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 instructions on accessing ChurchSuite Connect.
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 by submitting some contact details and optionally selecting areas of interest. New contacts are added to your Address Book, 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 church's needs, perhaps to reproduce your existing visitor connect card user experience. It's also multi-site enabled so that newcomers are assigned to the correct site. Address Book module settings give you complete control over which fields and areas of interest show on the My Details form, which fields are 'required' fields, and whether newly-created contacts are automatically assigned to Tags, Key Dates and Flows; and notifications can be sent to key ministry overseers, perhaps when certain areas of interest are selected.
Configuring Address Book Connect
The My Details form is configured in the Address Book module settings, accessed via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. Select the Connect Options tab.
To activate My Details, tick to Allow new contacts to be added. If you wish to enable Edit mode, so that existing contacts can search for and manage their own details, tick to Allow existing contacts to be edited. Next, optionally enter the email address of those who are to 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 form when it loads. 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; enabling the fields you would like on the form, including 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. If you have created Custom Fields, these too can optionally be enabled on the form.
Next, multi-site customers can select to Allow contacts to choose their Site, and if so, which site(s) they can select from. If only one site is selected, no site-selector is provided on the form and submitted details are added to that one site. If multiple sites are enabled, 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, set any optional Tags or Key Dates that are to be 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 a Flow. This is great opportunity to ensure newcomers always get into your integration processes (perhaps a Newcomer Flow) from the very beginning of their journey with your church, ensuring that no one slips through the net! Tags, Key Dates and Flow assignments only apply to new Address Book contacts, not children.
Next, if you wish newcomers to be able to add their children, tick the Allow contacts to add their Children setting. This option is only available to churches with the Children module on their account.
Next, add Areas of Interest. This section is optional, but provides a great way of linking newcomers to their 'early next steps' in your church. We suggest keeping the list or interest areas and the 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 your church provides! Try to make sure there's something for everyone, rather than offering a list but there's nothing of interest to be ticked!
For each Area added, optionally add 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 specify a Flow for each area - those selecting that area of interested are then auto-added to that Flow - ideal where follow up is required. Use the cross-hairs icons on the left to change the order of the areas of interest. You can even Duplicate from Embed - ideal for using the same interest areas from the Embeddable My Details form, saving you typing from scratch. However, you may prefer entirely different areas of interest on your Connect My Details form compared to those on the Embed My Details form on your website - it's entirely up to you!
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 Recent Activity > Communication log as a historic record of their permission to hold the personal data they provided. If you assign a Success Email, the confirmation email information is simply appended to the end of the Success Email (rather than sending two emails).
Remember to Save all the changes made before navigating away from the Connect Options page. You show now view the finished My Details form and make further adjustments if necessary. See the related support article for how to access Connect.
What happens when newcomers submit their details?
This is 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 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 added, but not to children).
- Notification emails will be sent to the designated email address in the Connect Options, and to all ministry overseer email addresses designated for Areas of Interest. The new contact will also be added Flows, as designated in the Connect Options (and any spouse/partner, but not children).
- A Note is added against the 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 Recent Activity > 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.