Adding a new contact or child
Adding new people to the Address Book and Children modules is probably the most basic functionality you'll use in ChurchSuite so we've made it really easy and intuitive. As well as importing batches of 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 a My Details form that can be embedded in your website and run within Connect on a device at your Information Point, so that newcomers can submit their details and areas of interest directly into your ChurchSuite modules and newcomer integration processes.
In this article
Introduction to the Address Book & Children module
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, which has its own Children address book section, is laid out in exactly the same manner as the Address Book. 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.
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 your Address Book, i.e. contacts with an "Active" status, are 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 still wish to maintain historical or statistical data for. Your ChurchSuite monthly subscription is based on the number of contacts in your Address Book that have this "Active" status. You can use tags to distinguish the different levels of engagement of contacts or children you have in the 'active' section of the module.
When people move on from your church or organisation 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. Subject to your data protection policy, you may however prefer to archive contacts 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 personal information about former members where you have a lawful basis. See the related support articles on what happens when a contact is archived or deleted.
When people submit their details through ChurchSuite's web-embeddable features (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 not a reference to a contact's level of engagement with or commitment to your organisation - instead, you should use tags to distinguish levels of engagement of contacts within the "Active" section of your Address Book - e.g. members and non-members. Once set as "Active", contacts and children cannot be set as "Pending" again; they can only be archived or deleted.
Pending status contacts must be Set active (see screenshot above) before they can participate in any wider ChurchSuite functionality. For example, only active contacts can be processed through Flows, be assigned to Tags, be included in communications or be included within report results. The Pending section is therefore not the place for non-members! Instead, those whom you determine to be "non-members" should be tagged accordingly in your "Active" Address Book or Children module.
How to add a new contact or child
In this section we describe working with Address Book contacts but the same methods apply to children and young people in the Children module.
To add a new contact (or edit, archive or delete an existing one) you will need to be a User with Manage module permissions for the Address Book module. If you only have 'Use' permissions you will only be able to view, report on or export data for the module. In the Contacts section of the Address Book click the Add contact button.
On the Add contact page 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's an optional field in the module's settings for Formal Name - see later in this article.
Click Save Changes when you've finished entering all the information.
When you update the address for a contact who has a linked spouse/partner you are prompted to also update their address too.
Similarly, for unlinked children in your Children module, you can easily create a parent contact record in the Address Book from the child's profile - ideal if you've just added a visitor child to the Children module from the Visitors report; now you can add the parent contact too - just click the Add parent option on the Parent section of the child's profile page. ChurchSuite retains the adult/child relationship links too.
Note: To add a parent contact you must have their full name and at least one field of contact information, such as an email address, mobile or telephone number. The Add parent option is not visible when only the adult/parent's name is known.
ChurchSuite provides a number of optional Contact Fields that you can enable or disable in the Address Book module's settings. The Address Book module's settings are accessed via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module (accessible to Administrators and Users with Manage module permissions).
The Children module's settings also have a number of optional Child Fields that can be enabled or disabled as required.
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 for those fields.
The optional Formal Name field enables you to record the formal first name of a contact. For example, you may put the name ‘Dave’ in the First Name field as a 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 duplicated in the Formal Name field.
It’s also possible to put a formal title in the field. For instance, putting the following in the Formal Name field:
…will display as
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. Jonathan’ in the Formal Name field would show as follows, so care should be taken to get the desired results.
Within the Address Book and Children module's settings you can also add your own Custom Fields - see the related support article for further information about creating your own custom fields.
When adding new people or preparing a CSV file for importing people into ChurchSuite, you might consider using mixed sentence case formatting rather than UPPERCASE formatting, especially for first name and last name fields. In this way, when you're using ChurchSuite communication 'merge fields' your communications will be personalised in the format "Dear James" rather than "Dear JAMES".
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 a church's Information Point 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?
One of the neat things about the My Details form is that you can submit details for an entire family in one submission, without needing to add people one at a time and linking the family members together. This might save you considerable time, help you better comply with the GDPR and ensure newcomers are automatically assigned to your welcome and integration processes.
See the related support article at the end of this article for more information.
How many contacts can you create?
Your monthly subscription to ChurchSuite is calculated based on the number of contacts in your Address Book with an active status and your module selection. 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, don't count towards your subscription calculation. Pricing information can be found here. Your monthly charge will automatically update on your next billing cycle when your Address Book grows into the next pricing tier - we'll send your billing contact a notification when you're approaching the upper limit of your current pricing tier.