privacy section to Edit the default Privacy settings that will be used for new people when you add or import them into ChurchSuite. Changes made to these settings will not affect the settings of existing people in the module. For those governed by the EU GDPR, best compliance is likely achieved by leaving all privacy settings unticked so that each member (data subject) can freely choose which of their details to set visible to others in My ChurchSuite.

Still need help? Contact ChurchSuite Contact ChurchSuite