Adding a new contact
Adding new people to the Address Book module is probably the most basic functionality you'll use in ChurchSuite, so we've made it really easy and intuitive. As well as importing contacts and children using the Import contacts option, you can add people individually, as explained below. Outside the scope of this article, but covered in a related article, there's also an Address Book Embed form and a Connect My Details form that can be used at 'in person' services and events, so that newcomers can submit their details and areas of interest directly into your ChurchSuite account and newcomer integration processes.
In this article
Introduction to the Address Book
The Contacts section of the Address Book is divided into three View sections representing the status of contacts who have given their consent for you to hold their information - active, pending and archived.
The Children module has its own Children address book section, and is laid out in exactly the same manner as the Address Book for contacts. This module is intended to be used for all children and young people whose legal guardians have given their consent for you to record details of their children. The Children module contains additional functionality for managing the age-based gatherings and groups of children and young people.
A note about people's 'status'
Your Address Book may well contain different types of contacts, not just those who are attending, giving, serving or participating. The active section of the Address Book represents all those whom your church or organisation is 'touching and tracking', from the 'crowd' to the 'core', irrespective of their level of engagement or commitment, but whom you still consider to be part of your organisation's ministry and mission. They're all the people whom you may wish to communicate with, or whom you wish to maintain historical or statistical data for. Your ChurchSuite monthly subscription is based on the number of contacts in the Address Book with an "Active" status. Note that you can use Tags to distinguish different levels of people engagement of active contacts.
When people move on, you may decide to delete them from the Address Book entirely if they are unlikely to return - this would certainly be best data protection practice if you no longer have a lawful basis for continuing to process their personal information. However, subject to your data protection policy, you can optionally archive people for a season, giving you the option to reinstate them again in the future, or to delete them after a further period of inactivity. You may also be able, or even required, to maintain certain amounts of personal information about former members where you have a lawful basis. See the related support articles on what happens to people's data when they are archived or deleted. Archived contact names are distinguished in strikethrough styling within the Archived list.
When people submit their details through on of ChurchSuite's web-embedded Forms (e.g. small group sign-up through embed or the "My Details" newcomer embed form), new contacts are first added to the "Pending" section of the module. This is done to protect your "Active" Address Book from being spammed and because your ChurchSuite subscription is based on Active contacts. Setting a "Pending" contact as "Active" will move them to the "Active" section. "Pending" is therefore not a reference to a person's level of engagement - instead, you should use Tags to distinguish different types of engagement within the "Active" section of the Address Book - e.g. members and non-members. Once set as "Active", contacts cannot be set as "Pending" again; they can only be archived or deleted.
How to add a new contact
To add a new contact (or to edit, archive or delete an existing one) you will need to be a User with at least Write permissions for the Address Book module - if your user account only has Use permissions for a module you will not be able to add, import, edit, archive or delete data in that module.
Working within the Contacts section of the Address Book click the Add Contact button.
On the Add Contact pop-up you can now fill in the the various fields of contact information. The minimum information required that constitutes a valid contact is First Name and Last Name. The First Name is typically the person's Known as name - there is an optional field in the module's settings for Formal Name - see later in this article. For multi-site customers, Sites is also a required field - a person must be assigned to at least one site. You may also have custom fields that are required on the pop-up.
Click Save when you've finished entering all the information. After saving, you will be taking the new contact's profile page.
Standard, optional and custom fields
In addition to a wide variety of standard contact fields, ChurchSuite provides a number of optional fields that you can enable or disable in the Address Book module's Settings. You can also add your own custom fields to maintain a record for any information that doesn't sit neatly within one of ChurchSuite's standard or optional fields. You'll need at least Manage permissions to access module settings. On the Module Options tab click to Edit to make changes to optional Fields.
Disabling an optional field will prevent that field from being used throughout the platform, including any reporting that references that field, and any Smart Tag conditions relating to that field. Any data previously collected for a disabled optional field will persist in your database, but is hidden from view and use.
Top Tip! - Formal name and 'known as' name
The standard First Name field is typically used for a person's 'known as' name. However, the optional Formal Name field enables you to also maintain a person's formal first name. For example, you may put the name ‘Dave’ in the First Name field - the contact’s “known as” name - and ‘David’ in the Formal Name field. A contact’s Last Name is automatically appended to their formal name when displaying full names in lists, so the last name should not be added in duplicate to the Formal Name field.
It’s also possible to include a formal title. For instance, the following formal title and first name...
…will display as
Note that Formal names that include titles don't work well in conjunction with the Title field. Putting ‘Mr’ in the Title field and ‘The Very Rev. Timothy’ in the Formal Name field would show as follows, so care should be taken to get the desired results!
Still working within the Address Book module settings, you can also add your own Custom Fields - see our related support article for further information about creating custom fields - here's some examples...
Top Tip! Collecting newcomer details from connection cards
If you're adding new people from paper-based visitor/newcomer contact cards, why not consider using the Connect My Details form? The My Details form is designed to be used at an Information Point at your person events and services, to enable newcomers to submit their contact details and areas of interest, but did you know that it can also be used by your admin team too?
The My Details form enables you to add an entire family in one submission with all the family members correctly linked together automatically; rather than adding people one at a time and manually linking family members afterwards. This might save you considerable time, help you better comply with the GDPR (where applicable), and ensure newcomers are automatically added into your welcome and newcomer integration processes.
See the related support article at the end of this article for more information.
How many contacts can you add?
Your monthly ChurchSuite subscription is calculated based on the number of contacts in your Address Book with an active status (across all sites) and the number of modules you subscribe to. There's no limit to the number of contacts you can add or import to the Address Book.
Contacts in the 'Pending' or 'Archived' sections, and children contacts, do not count towards your subscription calculation. Further information about ChurchSuite's pricing can be found here. As you Address Book grows, your monthly subscription will automatically update on your next billing cycle when you move into the next pricing tier - we'll even send your billing contact a notification when you're approaching the upper limit of your current pricing tier.