Managing newcomers with Connect
ChurchSuite Connect includes a number of useful applications designed to be used at a weekend service Information Point, including the My Details application, which is essentially a newcomer "connect" form. Newcomers can easily submit contact details and select areas of interest. Those details are added direct to your ChurchSuite modules, with optional notifications sent to key ministry overseers. Newcomers can be added straight into Flows, ensuring a consistent welcome and follow up with everyone. And when newcomers submit details for their spouse/partner and children, ChurchSuite links the whole family together automatically.
In this article
See the related support article for further information on accessing ChurchSuite Connect and the other Connect applications.
Overview of the My Details form
The My Details form is designed for staffed and unstaffed Information Points, perhaps at weekend services or events; enabling newcomers to connect with your church or organisation by submitting some of their contact details and areas of interest. New contacts are added to the Address Book therefore reducing the need for printed 'visitor connect' cards and eliminating issues around deciphering handwriting!
An optional Edit mode enables existing Address Book contacts to search for and view their own obfuscated personal details and update them as necessary - ideal for church members who are unable to access the member-facing My ChurchSuite.
The My Details form can be customised to suit your newcomer needs, perhaps to reproduce your existing visitor connect card user experience. The feature supports multi-site organisations so that newcomers are assigned to the correct site. Address Book module settings give you complete control over the form's customisation and the fields and areas of interest that are shown. You can optionally set fields as 'required', set whether new contacts are automatically assigned to Tags, Key Dates and Flows, and whether notifications are sent to key ministry overseers.
You can access the My Details form from the ChurchSuite Dashboard page Quick Links by clicking the ChurchSuite Connect quick link.
Once in Connect click My Details.
Customising the My Details form
The My Details form is customised in the Address Book module's settings accessed via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. Select the Connect Options tab.
Working through each setting in turn - clicking Edit to make changes - optionally tick to Allow existing contacts to be edited if you wish to allow a Connect User to switch between Add mode and Edit mode. In Edit mode existing contacts can search for and manage their details - ideal for those who may not have My ChurchSuite access, but who can visit your Information Point to review and update their personal information.
Next, optionally enter one or more email addresses for those who should receive Notifications when new contact details are submitted through the form - perhaps a Newcomer Pastor - separate multiple email addresses with a comma.
You can further customise the My Details form by adding a brief Welcome Message that shows at the top of the My Details form when it is opened. We recommend you keep this brief so that newcomers are not having to read lots of information before they get to the form.
Continuing down the Connect Options set the Optional Fields, selecting the fields you would like shown on the form, and any fields you wish to make Required. Note that you can also optionally enable Student Details to allow newcomers to include student details as part of submitting their contact details and areas of interest.
Next, multi-site customers can select the sites which are available when completing the form. This section will only be surfaced is Site has been set available in the previous Fields settings. If only one site is selected, new submissions will be added to that site. If multiple sites are selected, a 'site-selector' is provided on the form so that newcomers can select the site their contact details are assigned to. All family members will be assigned to the same selected site and linked together as appropriate.
Next, select any Tags or Key Dates that are to be optionally assigned to new contacts when they are added to the Address Book - for example a "First connected" or "Ongoing Consent" key date. You can also specify whether new contacts are added to Flows. This is great opportunity to ensure newcomers created in your Address Book through the form are always also added into your welcome and integration processes (perhaps a 'Newcomer' Flow) from the very beginning of their journey, ensuring that no one slips through the net! These Tag, Key Date and Flow assignments only apply to Address Book contacts - separate setting exist for children and young people (see later).
Next, add Areas of Interest. This section is optional, but provides a great way of linking a newcomers first connection to their 'next steps with you'. We suggest keeping the list or interest areas and descriptions short, to save newcomer having to endlessly scroll - perhaps just three to five "next steps" - rather than listing every area of ministry or service you provide! Try to make sure there's something for everyone to tick something, rather than a list that might have no interest areas ticked. A good question to consider is, "What things would be want every newcomer to know about that's relevant to their them?"
For each interest Area optionally specify an Email address that will be notified if that area is selected. Typically this might be a ministry overseer. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma. You can also optionally select a Flow for each area - those selecting that area of interest are auto-added to that Flow - ideal where follow up is required - remember, Flows have helpful overseer reminder notifications, so ministry overseers can be notified when each newcomer connects using the form. Use the re-order icons on the left to change the order of the areas of interest.
Finally, optionally add a Success Message that displays on the screen when someone has submitted their details. You can also select to send a Preset Success Email. You'll need to have created the Preset email first, then you can select it from the drop-down list. Don't overlook the importance of the 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. Note that ChurchSuite will always send a confirmation email to the submitter's email address confirming all the details they submitted on the form. In the confirmation, personal details will be presented in an obfuscated format. That confirmation is logged in the person's Communication log as a historic record of their permission to hold the personal data they provided, including the state of the form and their responses. If you select a Preset Success Email, the 'system' confirmation information is appended to the end of the Success Email (rather than sending two emails).
You should now preview the finished My Details form and make further adjustments if necessary. You may find it useful to submit your own details as a way of trying the newcomer user experience. See the related support article for how to access ChurchSuite Connect and the My Details form.
Customising children fields on the form
After you've completed the Connect Options for Address Book contacts, head into the Children module's settings and customise the Connect Options for children.
In these settings you can enable Optional Fields for children added through the form, including any Children module custom fields. Click Edit to make changes.
As with adult contacts you can also set whether children added through the form are assigned to Children module Tags and Flows, and whether Children module Key Dates are assigned. Click Edit to make changes.
What happens when newcomers submit their details?
This is great question and you should know the answer so that you can engage your internal newcomer processes accordingly. Here's what happens: -
- A new contact is added to the Active section of the Address Book.
- Any spouse/partner specified is also added to the Active section of the Address Book and the couple will be linked according to their marital status. The spouse/partner will share all the contact information of the main contact (except name, email, telephone, mobile and DOB, which is unique to each contact).
- Any children added as part of the submission will be added to the Active section of the Children module and linked to the main parent contact in the Address Book.
- Key Dates and Tags will be assigned in accordance with the Connect Options (and also to any spouse/partner and children added).
- Notification emails will be sent to the designated 'Notifications' email address set in the Connect Options, and to all ministry overseer email addresses in respect of for Areas of Interest. New contact and children are also added to Flows as set in the Connect Options (and also any spouse/partner and children added).
- A Note is added against the new contact that their details were added through ChurchSuite Connect (and any spouse/partner and children). The note will include areas of interest selected.
- A "success" email is sent to the new contact. This is logged in the Communication log as a historic record of permission to store persona data.
When new contact details are submitted through the My Details form, ChurchSuite alerts you to any potential duplicates already in the Address Book. When reviewing newly-added contacts, you might see an information message like the example below. You then have the option to check, and if necessary, Merge the duplicate contacts, or Ignore if the contacts are not duplicates. A potential duplicate contact is detected when the first name and last name of contacts are identical.