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 to Flows. This feature is called Address Book Embed.
In this article
Overview of Address Book Embed
Configuring Address Book Embed
What happens when details are submitted?
Managing newcomers added to the pending section
What happens when under 18s submit their details?
Overview of Address Book Embed
The configuration process for the Address Book Embed form is similar to the process you may already be familiar with for the Connect My Details form - a form that also enables newcomers to submit their details and areas of interest on a device running at your in-person event Information Desk. The two forms can be independently customised, perhaps with fewer fields shown on a website form compared to a more extensive form at in-person events.
Since the Address Book Embed form will be on a public-facing website, anti-spam measures are used to minimise spam contact submissions to your active Address Book, with new contacts and children added to the Pending section of the respective Address Book and Children modules.
Once reviewed, a newcomer contact can be Set as Active, which moves them into the Active section of the module where you can then begin to incorporate them in your various newcomer integration processes. Only contacts in the Active section of the Address Book are counted when calculating your monthly ChurchSuite subscription.
Like the My Details form in Connect, the embedded Address Book form can be customised and styled to your website. The feature is multi-site enabled so newcomers can be assigned to the correct site. A single, simple list of module settings gives you complete control over which fields and areas of interest are shown on the form, which fields are 'required', and what happens to newly-created contacts when they are added - adding Notes, assigning to Tags, Key Dates and Flows; and triggering helpful overseer notifications and a newcomer success confirmation email. The form enables newcomers to optionally submit details for their spouse/partner and children in one form, with ChurchSuite linking 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. Some further child-related Embed settings can also be found in the Children module (explained later in this article). From the Address Book module's settings select the Embed Options tab.
Begin by enabling the embed feature - click Edit to make the change. The default HTML code for the Address Book Embed form is shown. Note the options to Preview the form at any time, and to further Customise the embed HTML. It's this line of generated HTML code that you'll later copy and paste into the source code or embed block section of a page on your website.
Select Customise to open the Embed options pop-up. For multi-site customers, 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 people a choice of all your sites; or select multiple sites to give new people a choice of just those selected sites. This option is helpful if your various sites 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 the embed form, newcomers will be able to choose from the site list. Finally, optionally set the Colour Styling and click Done when finished.
Changes made on the above pop-up will generate updated HTML code, which will need to be copied and pasted into the source code or embed block section of a page on your website. The generated HTML code will revert to default if you move away from the module settings, so be sure to save any customised HTML code first, perhaps pasting it to a temporary text document until it's ready to be added to your website. In this way, you can generate HTML code for multiple customised embeds if you wish.
Having pasted the HTML code to your website, you can now begin to customise the form content using the Embed Options explained below. Changes made to the following settings do not require updated embed code to be re-pasted into your website but note that these settings apply to all Address Book Embed forms.
Working methodically down the list of settings, begin by specifying the email address of one or more people who are to receive Notifications when newcomers submit their details. Separate multiple email addresses with a comma. You can customise the appearance of the form by adding a Title and Welcome Message, which display at the top of the form. Click Edit to make changes.
The Fields settings determine which standard and optional fields are shown on the form and whether certain fields will be required. Click Edit to make changes. You can also surface custom fields on the form - see the related Custom Fields support article for further information about this. Note also the option to allow new contacts to add their Children. This option is only available to customers with the Children module. If enabled, an Add child button is shown on the form, enabling newcomers to submit their children's details and their own.
Customising children's fields on the form
Later, having completed the Embed Options for the Address Book, head into the Children module's settings and customise the Embed Options for children. Just as for contacts, these settings control the standard and optional Fields shown on the Add child part of the form. Click Edit to make changes.
As with new contacts (explained later), you can also set whether new children added through the Address Book Embed are assigned to Children module Tags and Flows and whether Children module Key Dates are assigned.
All new contacts submitted through the Address Book Embed form are added to the Pending section of the Address Book module. You can also specify whether to add them to a Flow, add them to Tags or assign Key Dates. This is a great opportunity to ensure newcomers are added straight into your welcome and integration processes from the outset (perhaps a Newcomer Integration Flow). Click Edit to make changes.
Next, add Areas of Interest - click Edit to make changes. This section is optional but great for engaging newcomers to consider their "next steps" with your church/organisation. We suggest keeping the list of areas and descriptions short, to save the newcomer from having to endlessly scroll through every area of ministry or service you provide! You can Copy 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 surface different areas of interest in both places.
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 Order controls to change the order of interest areas on the form.
Finally, optionally customise the Success Message shown onscreen after someone submits their details. You can also send a Preset Success Email. You'll need to first create the Preset email (Administrator > - Presets) to select it from the drop-down list. Don't overlook the importance of this Success Email - it's a great early opportunity to engage with newcomers and extend a warm welcome as they submit their details - perhaps explaining 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 data through any ChurchSuite form. The confirmation email summarises all the personal data that was submitted. The sent email is logged in the person's Communication log as a historical record of the data they first submitted. If a Success Email is specified, the same summary of personal data is appended to the end of your preset Success Email.
You can view the finished form 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. Your organisation's logo surfaces at the top of the preview page for illustration purposes only - the actual embed form will not include the logo, as the web page 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 on the form 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). The linked spouse/partner will show on the Engagement tab of their profile pages
- Any children added as part of the submission will be added to the Pending section of the Children module and be linked to their parents. The child will show on the parent profile page Engagement tab, and the child profile page Engagement tab will show the linked parents
- Address Book Key Dates and Tags are assigned to the new contacts as set in the Embed Options (and also to any spouse/partner added)
- Children module Tags and Key Dates are added for children added to the Children module as set in the Embed Options for that module
- The new contact will also be added to Address Book Flows as specified in the Embed Options (and any spouse/partner). New children are assigned to the Children module Flows as specified in the module's Embed Options
- 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 Confirmation email is sent to the primary contact detailing 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 appended to the end of the email. This email is logged in the primary contact's 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 submissions to the Address Book and Children module. This may require the submitter to tick to confirm they are not internet bots! 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 an internet bot!
To protect your active Address Book (and in turn your monthly billing pricing tier), all new contacts are first added to the Pending section, requiring a Permitted User to review the contact and Set as Active. Pending contacts are unable to participate in any wider 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 may 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 when 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 present on the form, and as long as the under-18 completes that field, ChurchSuite will correctly add the new child to the Pending section of the Children module. Where a date of birth is specified, only those aged 13+ will be able to submit their details.
Where a date of birth is specified on the form, and when an under 18 (but aged 13+) completes the form, certain fields will be 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.
When an under 18 submits their details and areas of interest, Tags, Key Dates and Notes are all recorded against the child's profile in the Children module. A success email is sent too, and all notifications are sent as per the module settings.
Note: In this context, children are not added to the Children module Flows, even if specified in the Embed module settings - only new children added through the Add child part of the form are added to the Children module Flows.
Top Tip! Safeguarding
Data Protection and safeguarding: Under-18s present an interesting issue for churches and charitable organisations when they submit their details via a website. In submitting their details, you may have little or no connection with consenting parents and guardians. We strongly encourage you to consider carefully how you will follow up with new under-18s as they connect with your church or organisation. Give thought to your data protection and safeguarding processes as they are added to your database. Perhaps a helpful consideration is, "How might a parent feel about you holding their under-18 child's details on your database?" We hope this advice is useful and helpful.