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. Newcomers are added to the Pending section of the Address Book.
Once reviewed, the newcomer contacts can be Set as active, which moves them to the Active section of the Address Book. Only contacts in the Active section of the Address Book are counted when calculating your monthly ChurchSuite subscription.
Like the Connect My Details form, the embedded newcomer form can be customised 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's settings, accessed via the cog-wheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. In the module's settings, select the Embed Options tab.
Begin by first enabling the embed feature - tick to Enable embedding. The default embed code for the Newcomer Form is provided. Note the options to Preview the form and Customise the embed code. It's this line of embed code that you'll copy and paste into the source code or embed block section of a page on your website.
Select Customise to open the Customise Embed HMTL pop-up. For multi-site churches, the Add to site option determines which site new contacts are added to. Select one site to always add new contacts to that site. Select none to give new contacts a choice of all your sites. Or select multiple sites to give new contacts a choice of the selected sites. 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, optionally set the Colour Styling and click Done when finished.
The embed code in the Newcomer Form box is updated to reflect the options you have customised. The code code can now be copied and pasted to your website.
The embed code generator
It's important to note that the Customise Embed HTML is essentially an Embed Code Generator - it generates embed code based on the options you select. However, the code is not saved when you close the module's setting 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 Options page, the default embed code is displayed. You must therefore copy and paste your customised embed code (perhaps to a text file or Word document) before navigating away from the page to avoid losing your changes.
Having pasted the embed code into your website, you can now begin to customise the content of the Newcomer Form using the other Embed Options explained below.
Begin by specifying the email address of one or more people who are to receive Notifications when newcomers are added. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma. You can further customise the appearance of your embedded form by adding a Page Title and Welcome Message, which display at the top of the embedded form.
Next, set the Optional Fields; enabling or disabling the fields you would like on the form, and setting any fields that are Required. In addition to setting ChurchSuite's standard fields as Enabled, you can also enable any of your custom fields to (see the related support article for further information about custom fields).
Newcomers are added to the Pending section of the Address Book. You also choose to add them to a Flow, add them to Tags, or assign Key Dates. 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 and has the effect of placing an Add child button on the form.
Customising children fields on the form
Later, after you've completed the Embed Options for customising the form for Address Book contacts, head into the Children module's settings and customise the Embed Options for children.
In these settings you can enable Optional Fields for children added through the Address Book Embed form, including any Children module custom fields.
You can also set whether children added through the Address Book Embed are assigned to Children module Tags and Flows, and whether Children module Key Dates are assigned.
Next, add Areas of Interest. This section is optional, but is great for engaging newcomers into thinking about their "next steps" with your church. We suggest keeping the list of 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 to which 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 crosshairs to drag and change the order of interest areas.
Finally, you can customise the Success Message that displays on the screen after someone submits their details. You can also send a Preset Success Email. You'll need to have created the Preset email first (Administrator > - Presets), then you can select it from the drop-down list. Don't overlook the importance of the Success Email - it's your first opportunity to respond to newcomers and extend a warm welcome as they submit their details - perhaps explain what's going to happen next in terms of follow up.
Note that a successful submission 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 a historical record of the data they have submitted. If a Success Email is selected (see above), a snapshot of the newcomer's personal data from the form is added to the end of the Success Email.
Having finished customising the form, click Save before closing the Embed Options page. You can now view your finished results on your website, or click Preview at the top of the Embed Options page. Note that selecting Preview will open the form in a new browser tab and surface your organisation's logo at the top of the page for illustration purposes only. The actual 'embed' will not include your logo, as the page you embed into will already likely be styled and branded.
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 the Pending section of the Address Book.
- Any spouse/partner specified is also added to the Pending section of the Address Book, and the couple is linked. The spouse/partner will share all the contact information of the main contact (except email, telephone, mobile and DOB). Where an address is provided, the linked spouse/partner will show At this address on their profile pages.
- Any children added as part of the submission will be added to the Pending section of the Children module and they linked to their parents. Where an address is provided, the child will show At this address on their parent profile page(s).
- Key Dates and Tags are assigned as set in the Embed Options (and also to any spouse/partner added). Address Book Tags and Key Dates are not added for children 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 are sent to the email addresses specified in the Embed Options Notifications settings, including to any ministry overseer email addresses specified for Areas of Interest.
- A Note is added against the contact that their details were added through Embed. If any areas of interest were selected, these are noted too. (and any spouse/partner and children).
- A success 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, 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 added to the pending section
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 as active. Pending contacts are unable to participate in any ChurchSuite functionality until they have been set active.
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 that This person might be a 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 add the child the the Pending section of the Children module. Where a date of birth is specific, only those aged 13+ can submit their details.
Where date of birth is specified, and when an under 18 (but aged 13+) 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 child contact in the Children module. A success email is sent too, and all notifications are sent as per the module settings.
Note: Children are not added to Flows, even if Flows are specified in the Embed module settings.
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.