Enabling small group sign up through Connect
In this article
Overview of the Connect Group List sign-up functionality
In addition to people being able to sign up for small groups through My ChurchSuite and Embed, you can also run group sign-up on a device at the Information Point of your in-person events using ChurchSuite Connect. One of the Connect applications is called Group List.
The Connect Group List application presents a Map view of your groups, and...
...a List of groups.
The Connect Group List is ideal for those not yet in your Address Book and those unable to access My ChurchSuite to explore a menu of the groups you offer, and, subject to group capacity, to join a group by signing up. Group sign-up through Connect can be enabled or disabled on a group-by-group basis, meaning you can allow sign-up for some groups but not others, while still showing a list of all the groups your run, even if they are full or not currently open for sign-up, rather than displaying an empty list.
Overview of the sign-up user experience
From the group List or Map, people can browse the groups you offer to find a group of interest. Clicking into a group opens the Group Page showing further details about the group, and where sign-up is enabled for the group, a sign-up form is shown. After entering some basic contact details they can click to Sign Up.
ChurchSuite will attempt to match the sign-up details to the existing people in your Address Book and Children modules, matching on the first name, last name, email and optional phone. If a definitive match is made the matching person is added to the group member list; otherwise a new contact profile is added to the Pending section of the Address Book and the group's member list.
Sign-ups are added to a group's member list with either a pending or active member status depending on the group's sign-up settings. In this way, you can enforce a new member approval workflow for some groups but not for others if you wish. A 'Joined group' Key Date is added against the sign-up contact profile, and for new people added to ChurchSuite, a Note is added against their profile to indicate that the profile was added through the Group Page sign-up process.
A sign-up notification is sent to those group members whose role permissions have to Notify of sign-up enabled - ideal for ensuring those with 'group leader' roles are kept in the loop so they can extend a welcome to new members. A sign-up confirmation is also sent to the new group member.
The Group List requires no configuration and will list any groups set to Show in Connect. However, you can customise the user experience of those accessing the Group List with some simple settings in Small Groups module settings, accessible via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. Navigate into the Connect Options tab.
Click Edit to make changes to the Group List Settings, Filter Options and group Details Visible. For example, you can set whether to show just Active groups (the default) or Active & Future groups. In this way, future groups can be shown even if the group has not yet started or the sign-up period has not yet begun. This setting respects each group's visibility settings so that you can choose to show some future groups but not others if you wish.
In the next section, we'll look at the group sign-up functionality, which can be enabled on a group-by-group basis (or not enabled at all). Making it easy for people to join groups will maximise engagement in the vital area of small group ministry.
Multi-site functionality & Group List
The Group List only shows groups from sites of the logged-in Connect user's permitted sites. For example, for a Connect user with permissions for Site A only, the Group List will only show Site A groups and any All Sites groups. In this way, you can use the Connect Group list at different locations and only show groups relevant to that location (site).
When group signup is enabled, when people sign up, ChurchSuite will attempt to match their details to those already in your ChurchSuite modules. Unmatched sign-ups will be added as new contacts to the Pending section of the Address Book, and will be assigned to the same Site as the group they have signed up to. If the group is an All Sites group the new contact is assigned to All Sites too.
Enabling group sign-up through Connect
As explained earlier in this article, sign-up through the Connect Group List is enabled on a group-by-group basis, making it possible to enable sign-up through Connect for some groups but not for others. From a group "View" page in the Small Groups module click Edit.
On the Edit group pop-up scroll down to the Visibility section and tick Show in Connect to make the group visible in the Connect Group List, and also tick Sign up through Connect in the Sign-Up section if you wish to allow people to sign up for the group from the Group List. Note that the Connect sign-up option is only shown if the Sign up through Group Page option is ticked.
Where Sign-up through Group Page is enabled specify the Dates within which the sign-up period is to be active (this can be open-ended, but a Start Date is required). Optionally set a sign-up Capacity for the group - no further sign-ups will be possible when the group is full. The Member List setting is only relevant to groups visible in My ChurchSuite, where group members can view a Member List - Embed and Connect "sign-ups" without My ChurchSuite access will be unable to view a group member list, so this setting can be ignored for Connect purposes. Finally, set the default Member Status assigned to new sign-ups - new members can be added as Active members, or with a Pending status requiring a group leader with Edit Group Details role permissions to approve the new member and set them as active. Click to Save any changes made.
Small group capacity
As mentioned, you can cap the maximum number of sign-ups to a group by setting a Capacity. Once a group is full, no further sign-ups are permitted via My ChurchSuite, Connect or Embed. However, Small Groups module Users (in ChurchSuite) and group leaders with Edit Group Details role permissions (in My ChurchSuite) can exercise discretion and override the group's capacity to add new members to the group.