Managing communication options

In this article

Introduction to communication options
Setting the default communication options for new people
Managing communication options
Customising the communication options message
Managing communication options - unsubscribes
Overriding communication options

Introduction to communication options

ChurchSuite makes it easy for those in your ChurchSuite Address Book and Children modules to self-manage their communication options and for those options to be respected by default whenever a User communicates through ChurchSuite's modules. It's also possible, where appropriate, for a User to override people's communication options e.g. where you have a lawful basis to override consent.

Communication options are about people's consent to receive communication by various methods - by email, SMS, phone and post. For email and SMS, ChurchSuite distinguishes rota reminders from all other general communications, giving people a simple way of opting out of receiving rota reminders while continuing to receive all the other communications you typically send.

Communication options should therefore not be confused with mailing list or subscriber list preferences. Independent of people's communication options, you can use features like custom fields and tags to manage your organisation's various subscriber/mailing list preferences if you wish.

Communication options should also not be confused with privacy settings. Privacy settings determine which elements of a person's contact details are visible to other people within the member-facing My ChurchSuite. For example, while an email address or mobile number may have been set as not visible in My ChurchSuite, Users are always able to see (and use) an email address or mobile number in the ChurchSuite modules.

Setting the default communication options for new people

It's possible to set the default communication options that are automatically applied to new contacts and children when they're added to the Address Book and Children modules. For customers that need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, the default communication options should typically be set to 'opted out' by default - but for customers not governed by the GDPR, your data protection policy may permit you to set 'opted in' as the defaults when new people are added to ChurchSuite.

To review the default communication options for new contacts (Address Book) and children (Children module), head into the respective module's settings by clicking the cogwheel icon in the top-right corner of the module.

Navigate down the Module options tab to the Communication settings. To set the default communications options that will be used for new people added or imported to the module click Edit. On the Edit pop-up, tick the box next to each option as appropriate to set the default to 'opted in' to receive each communication type. Remember, these settings only apply to new people added or imported and do not apply to existing people already in the module.

Note that the Receive phone calls and Receive post communication options shown above are only available if those two Optional fields have been enabled in the module's settings. On the Module Options tab, scroll down to the Fields section and click Edit to make changes. The Receive post option is used when address labels are produced from within ChurchSuite - if opted out, you will be unable to produce an address label for that person from within the Communication section of a module.

Managing communication options

You can view and edit a person's communication options from their profile page in the Address Book or Children module.

This will be helpful for individuals who are unable to self-manage their communication options, perhaps if they don't yet have My ChurchSuite access, perhaps adding a Note of any verbal consent given by the individual.

Note: The Receive rota reminder emails/SMS communication options, while visible to module Users on a person's profile page in ChurchSuite, will only be visible to the person in My ChurchSuite if they belong to a Rotas module ministry or rota. Those not belonging to a ministry team or a rota member will be unable to manage rota reminder communication options within My ChurchSuite.

Types of email

ChurchSuite distinguishes rota reminder communications from all other general communications, which is an entirely separate concept from the various subscriber mailing lists your organisation might maintain. Through communication options people can opt in or out of each communication method independently, perhaps choosing to receive your general messages, but not receive rota reminders.

General emails/SMS are those communications sent by a module User from within the admin-facing ChurchSuite system - those who have opted out of receiving general emails/SMS will not be included in a recipient list. A visual indicator of who is Opted-Out and who has No Email is shown when previewing a message before sending.

System notification emails and confirmation emails are not treated like general emails and are always sent and cannot be opted out of. These include: -

  • Event and small group sign-up notifications
  • Flow and ministry overseer notifications
  • Booking type/resource overseer notifications
  • the web-embeddable and Connect 'My Details' form overseer notifications
  • the web-embeddable and Connect 'My Details' form 'Areas of interest' overseer notifications
  • My ChurchSuite password reset emails
  • My ChurchSuite invitation emails
  • Consent request emails
  • Success and confirmation emails e.g. when an online form has been submitted by a member
  • Organisation connection invites sent within the Network module

In addition to managing the communication options for individual people from their profile page, you can easily process bulk changes to the communication options of multiple selected people using the batch Edit action in the Contacts and Children sections of the respective modules. Batch actions only apply to the page being viewed - default 50 people per page - so you may wish to increase the pagination to reduce the number of pages.

On the batch Edit pop-up, tick and select the Communication options to update. Click Save to apply the changes to all the selected people.

Importantly, those with My ChurchSuite access can self-manage their communication options from their My Details section in My ChurchSuite.

Primary parents/carers can also manage their linked children's communication options from each child's profile in the My Children section.

Additionally, where your organisation relies on consent as the lawful basis for processing personal information, people can self-manage their communication options as part of completing their My Consent form - see the related support article on Ongoing Consent for further information.

Similarly, newcomers can set their communication options when submitting their details and areas of interest using the Address Book Embed or Connect My Details forms (excluding rota reminder communication options, which are not yet relevant for newcomers until they're ready to begin serving and join a ministry).

Customising the communication options message

In each of the places in the previous section of this article where people can self-manage their communication options, a customisable communication option Message can be added. To customise the message head into the Profile section of the Administrator area on the My ChurchSuite settings tab.

Scroll down the settings to the Communication section. Here you can add or edit the Message to be shown where communication options surface. The same message applies to contacts and children, so you should use language and terminology that is appropriate and easy to understand. Click Edit to make changes.

Managing communication options - unsubscribes

The footer of all emails sent by module users to those in the Address Book and Children modules contains a Manage communication and Unsubscribe link.

When a recipient clicks either of these links it opens their personal Communication Options page through which they can make changes - opting into or out of your various communication options. They can also request their personal data in ChurchSuite be deleted entirely using the Delete account option (see the related support articles on Ongoing Consent and Right to be forgotten for further information).

Additionally, Key Dates are added when a person unsubscribes (not subscribes) from one or more communication options.

Overriding communication options

When sending an email or SMS from within ChurchSuite a User has the option to override the communication options of recipients - perhaps where you have a compelling reason or a lawful basis that doesn't require opt-in consent. When selecting Do not respect Communication settings the User is required to enter a Reason, which is added to the footer of the email being sent (but not to SMS messages).

The Reason is shown in the sent Communications log when viewing a sent message.

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