Getting started with the Attendance module
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Getting started - next steps checklist
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. All attendance reports produced are based on Categories.
- Review the module settings via the cogwheel icon in the top right-hand corner
- Add Categories: see Adding categories
- Add some attendance data: see Adding service attendance data
- Optionally record attendance for Address Book contacts: see Member attendance tracking
Do you have historical attendance data?
WE CAN HELP YOU While it's not possible to import historic service attendance data from within the module if you have existing attendance data in a compatible CSV file format - and have created Categories and Groups in the module to match your CSV file - then our developers may be able to import 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 category Site. Create separate Categories for each site and service for which you wish to record attendance.
Click Save to add the new category. The category View is displayed. Next, add category Groups for each statistical value you wish to maintain and report on by clicking Add group. 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".
On the Add group pop-up, notice the group Type. Select whether this group will store data as a Number or a Currency value. Currency-type groups are totalled separately from number types. Typically, you might create a currency-type group to record the collection/offering received on an attendance date.
Finally, select whether the group's number or currency value should be Included in [the category number/currency] total. For example, groups for 'Numbers of attendees' will likely be included in the attendance total but groups for 'Number of visitor connection cards' and 'Number of cars in car park' will not be included. In this way, you can maintain data for attendance and non-attendance metrics that are pertinent to the attendance data you wish to track over time.
Continue adding groups as required. The examples below may help you consider which groups you might add for your context. You can Archive a group at any time in the future if you no longer wish to record 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. Data for an archived group is still shown and editable when viewing or editing historic service attendance data for dates where the group was previously active. An archived group can be Set as active if you later decide you need it again.
Finally, note the option to change the group Order which determines how groups are listed when adding service attendance data and when filtering reports. Click any order control to open the Order pop-up, then drag and position each group in the preferred order. Click Save to apply the changes.
You can return to the Category View at any time in the future to Add, Edit, Archive or Delete a group. Deleting a group is destructive and will delete all historical data associated with that group - we encourage you to Archive unwanted groups!
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 for your other services, change the category Order and View, Edit, Archive or Delete a category. Note that deleting a category (and all its groups) is destructive and will delete all linked attendance data. We encourage you to archive unwanted categories, as this preserves the historical attendance data for reporting purposes.
As you begin adding Attendance data (explained in the next section), the category View shows a graph of Recent Attendance. Attendance data can be further visualised in the module's available Reports and there's a handy Attendance widget that Users can add to their ChurchSuite Dashboard to give an at-a-glance view of recent attendance.
Adding service attendance data
Note: Attendance data is unique for a date - you can only add one attendance entry per site for a date
Working within the Attendance section of the module click Add attendance.
On the Add attendance pop-up, select a Site (multi-site customers only) and the attendance Date using the date picker. Optionally add any Notes you may wish to maintain with the service attendance data for this date. You can now add the attendance values for each service - 0 and empty values are permitted. If you are adding additional values for a service that wasn't completed when the attendance date was first added, you will need to Edit the attendance for that date to complete the additional information. Note that if Attendance Tracking is disabled in the module settings, the pop-up won't show the "Next: Add people" step - attendance tracking is described in the next section.
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.
Return to the Attendance section to add further attendance. Recent attendance in the last 6 months is shown (further attendance reporting is available through the Reports section of the module). Note the attendance Actions to View, Edit, or Delete an attendance entry. Deleting attendance is a destructive and permanent action - delete with caution!
Member attendance tracking
In addition to maintaining the attendance data for the headline numbers, you can optionally maintain a record of the attendance of individual Address Book contacts for a service date. Attendance tracking for children and young people can also be maintained separately in the Children module's Attendance section, with attendance either added manually from printed registers, or automatically through the use of the ChurchSuite Child Check-In system. See our related support articles for further information.
A note about the intended functionality...
You can record each contact's attendance once per date per site. Where you run multiple services for a site, you cannot distinguish which service or multiple services they attended, only that they were in attendance on that date. However, for those using multi-site, if a contact attends a service at one site in the morning and another service at a different site in the evening, you can maintain the contact's distinct service attendance at each site for the same date.
To enable member attendance tracking, head into the Attendance module's settings 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 enable the feature.
Disabling attendance tracking will hide the Attendance widget from the Engagement tab of contact profile pages and the option to tick a list of attendee contacts for an attendance date. If the functionality outlined in this section is not shown, check the module settings to ensure attendance tracking is enabled.
With attendance tracking enabled, you can add a record of individual attendees against an attendance date. You can choose between two ways of entering the details (or a combination of both!):
From the attendance View for a date, you can search and add contacts directly within the page.
Selected names are added to the attendance record. Continue searching and adding names or click X to remove an incorrectly added person. Alternatively, click Edit to view a full list of contacts. For multi-site customers, you may find it helpful to switch to viewing a single site to see a filtered list of contacts for just that site).
On the Edit pop-up, scroll and click on those in attendance, or click a ticked attendee again to clear their attendance - the change is immediately saved. Click X in the top-right corner to close the pop-up and return to the attendance View where the record of attendees is listed. Note also the option to filter the list of contacts by Tag - ideal for recording attendance for only those in a 'Members' tag, and a Search to locate people within a long contacts list - the list filters as you type.
Attendance tracking data of Address Book contacts is shown on the Engagement tab of their profile, providing a snapshot of their recent attendance...
Within the Reports section of the module are two attendance Overview reports, and where attendance tracking is enabled, two further related 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 depend on the Site the report is being viewed as. Use the Site selector in the 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.