Event invitations

In this article

Getting started - event settings
Sending invitations
Receiving an invitation
Accepting an invitation
Declining an invitation
Selecting 'More information'
Managing event invitations and responses
Communicating with invitees

Calendar module users can send event invitations by email to people in the Address Book or Children module, track who has opened the invitation, and visualise recipient responses when invitees accept or decline. The invitee user experience makes engaging with your events simple and intuitive.

Getting started - event settings

Events can be invitation-only. In this example, only an invited audience with the Event Page URL will be able to respond and they will be unable to add additional signups.

The Visibility settings can also be used for a mixed audience configuration - sending invitations to a targeted audience and still be visible in My ChurchSuite, Embed or Connect, with the Sign-Up settings determining whether people can sign up from those three places. This may be for something like a training event/course where you have some potential guests in mind to invite, and where you want others beyond the invitation list to see the event and sign up if they wish. In the following example, the event is visible in My ChurchSuite, Embed and Connect; people can sign up through My ChurchSuite and Connect/Embed, but invitees will also be able to sign up from their event invitations.

ChurchSuite matches sign-up details against invitees to keep everything up to date, so those who sign up outside of their invitation email - perhaps via your website if the event is visible there - their invitation response status is updated to Accepted.

Intended functionality - parent/carer/child invitations

Event invitations can only be sent through the Calendar module. Unlike the Children module, the Calendar module has no concept of Send to a parent/carer or Send to a child.

For the system to track responses for each invited person and add sign-ups for invitees who accept, invitations where parents/carers respond on behalf of each of their children must be sent to the child i.e. the Child is the invitee. However, where you wish the invitation to be received by a parent/carer, you can add a parent/carer email address to the Child Email field on the child's profile. In this way, invitation emails are delivered to each child's parent/carer email address, while still tracking the responses for each invited child. Remember, a parent/carer may have multiple children and a person can only be invited to an event once. It's not possible to Send [invite] to a parent/carer and track responses for one or more of their children.

Sending invitations

From the event View, click Send invite. This action is only shown for a Confirmed status future-dated event with Sign up through Event Page enabled. If the event status is later changed to Pending or Cancelled, invitees will be prevented from responding but existing sign-ups will persist but can be optionally cancelled and/or refunded as appropriate to the event and your refund policy.

On the Send invite pop-up, select the Options, and if applicable, the Tickets to be included in the invitation. Further customisation will be possible when previewing the email and before sending it. Click Proceed to view the draft invitation.

The invitation email will sport the event Category branding with the email Subject and body content created according to the Options selected in the previous step. At this stage, the email can be further customised if you wish. Note also the option to change the From sender, Subject and Communication override, which can be used to send to opted-out recipients where you have a permitted reason to do so without a recipient's consent. invitations can also be Scheduled. Click Preview Email to select the invitee recipients.

Using preset invitation emails

Using the method above, ChurchSuite generates a formatted invitation email with embedded merge fields that are later used to generate each recipient's personal Accept and Decline links when the message is sent. As an alternative to sending the system-generated email, you can also create your own invitation emails styled to your preferred layout and content, saved as a Preset email, that can be used time and again in the future when sending event invitations. When previewing the system-generated invitation, you can select a previously prepared Preset, which will replace the system-created message.

Note: the sending of event invitations can only be actioned from the Send invite action on an event "View" page; it's not possible to send event invitations from any other context.

A Preset invitation can contain any text or email body content, however, the email must include an ::invite_rsvp:: merge field within the email body. You will be unable to send the invitation if this merge field is not present in the message. This merge field becomes each recipient's unique Accept and Decline buttons when the invitations are sent.

As an alternative to ::invite_rsvp:: you can optionally use ::invite_accept::, ::invite_decline:: and ::invite_information:: as three separate merge fields - perhaps to style your own buttons, or position the response buttons in different places within the email. However, all three merge fields must be present in the message. For example, it's not possible to send an event invitation that only includes an "Accept" button.

When using these invitation merge fields in a preset email, the resulting event page - accessed when clicking Accept, Decline or More Information - will only include tickets that were active at the time of sending the invitation. If you later add another ticket or a ticket becomes available due to the ticket availability start date, it will not be visible on the resulting event page.

From the email preview, click Add recipients to search by person name or tag. Click Back to edit to make further changes or click Cancel to abort the process. As you add recipient invitees, those without an email address and those who opted out of general emails are distinguished. While an invitation email will not be sent to these people, they can still be added to the Invites list, or you may prefer to remove non-invitation recipients before sending. There must be at least one opted-in recipient for the Send Email button to become active. When you are ready to proceed click Send Email and the invitations are sent.

The sent invitation email is recorded in the event Communication log and also shown on each recipient's communication log on their profile page in the Address Book or Children module.

An Invites tab, listing invitees and their respective response status is added to the event View. If an invitee has previously signed up (shown on the Sign-Ups tab) their response status is shown as Accepted, otherwise, a Pending status is shown. Invitees without an email address or who previously opted out of receiving general emails when the invitation was sent are shown as Not Sent, but a module User can manually process responses on behalf of that person. Once sent, an invitation cannot be rescinded or deleted. Note the available actions to View and Resend an invitation, and to Accept or Decline on an invitee's behalf.

In the next sections, we will look at the recipient invitee user experience for each of their response options.

Receiving an invitation

In addition to all the event details, the invitation contains three call-to-action response buttons - Accept, Decline and More information - explained in the next sections of this article.

For events set as Visible in My ChurchSuite and where Sign up through My ChurchSuite is enabled, invitations awaiting a response are shown in the My Invites section. The Accept and Decline actions available here behave just like the actions in the invitation email.

The invitation response buttons are also shown on an invited person's event "View" within their My Events section when clicking through from an event on the Calendar or event Search.

Accepting an invitation

Clicking Accept opens the invitee's unique Event Page with their basic details pre-filled into the sign-up form. If the invitee's linked spouse/partner is also invited and their response is still Pending, they can respond on behalf of their spouse/partner, which adds an additional signup with their details also pre-filled into the same form. The invitee can then answer any event questions on the form, select tickets (where applicable) and pay (where applicable). A success page is shown when the form is completed and submitted, and the invitee will receive the usual signup confirmation email.

Back in the ChurchSuite Calendar module, an Accept response adds a sign-up against the event and updates the invitation response status to Accepted. A linked spouse/partner Accept response updates their invitation response status to Accepted too. If an invitee accepts a previously declined invitation, the invitation response status updates from Declined to Accepted. If an invitee signs up for the event outside of the invitation - perhaps on your website - ChurchSuite will still match the sign-up details against the Invites list (as long as contact details match those held in ChurchSuite) and update the invitation response status to Accepted.

An invitee is unable to accept - but can decline - an invitation after an event's sign-up period has ended.

Declining an invitation

Clicking Decline immediately updates the invitation response status to Declined with no further action required by the invitee. A decline confirmation page is shown asking for an optional decline reason; choosing between two canned reasons or entering a custom 'Other' reason - the decline reason is stored against the invitation response in ChurchSuite. Once declined, an invitee can still change their mind, perhaps if they declined by mistake, or if they can later attend. Clicking Didn't mean to decline? Click here to undo reverts the invitation response status to Pending, and will remove a previously added decline comment. The invitee is redirected to the Event Page where they can now respond Accept (or Decline again). Similarly, an invitee can decline on behalf of an invited linked spouse/partner and their response status is still Pending.

Invitees and their invited linked spouse/partner are unable to subsequently decline a previously accepted invitation. In this scenario, and since refunds or a cancellation policy may be involved, the invitees will need to contact the event organiser, who can decline their invitation/s to the event View in the Calendar module, or process a sign-up cancellation and refund as appropriate. See our related support article for further information about Managing event sign-up cancellations.

If an invited linked spouse/partner has previously accepted, it cannot subsequently be declined. If a linked spouse/partner has previously declined that decline can be subsequently reversed and accepted. An invitee is unable to accept - but can decline - an invitation after an event's sign-up period has ended.

Selecting 'More information'

When an invitee clicks the More Information button from their invitation, they are redirected to the Event Page to view further information about the event. Their contact details are still pre-filled into the sign-up form - just like the Accept workflow - but they will need to accept your privacy notice and click Proceed to complete a sign-up. If a linked spouse/partner is also invited and their response status is still Pending, the invitee can respond on their behalf.

If an invitee has previously accepted or declined, the More information button opens a summarised Event Page showing the event date, time and location, and the ticket details, and for a previously declined invitation, the option to undo the Decline or add a decline reason.

Managing event invitations and responses

Calendar module Users can manually process responses on behalf of invitees; for example, where an invitee contacts the office to respond by telephone, accepting or declining invitations, or setting a response status back to Pending (which will delete any associated sign-up, if previously accepted, or any decline reason is previously declined). Reverting a response to Pending will revert the status to Pending or Opened as applicable. Invited sign-ups with paid tickets must first be refunded before the response status can be changed to Declined or Pending.

If a module User manually adds a sign-up through the event View - on the Sign Ups tab - ChurchSuite will attempt to match the sign-up to the Invites list and, if matched, update the response status to Accepted. It is not possible to change the response status to Accepted without a sign-up being added - a sign-up is always present for an Accepted invitation.

The Invites tab includes a response progress indicator with metrics for Accepted (green) i.e. those who have accepted the invitation and have a sign-up on the Sign-Ups tab, Declined (red), and Opened (yellow) i.e. those who have opened the invitation or have clicked but not yet submitted a response.

Top Tip!

Users can resend a previously-sent invitation to anyone with a Pending or Opened status either individually by selecting Resend invite from the invitee Actions:

Or using the batch Resend invite action for multiple selected invitees, by first filtering for Pending and/or Opened status invitees:

...selecting all resulting invitees listed (you may wish to increase pagination to include all those in the filtered list) and then using the batch Resent invite action shown when you click Actions:

Communicating with invitees

A vital part of event management is timely communication before and after an event. As an alternative to resending invitations to those who have not yet responded, you may prefer to simply send a reminder message directing recipients to their invitation email to respond.

You can optionally filter the Invites list by response Status using the Advanced Search, perhaps to communicate with just those who have already Accepted or to follow up with those who have yet to respond:

Click Communicate to Send email or Send SMS:

The Send email and Send SMS pop-ups respect any response Status filter already applied on the Invites tab. If no filters are selected then all invitees will be recipients, but you can further filter for those Invited between a range of dates, those in the Address Book and/or Children module if you wish. Click Proceed to launch the usual Email or SMS composer pop-up.

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