Getting started with the Attendance module
Purpose of the module
The Attendance Module is the core repository for maintaining historic service attendance data. You can also optionally track Address Book contact attendance, but at its simplest level, the module serves to record key metrics related to church service attendance.
The building blocks of the Attendance module are Categories and Groups (groups in this context are like subcategories). Categories are the headings under which service attendance is grouped and totalled, and from which attendance reports are produced.
In this article
Adding service attendance data
Attendance dates must be unique - you can only record one attendance entry for a date for each site. You will create Categories for each metric you wish to record for any given date.
Importing historic attendance data
It is not possible to import historic service attendance data from within the module, however, if you have existing attendance data in a compatible CSV file format and you have created Categories and Groups in the module to match your CSV file then our developers may be able to import your historic data for you. Drop us a line with your CSV file attached and we'll advise whether it can be imported, or make suggestions on how to amend the CSV file so that the data can be mapped to the Categories and Category Groups in ChurchSuite.
Working within the Categories section of the Attendance module click Add category.
On the Add category pop-up enter a suitable Name, select a Colour, which is used for distinguishing the category on views and reports, and for multi-site customers, specify the Site. You'll create separate Categories for each site for which you wish to record attendance. You will also want to add categories for each service you wish to record attendance for.
Click Save to add the new category. The category "View" page is displayed.
Add Groups to the category by clicking Add group - in this context a group is a statistical value that you wish to record and report for the category. A category must have at least one group. For example, you might have a group for "Total attendance", or you might add separate groups for "Regular adults", "Regular children" and "Visitors". For each group added, select the appropriate Type and whether the group is to be Included in the Category total. For example, groups for 'Attendance' will likely be included in the category total, but groups for 'Number of visitor connection cards' and 'Number of communicants' will not be included, so as not to distort the overall attendance total.
On the Add group pop-up notice the group Type. Select between whether this group will store attendance data as a Number or a Currency value. Currency type groups are totalled separately from number types. Again, select whether the group's currency amount should be Included in the Category currency total. Typically you might create a currency type group to note the total collection/offering.
Continue adding groups as required. You can Archive a group at any time in the future if you no longer wish to record service attendance data for that group - archived groups are styled in strikethrough font in the list and the group is hidden when adding new service attendance data. An archived group and data will still be shown and be editable when viewing or editing historic service attendance data where the archived group was active. An archived group can be Set as active if later needed. Finally, note the option to change the group Order - click any order control to open the Re-order pop-up.
You can return to the Category "View" page at any time in the future to Add, Edit, Archive or Delete a group. Deleting a group is destructive and will delete all historic data associated with that group - we encourage you Archive unwanted groups. Similarly, you can Archive or Delete the entire category (and all its groups). Again, deleting a category is destructive, but archiving preserves the historical data for reporting purposes.
Continue adding other categories and groups as required. You can return to the Categories section at any time in the future to Add further categories, change the category Order, and View, Edit, Archive or Delete a category.
As you begin adding service attendance data each category "View" page maintains a graph showing Recent Attendance.
Having added categories and groups you are ready to begin adding service attendance data, as explained in the next section.
Adding service attendance data
Working within the Dates section of the module click Add service data.
The Add service data page opens. Multi-site customers will begin by selecting a Site and setting the attendance Date that is being added. Optionally add any Notes you wish to maintain against the site's service data for this date if you wish. Multi-site service data is always added on a site-by-site basis for a date. You can only add service data for a site if you have User permissions for that site so you will only see Sites listed that you have permission for. You can also only add service data for Active categories and groups - you can't record service data for Archived categories and their groups.
Remember, you can add service data for multiple sites for the same date, but you can only add one site instance per date. If you attempt to add more than one instance of service data for a site for a date that has already been added you'll receive the following warning message. If you need to add further site service data for an existing date, locate and edit the existing service data entry in the Dates section of the module.
Proceed with adding service data for each of your groups. Note that Groups with an asterisk symbol are excluded from the number and currency Total. For any Group you can enter 0 or leave it blank if you wish.
Click Save before navigating away from the page. Depending on your site permissions, you'll see the newly added site service data, along with any previously entered service data for other sites for that date. Note that where a Site has multiple Categories (perhaps representing different services for the site), site totals are shown. Note also the options to Edit or Delete service data for a site on a date.
To add further service data for another date, navigate back to the Dates section of the module. Service data for each date is listed with the Category totals for each site. The View filter can be used to filter long lists and the Action menu on the right-hand side of each date can be used to View that date's service data.
Once you have started adding some weekly service data to the module, you are then ready to begin exploring the attendance reporting available in the module's Reports section - explained in the next sections.
Within the Reports section of the module are two attendance Overview reports.
With the Graph Generator you can filter your categories, perhaps isolating particular groups and categories and plotting the service data attendance results for a range of dates. The report plots attendance - those groups with number type data (not currency type). For multi-site customers, the categories available to plot will be dependent on the Site the report is being viewed as. Use the Site selector in to top right corner of ChurchSuite to switch between "All Sites" and specific sites. Remember to click Generate to apply any filter changes and update the report's results.
The Monthly Breakdown report provides a month-by-month breakdown of attendance service data across each category and plots the monthly average as well as the actual monthly category totals.
Member attendance tracking
In addition to maintaining service attendance data, churches can optionally track individual attendance of Address Book contacts noted as present on a service date. Attendance tracking can only be maintained for Address Book contacts. Attendance for children and young people can be maintained in the Children module's Attendance section.
Note about intended functionality
It is only possible to record each contact's attendance once per site and per date. If a contact attends your morning service but not your evening service on a date, you cannot distinguish which service they attended; only that they were in attendance on that date. However, for multi-site churches, if a contact attends a service at one site in the morning and another service at a different site in the evening, you will be able to record the contact's service attendance at each site for the same date.
To enable member attendance tracking head into the Attendance module's settings, accessed via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. On the Module Options tab, locate the Attendance Tracking setting and Edit to make changes, either enabling or disabling the feature.
Disabling tracking hides the Attendance widget from each contact's profile page Engagement tab, hides the tick-able contact list seen when adding service attendance, and hides the related tracking reports.
However, with attendance tracking enabled, a tick-able list of active Address Book contacts is shown on the Add service data page. In addition to adding attendance for a category on a date, you can also tick each contact noted as being in attendance on that same date. Optionally filter the list of contacts listed using Tags - clicking on tags filters the list for contacts in those selected tags - those not in the selected tags are shown disabled in the list.
Attendance Tracking data added is shown on the Engagement tab of each contact's profile in the Address Book, enabling you to see a snapshot of their recent attendance.
And in two further Attendance module reports for Attendance Tracking.