Managing the details of your child check-in visitors
In this article
With Child Check-in its never been easier to securely gather basic contact details and maintain attendance of visiting children coming to your groups.
Visiting children are not immediately added to the Children module. Instead, when visiting children are added and checked in, their details are added to a separate Visitors section in the Children module's Visitors report. For multi-site churches, visitors are assigned to the same Site as the underlying Gathering that was used when they first checked in. If that visitor visits a different site in the future, they will need to be checked in as a new visitor for that site's Gathering. From the Visitors report you can easily send follow up communications to visitor children's parents and, subject to your data protection policy, easily add them to the Children module while retaining their historic visitor attendance.
Managing child check-in visitors
From the Children module's Reports section, open the Visitors report. The Visitors report lists all information entered about each visitor, including parent/guardian contact details, medical information child details and the number of check-ins.
Top Tip! Welcoming visitors more effectively...
Whenever a visiting parent completes the Visitor check-in process and submits personal data about their visitor child, a confirmation email is always sent to the parent email address (if an email is supplied on the Visitor form). That confirmation email contains full details of the personal data that was submitted, presented in an obfuscated format.
However, you might prefer to send a more welcoming message to your visitors. This can easily be done by creating a Preset 'visitor welcome' email (In Administrator > Presets), and then set that Preset as the "Success" Confirmation Email that is sent. ChurchSuite will automatically append the personal data confirmation section to the end of your Preset email before sending.
Having created your visitor Preset email, head into the Children module's settings and navigate to the Visitors section on the Connect Options tab to select your Preset Confirmation Email.
Subject to the consent of a visiting child's parents and your church's Data Protection policy, (i.e. where you have a lawful basis for processing) you may wish to add that visiting child to your Children module. You can easily add a Visitor child (and their visitor parent contact details) to the Children module by selecting Add child from the action cog menu on the right-hand side of each visitor child listed.
It's also possible to edit the details of visiting children - perhaps to correct a mistake or add in (with permission) further information such as medical information that you subsequently learn. Simply select Edit from the cog action menu on the right hand side of a visitor child in the list.
...to make any changes necessary.
Selecting View changes from the cog action menu will display a Changes log for that visitor.
For children that have checked in as visitor multiple times (perhaps indicating they are no longer a visitor!), clicking on the "number pill" in the Check-Ins column will pop-up a list of their check-in history, so you can see how regular those check-ins really are. This may be helpful in identifying potential newcomers whom you may wish to welcome and integrate into your Children module and Address Book.
The Visitors report includes a number of helpful report filters to help you view lists of visitor children with recent attendance ( Last Check-In Within), or whose number of Check-Ins is within a certain number of attendance instances, or those in a particular school year. You can also Only show visitors with zero check-ins - which may be the list of imported visitors that have not yet checked in, or visitors that have registered but not checked in (where 2-stage check-in 'register first, check-in later' is used). Click Generate to apply filter changes and view the matching results.
The Communicate drop-down provides options to communicate with the parents of the visitors currently being filtered in the report. The Visitors report can also be printed, or you can Download in CSV or PDF formats.
Although it's not possible to add a child visitor's parent to the Address Book as part of adding the child to the Children module; where the visitor parent also consents to having their details stored in the Address Book, you can use the Add parent action on the newly-added child's profile page. In the example below, Add parent will create a new Address Book profile for Daz Adams, with all his parent contact details added too; and Daz will be auto-linked to his son Barry.
Managing visitor data retention
Data Protection legislation provides that organisations should not retain data any longer than needed i.e. data that is not being maintained, kept up to date, or no longer serves a useful purpose.
ChurchSuite automatically removes visitors after a pre-defined period of time. For safeguarding record purposes, when any visitor is removed or deleted, the visitor child's name is still retained against the group's attendance record in the Children module - essentially a text record of the visitor's name is retained forever (as long as the group itself is retained) - but the visitor's "profile" on the Visitors report is removed, including their name, date of birth, parent details, etc.
The retention period is stated at the top of the Visitors report - 12 months in this example.
You can change the visitor retention period in your Children module's settings. Navigate to the module's settings and click into the Connect Options tab. Scroll down the Connect options to the Visitor options. Set the Delete visitors after setting as appropriate. Note that the date of deletion is in reference to the date they last checked in, not the date they were first added as a visitor. In this way, visitors who return periodically are not unhelpfully removed from the system; making it easier for visiting parents to check their children in when they re-visit, without having to re-enter all their details again.
Importing child visitor information
You may find it useful to be able to import your child visitor data held in other systems, or from past events or groups you've run. This will be useful if you're planning to use Child Check-in and you want those previous visitors to be able to check-in easily without have to re-enter all their details again. Here's how to import child visitor information.
You can import visitors in CSV file format. The child's first name, last name and date of birth are required fields. The date of birth is required so that the system can determine which groups assigned to when they are checked in. Make sure that the first row in your CSV file is the header row that contains the field names of each column in your data - this is what ChurchSuite will use to map the data in your file to the fields in ChurchSuite.
Working within the Reports section of the Children module, open the Visitors report and click Import visitors.
Scrolling down the Import visitors page you'll find useful information about how to prepare your file in the correct format ready to import. There's also the option to Download example file to use as a starting point for your own data.
Having prepared your CSV file, select Choose file and navigate to the CSV file and select it. Next, click Import CSV File.
The CSV file data is uploaded (it's not imported at this stage). You can now preview the first 5 records in the file. Note the CSV Header column - this can be useful when selecting the field that ChurchSuite should Import As. Make any changes necessary, noting that any fields with yellow exclamation marks next to them will not be imported - probably because ChurchSuite doesn't recognise the CSV Header in your CSV file - this is fixed by selecting the correct field from the Import As drop-down list, or selecting --Do not import--.
Once you are happy to proceed, click Import All Records to complete the process. A summary report of the visitors imported is displayed, along with any errors detected.
There are 2 types of import errors - Failures - the visitor is not imported, and Errors - the visitor is imported but the error fields are empty. If any errors are detected the report will continue to be displayed until the Clear Errors button is clicked and confirmation that the failures and errors are to be deleted.
The newly-imported child visitors are added to the Visitors report, along with any previous child visitors you had there.