Embed a newcomer connect form on your website
Included in ChurchSuite's Address Book functionality is the ability to create a newcomer connect form that can be embedded into your church's website. Newcomers can submit their contact details online and select areas of interest. Submitted details are added to your Address Book and optional notifications are triggered to alert ministry overseers. Newcomers can also be automatically added into Flows. This feature is called Address Book Embed.
In this article
Overview of Address Book Embed
The principles and processes of Address Book Embed are similar to those you may already be familiar with for the Connect "My Details" form - the Sunday-facing form that enables newcomers to submit their contact details and areas of interest on a device running at your church's Information Desk.
Since Address Book Embed is on your public-facing website, anti-spam measures are employed to prevent spam contacts being added to your active Address Book. Additionally, newcomers are added to the Address Book with a 'pending' status...
...requiring them to be reviewed and 'Set active' before they can be part of your 'active' Address Book. "Pending' status contacts are not counted in your monthly ChurchSuite subscription.
Like the Connect "My Details" form, the embedded newcomer form can be customised to suit your church and styled to blend beautifully into your website. The feature is also multi-site-enabled so that newcomers are assigned to the correct site. The Address Book > Embed module options give you complete control over which fields and areas of interest show in your embed form, which fields are 'required' fields, and what happens to newly-created contacts when they are added - adding Notes, assigning to Tags, Key Dates and Flows; and triggering automatic overseer notifications and a newcomer success email/confirmation. Newcomers can submit details for their spouse/partner and children and ChurchSuite links the whole family.
Configuring Address Book Embed
Address Book Embed is configured in the "Address Book" module settings, accessed via the cog-wheels button in the top-right corner of the module. You'll need Manage module or Administrator permissions to access this. In the module options, select the Embed tab.
Begin by first enabling the embed feature - tick to "Enable embedding". The default embed code and preview form option is now displayed. It's this embed code that you'll copy and paste into the source code section of a page on your website. But first, let's look at the code customisation options.
Select "Customise" to open the embed code generator.
As shown in the image above, you can choose whether to display a "Site Selector" (for multi-site churches only) or to specify the Site that new contacts will be assigned to when submitting their details. This option is helpful if your various sites/campuses have their own websites or newcomer web pages - you can easily generate site-specific embed code in this way. Where a site-selector is displayed on an embed form, newcomers will be able to choose from the site list. Finally, set the colour styling and click "Done" when finished.
The embed code has now been updated to reflect the new embed options and colour styling you just created. This code can now be copied and pasted to your website.
It's important to note that the "Customise Embed Code" feature is essentially an Embed Code generator - it generates the embed code needed for your website based on the options you select. However, the code is not saved when you close the module options page. This is intended functionality, allowing you flexibility to use the generator to create multiple custom embed codes; perhaps for use in different parts of your website. Each time you open the Embed settings page, the default embed code is displayed. You must therefore copy and paste your embed code (perhaps to a text file or Word document) before closing the page to avoid losing your changes.
Having first pasted your embed code into your website, you can now use the remaining module options (explained below) to customise what your newcomer form looks like. Changes made here do not require you to re-paste the embed code to your website; your embedded form will automatically update to reflect the changes to the form's settings you now make and save.
Begin by specifying one or more contacts to be notified when a new contact is created. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma. You can further customise the appearance of your embedded form by adding an optional Page Title and Welcome Message.
Next, set the "Optional Fields"; enabling or disabling fields and setting those fields that are required.
Specify any Tags, Key Dates and Flows that are to be added to new contacts when they submit their details. This is great opportunity to ensure newcomers are added straight into your church's welcome and integration processes (perhaps a Newcomer Flow) from the beginning, ensuring that no one slips through the net!
Next, set whether to allow new contacts to add their children. This option is only available to churches with the Children module on their account.
Next, add Areas of Interest. This section is optional and great for engaging newcomers into thinking about their "next steps". We suggest keeping the list of interest areas and the descriptions short, to save the newcomer having to endlessly scroll through every area of ministry or service your church provides!
You can duplicate the areas of interest from your existing Connect "My Details" form, saving you typing from scratch - although the areas you display on your website form might be entirely different to the interest areas you provide at your Sunday information desk using Connect - ChurchSuite gives you the flexibility to create a different form for both settings!
When adding areas of interest you can optionally add an email address of the ministry overseer for that area; and set an optional Flow that new contacts should be added to if they select that area of interest on the form. You can add multiple ministry overseer email addresses by separating them with a comma. Use the cross-handles to change the order of your areas.
Finally, you can customise the "Success Message" that displays on the screen when someone submits their details online. You can also send a Preset "Success Email". You'll need to have created your Preset email first (Administrator > - then you can select it from the list. Don't overlook the importance of the 'success email' - it's your first opportunity to respond to a newcomer and extend a warm welcome as they submit their details - perhaps explain what's going to happen next in terms of follow up.
Note - a confirmation email is always sent whenever a new contact submits personal data into any form in ChurchSuite. The confirmation email confirms all the personal data that was submitted (presented in an obfuscated format), and is logged in the person's Recent Activity > Communication log as an historical record of their consent for you to process the data they have submitted. If a "Success email" is selected (see above), the personal data confirmation is added to the end of the Preset success email, and this is logged instead.
Having finished customising the form, save all your changes by selecting "Save Changes" before closing the Embed options page. You can now view your finished results on your website (or click "Preview") and make further adjustments if necessary.
What happens when newcomers submit their details?
This is a great question and you should know the answer so that you can engage your newcomer processes accordingly. Here's what happens...
- A new contact is added to your Address Book with a pending status.
- Any spouse/partner specified will also have a new contact added to the Address Book with a pending status. The couple will be linked. The spouse/partner will share all the contact information of the main contact (except email, telephone, mobile and DOB). The linked spouse/partner will show "At this address", unless an address was not provided.
- Any children added as part of the submission will be added with a pending status to the Children module and linked to the main parent contact in the Address Book. The linked child will show "At this address", unless an address was not provided.
- Key Dates and Tags will be assigned in accordance with your Address Book Embed module settings (and also to any spouse/partner added). Address Book tags and key dates are not added for children that get added to the Children module.
- The new contact will also be added to your Flows, as specified in your form's settings (and any spouse/partner).
- Notification emails will be sent to the contacts designated in the form's settings, including any ministry overseers that you specified for Areas of Interest.
- A Note is added against the contact that their details were added through Embed, and including any areas of interest selected (and any spouse/partner and children).
- An email confirmation is sent to the primary contact detailing all the personal data that was submitted on the form. If a Preset "success" email has been set then this will be sent instead, with the personal data confirmation added to the end of the email. This email is logged in the primary contact's Recent Activity > Communication log.
Managing newcomers marked as pending
When people submit their details using Address Book Embed, ChurchSuite uses reCAPTCHA 'robot' checking to minimise the risk of spam contacts being created in your Address Book. This may require the submitter to tick to confirm they are not a web robot. They may also be asked to answer a picture question e.g. "click all the boxes in the picture that contain cars" - which in so doing, confirms they're not a web robot.
To protect your active Address Book, all new contacts are added to the "Pending" section", requiring a User to review the contact and set the newcomer contact(s) "Active". Pending contacts are unable to participate in any ChurchSuite functionality until they have been "Set Active" in their contact profile.
When newcomer details are submitted through Address Book Embed, ChurchSuite alerts you to any potential duplicates in your Address Book, though not at the point of submission. When reviewing newly added 'pending status' contacts, you might see an information message alerting you to a potential duplicate. You then have the option to check this and, either 'ignore' the duplicate, or merge the duplicate contacts.
What happens if under 18s submit their details?
Ordinarily, all new contacts are created in the adult Address Book module when a newcomer submits their contact details and areas of interest. However, if the Date of Birth field is set as visible on the Embed form, and as long as the under 18 completes that field, ChurchSuite will correctly create the new "pending status" contact in the Children module instead; otherwise the newcomer is added to the Address Book and may need to be subsequently moved to the Children module.
Where date of birth is specified, and when an under 18 completes the form, certain fields are hidden - marital status, add spouse, add student details, add child, job, employer and Address Book custom fields, since these fields do not exist in the Children module.
Importantly, when an under 18 submits their contact details and areas of interest, Tags, Key Dates, and Notes are all recorded against the 'pending' child contact in the Children module. A success email is sent too, and all notifications are sent as per the module settings. Once the new contact is Set Active, they can then participate in other Children module functionality.
Note: New child contacts are not added to Flows, even if Flows are specified in the Embed module settings. This is because Flows currently only exist in the Address Book module and not in the Children module. It is not possible to add child contacts to an adult Flow.
Data Protection and safeguarding: Under 18s present an interesting issue for churches when they submit their details via a website. In submitting their details, churches may have little or no connection with consenting parents and guardians. We strongly encourage churches to consider carefully how they work with new under 18s as they connect with your church. Give thought to your data protection and safeguarding processes as they are added to your database - perhaps a helpful consideration is, "How, as a parent, would you feel about your under 18 child having their contact details being held on a church's database?". We hope this advise is useful and helpful.