Stay on top of your church member key dates

All of your church members have important dates in their lives and in their interactions with your church, some of which you will want to be able to stay on top of. Examples include, baptisms, weddings, first visit at church, etc. Fortunately, ChurchSuite makes this really easy...

In this article

About Key Dates
Adding a Key Date to a person
Adding a Key Date to multiple people
Making changes to key dates
Reporting on Key Dates
Missing Key Dates
Key Date anniversaries
Overview of your Key Dates
Automatically assign a Key Date to new contacts
Viewing the Key Date journey of archived contacts

About Key Dates

Key Dates can be created in both the Address Book and Children modules. Each module has its own distinct Key Dates. There's no limit to the number of Key Dates you can create. Deleting a Key Date simply removes the record of that date from against all contacts or children who had that date (it doesn't delete the contacts!). Key Dates can also be referenced as Smart Tag conditions (both 'Has Key Date' or 'In Key Date' range of dates). Key Dates are only visible in ChurchSuite (the admin-facing system) - they are not visible to church members in My ChurchSuite (the church member-facing system).

To create a new Key Date, or to add/remove Key Dates for contacts, you must be either an Administrator, or have Manage module permission on the Address Book and/or Children modules.

Adding a Key Date to a person

To add a Key Date to an individual person, go to "Address Book" > "Contacts" (or "Children" > "Children") and select the contact for whom you want to add a Key Date.

If the person doesn't yet have any Key Dates, the Key Dates section will not be visible on their profile. Begin by selecting "Add to Key Date" at the top of their profile page.

Type a name for your Key Date. As you type, ChurchSuite will auto-suggest from your existing Key Date names, or you can type a new Key Date name.

Set the "date" of the Key Date to be added for the person and optionally type a description for the Key Date being added. Note also the option to search by person/tag, perhaps to assign that same Key Date to others. Click "Save" to add the Key Date for the selected person(s).

Having added a first Key Date, the Key Dates table becomes visible on the person's profile page.

Key Dates are also plotted on a timeline on the person's profile page, along with a list of all the Key Dates you've recorded for that person (see below). As a person's Key Date history grows over time, helpful filters allow you to filter particular Key Dates or those within a given timeframe. In addition to the Key Dates your users may assign, note that ChurchSuite automatically records the following "system" Key Dates against people in relation to Ministries and Small Groups: -

  • Joined ministry - date and ministry name
  • Left ministry - date and ministry name
  • Joined small group - date and small group name
  • Left small group - date and small group name

Additional Key Dates can also be added using the "Add key date" button at the top left of the table. Key Dates can also be edited and deleted using the action cog on the right hand side of each Key Date in the list.

Adding a Key Date to multiple people

As seen in the previous section, it's possible to add a Key Date to multiple contacts using the "Search for person/tag" option on the "Add to Key Date" modal. You can also quickly add a Key Date to multiple people in your Address Book and/or Children module in other ways too. Throughout ChurchSuite you'll see the "Add to key date" option (just like we saw on a person's profile page in the previous section); for example, here at the top of a Tag page.

Another example of "Add to key date" is found here, on an Event Page where there are Invites, Sign-Ups or Check-Ins.

Whenever you use the "Add to Key Date" option, you'll always enter a Key Date 'name' (ChurchSuite auto-suggests as you begin to type, or you can enter a new Key Date name), the Key Date "date" and an optional Key Date 'description'. The window is pre-filled with all the people listed on the page where the action is launched - in this example, all the event sign-ups for this event that exist in the Address Book and/or Children module. At this point you can manually remove individuals, or search for and add additional people to be assigned, if you wish. Click "Save" and the Key Date will be assigned against all the selected contacts and children in both modules respectively.

A further method of adding Key Dates to multiple contacts is when adding a new Key Date. From Address Book > Key Dates, select "Add key date" at the top of the page. Using the contacts selector you can quickly select multiple contacts from the list, or switch to add contacts in a tag. Save your changes before navigating away from the page. If the Key Date "Name" already exists, the newly added Key Date will be merged with the existing Key Date and ChurchSuite will assign the new Key Date "date" to your selected people.

Note that when adding a new Key Date, if an existing Key Date by that name exists, the two Key Dates will be merged. The selected contacts for the new Key Date "date" will be merged in to the existing Key Date, but the "Colour" and "Visible to" will not override the colour and visibility of the existing Key Date. If you wish to change the colour and visibility of the existing Key Date you will need to edit that Key Date and then make the changes. In this way it won't be possible for a restricted visibility Key Date to be made visible to "All Users" when a duplicate Key Date name is added.

Making changes to key dates

You can easily edit key dates that have assigned to people - perhaps to correct a mistake that's been made. Click through the the person's profile page in the Address Book or Children module and scroll down the page to the Key Dates section. Note the options to filter long lists of key dates by [key date] Name and In the last. On the cog actions menu on the right-hand side of each key date in the list are options to Edit or Delete the key date. Selecting Delete will only delete that one key date entry from the person's list - it won't delete the key date from all people!

Reporting on Key Dates

Go to "Address Book" > "Reports" (or "Children" > "Children"). In the "Contacts" or "Children" section, locate and select the "Key Dates" Report.

In the example report below you can see a list of contacts that share a certain Key Date (in this case, First Visit) in a certain timeframe (depending on what you select in the blue box). The list has also been further filtered by the Baptism Tag - essentially showing all contacts who first visited between two dates and have been baptised. Whenever you change your parameter selection, don't forget to click "Generate" to refresh and populate the results list.

Please note that the Key Dates report only draws from people who have at least one Key Date on their record. If you need to identify people who do not have a particular Key Date, use the Key Dates Missing report which looks at all contacts when generating the result.

The Key Dates drop-down menu is "multi-select", and allows you to compare and contrast multiple Key Dates, and even make an inverse selection of a Key Date. In this next example, we are looking for a list of contacts who, in a range of dates, having first visited have not yet joined any small group. It may be useful to understand the logic used - essentially each Key Date is matched with an AND statement - i.e. Has "First Visit" AND Has NOT "joined small group".

Using the Key Date "multi-select", Tags filter and custom date ranges, you can very simply make complex enquiries of your contacts' Key Dates; perhaps identifying where in your processes newcomer engagement is stalling, or identifying the % of new believers who get baptised.

And then of course, once you have a filtered list of contacts, it's really easy to communicate direct from the report results page.

This could be useful in a number of ways. For instance, some churches add a Key Date to people for "Wedding". Using the Key Dates report you could find everyone who got married in the last two years, and then send them an email invitation to a marriage refresher event that your church is running.

Helpfully, you can download your report results to PDF or CSV file, print the report, or email the report to someone else. You can also add your reported contacts direct to a Tag (see Tags for more information) or add them to a Flow (see Flows for more information).

Missing Key Dates

Sometimes it's just as useful to see what Key Dates members of your church are not being logged as having. For example, you want to see who in your Address book has not joined a ministry or small group yet, or which youth have not been baptised.

Click "Address Book" > "Reports" and select 'Key Dates Missing' in the 'Contacts' section.

As with the Key Dates report, you have the option to refine or filter your search by Tag(s) and relevant dates to find the information that you need.

Key Date anniversaries

The Anniversaries report in the Address Book module reports is ideal for filtering and viewing lists of contacts who have a matching Key Date anniversary within a given month or months - for example, show me a list of all contacts who have a Safeguarding Training key date and the anniversary details for those contacts.

Using the report filters, you can tailor the report to match one or more Key Dates, filter results to just contacts within certain Tags, and filter the range of anniversary milestones in years. All columns in the report results are sortable (click on the column heading to change the sort order). The report results can then be emailed, downloaded or printed. You can communicate directly with contacts in the report results, or you can add the resulting contacts to a Tag.

Overview of your Key Dates

Clicking "Address Book" (or "Children") > "Key Dates" provides an overview of all the Key Dates in your database, showing the number of people in that Key Date. You can click to view, edit or delete a Key Date here.

Clicking on a Key Date drills down to show the contacts who have that Key Date. The list of contacts shown can be further filtered by Tag(s) and by a range of dates e.g. all the people with a "Baptised" Key Date between 1st January 2015 and 31st December 2015. You can communicate directly with the contacts listed in your Key Date search, or add them to a Tag group (see Tags for more information). Finally, you can edit the name label of your Key Date.

The list of contacts includes basic contact information at a glance, and each occurrence of the Key Date are show in the coloured shaded box.

When selecting to "Edit key date" you can change the Key Date name, assign a colour (which displays in lists and reports of Key Dates) and optionally restrict the visibility of the Key Date. By default Key Dates are visible to all users, but you can restrict this to "Just me" or to one or more User Groups.

Automatically assign a Key Date to new contacts

When adding new contacts to your Address Book (including when new contacts are added through our Connect system like "My Details", ChurchSuite's Visitor Connect kiosk system, or "My Details Embed", ChurchSuite's web-embeddable visitor connect functionality), it is possible to automatically add a particular Key Date to new contacts.

In the Address Book module settings, select the "Module" tab and scroll down to the Tags/Key Dates section. Here you can select one or more Key Dates that you would like automatically recorded against any new contacts when a User adds a contact to the module.

You can also apply Key Dates to new contacts added through Connect and Embed. In the Address Book module settings, click on the Connect and Embed tabs respectively and select the Key Date(s) to be assigned to new contacts; here in the Connect settings...

...and here in the Embed settings

NB. You'll need Administrator or 'Manage Module' permissions for the Address Book in order to make changes to the Module, Connect or Embed settings described above.

Viewing the Key Date journey of archived contacts

When you archive a person in your Address Book or Children module, their Key Date history is retained. Viewing any archived person's profile page will therefore show their Key Date journey, using the Archived Contacts report in the Address Book module reports (or Archived Children report in the Children module reports) . In addition to filtering contacts that have been archived within a range of dates, it is also possible to further filter on Key Dates of the matching people.

The "Key Dates" drop-down selector can be used to select one or more Key Dates to filter your report of archived contacts by; perhaps to identify archived contacts who have left the church but who didn't complete your membership process.

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