Getting started with the Calendar module
Purpose of the module
Welcome to ChurchSuite's Calendar module! This module enables you to manage all your events in one place, from large events for your members and supporters to smaller internal-use events such as staff meetings. A separate Bookings module is provided for room/resource bookings for the events you run. You can easily control each event's visibility and status so that each event is promoted to just the right audience - in ChurchSuite, in My ChurchSuite, on social media, in your communications, at your Information Point through the Connect 'Events List', and through your website using the Embed calendar and Featured Events feed. For each event you can optionally enable sign-up, create tickets (free, pay, pay on arrival), add custom questions to the sign-up form, send invitations, record event attendance and much, much more!
The Calendar module also includes Leave management functionality. Knowing when key team members are on leave is a vital part of event management, so we've made it really easy to manage leave requests - you can even use the 'leave approval' feature if your internal HR processes require an accept/decline response to leave requests.
Note that the Calendar module is not intended to be used as an 'appointments diary'. We encourage you to read this article in full in order to familiarise yourself with the module's key features and customisation options available, and to acquaint yourself with some of the basic concepts and terminology you'll see within the module and our other Calendar module support articles.
Calendar module features at a glance
- Easily add or import standalone and sequence events and categorise them within your events calendar
- Create physical event or run them as online events
- Control event visibility and sign-up settings on an event-by-event basis
- Manage each event's status to help calendar planning, and easily cancel a confirmed event with a button click
- Embed your events calendar and a featured events feed into your website
- For those who can't access your events calendar in My ChurchSuite, make your event list available at your Information Point, perhaps at weekend services
- Increase engagement by enabling sign-up for events
- Create tickets - free, pay online and pay on arrival and manage event/ticket capacity
- Add you own custom questions to the sign-up process to collect that all-important information you need in order to better manage your event
- Send event invitations and track accept and decline responses - who's engaging, and who isn't?
- Record attendance at events using the event check-in functionality - either ticking the names of those who have signed up, or scanning the QR code from their sign-up confirmation
- Optionally allow sign-ups to self-cancel their sign-ups should they be unable to attend
- Easily communicate with your event delegates - those who have been invited, signed up or checked in
- Integrates intuitively with other modules to connect your events to rotas, resource bookings and service plans
- Get your ChurchSuite calendar linked to your personal calendar application by subscribing to an iCal or Google Calendar feed
- Manage leave requests with accept/decline approval and optionally auto-add unavailability to the Rotas module
Overview of the Calendar module
At the heart of the module is the events calendar - visualise everything that's going on in one simple view, or filter to just see certain event categories or leave bookings.
Easily add or import events, or duplicate an existing one.
Use the Search bar to quickly find events - the matching list of results is filtered as you type...
...or use the Advanced Search to locate events based on matching criteria.
Every event is assigned to a Category. Add your own categories, assign a category colour to distinguish events for that category on the calendar, and even specify a category brand - event pages and communications for all events in that category will sport the brand's logo and colour styling - ideal for adding a consistent branded 'look and feel' to all your children ministry events, or all your Christmas events.
Create single date and multi-date sequence events with ease - where an Event repeats use the Frequency and Repeat until settings to generate the sequence dates.
With very little effort - perhaps uploading a suitable image, adding a helpful event description for your audience and some basic location details - you'll be able to produce elegant and professional-looking event pages that you can share in your communications and social media, or that people can click through to from the events calendar at your Information Point, on your website and in the member-facing My ChurchSuite.
You have complete control over the Visibility and Sign up settings for every event.
For events with sign-up enabled, optionally add 'free' or 'pay' or 'pay on arrival' tickets. You can even create hidden tickets - perhaps offering a concession - and then distribute a private link to the hidden tickets in your communications. Optionally set ticket and event capacities - ideal where the event's venue has space or delegate constraints. You can even specify the 'on sale' date range for tickets - ideal for offering an 'early bird' discounted ticket price for sign up with one range of dates, and a 'regular rate' ticket for a 'follow on' range of dates.
In addition to customising an event's fixed questions, you can also add your own custom questions to the event sign-up form. For each question, set the response type, options and whether a response is required.
With tickets and custom questions you can transform the event sign-up page into form that gathers all the important information you need to know to better-manage your event...
Managing events is easier when you have everything you need to know in one simple and informative view...
...helping you stay on top of those engaging with your event.
Your can raise the profile of events by setting them to be featured events. In addition to an embeddable featured events feed for your website...
...your next three featured events are also put 'front and centre' in the member-facing My ChurchSuite.
Without any technical knowledge or website experience, you can easily embed your public-facing events calendar into your website. Customise the embed HTML and ChurchSuite generates the single line of embed code that you copy and paste into the source code or embed block or a page on your website.
You can embed a calendar and featured events feed (see above). Why not check out our demonstration website to see examples of all of ChurchSuite's embed features.
Once you've created an event you'll want to let people know about it. You may even have some people in mind that you'd like to invite. For any sign-up event you can send a beautifully-styled email invitation providing prospective delegates with a simple user-experience to accept, decline or view further information. ChurchSuite keeps everything organised, tracking invite 'opens' and 'clicks' and auto adds sign-ups for those who accept; or view details of decline reasons to help you understand why people might be disengaging.
It's one thing to know who has signed up, but do they show up? The event check-in feature enables users and event overseers to quickly and discreetly check people in to an event, adding a useful attendance record back in your Calendar module.
Choose between ticking sign-up names from a list, or process queues more quickly by scanning the QR code from the sign-up confirmation emails. You can check in those who have signed up, or search the Address Book and Children module to check-in people who have not signed up - ideal for taking an impromptu record of attendance at an event.
Event follow up
After an event has taken place you may find it helpful to add sign-ups or checked in attendees to a Tag, or assign a Key Date to mark the occasion on people's key date history, or add them to a Flow - perhaps adding those who attended a Newcomers' Lunch to your Newcomer Integration flow. These are just some of the features available to help you follow up with those participating in your events - perhaps to invite them to the next event.
The My Events section within My ChurchSuite gives you members access to the public-facing calendar of events and featured events. Members can search the calendar and respond to event invitations.
Event overseers can view a full list of event sign-ups from within My ChurchSuite, allowing them to see and up-to-date view of ticket sales, sign-ups and payment status, without needing Calendar module permissions.
It's easy to communicate with those engaging in your events - perhaps to send an invite, a reminder, a sign-up confirmation, some final pre-event information or a post-event message to thank people for coming and to let them know about your other events.
The Calendar module includes a wide range of standard reports for common admin tasks, or to help you drill down into the content of your Calendar module data for strategic purposes or historic reporting. Filter reports to see just what you're looking for and then download, print or send the report, or communicate directly with those in the report's results.
With ChurchSuite's Leave functionality you can record and track Leave, Out of Office and Sickness, as well as creating custom leave types. Optionally enable the 'leave approval' functionality on a User's 'leave setup' and they'll be able to submit leave requests to which designated line managers can process 'accept' and 'decline' approval responses. ChurchSuite keeps everyone in the loop with notifications and confirmations.
For each User you'll create a Leave setup, specifying how many hours of 'holiday' leave they're entitled to take within a leave period and their expected working days and hours. ChurchSuite will then help you manage each user's leave allowance and even tell you if someone is going to exceed their allowance.
With 'leave approval' enabled, Line managers receive leave request notifications so that they're able to approve or decline (with a reason) leave requests. When adding a leave request users serving on rotas are also able to add-add their rota unavailability at the same time.
The full leave booking is helpfully displayed on the Calendar to help users with event planning as well as ensuring key staff are not clashing with their leave requests. iCal and Google calendar feeds for user leave are available and the calendar even shows staff birthdays if a user's record is linked to their Address Book profile and a date of birth is held.
Before adding or importing data to the Calendar module, we recommend that you first review the module's settings to make sure the module is customised to suit your church or organisation's needs. Some features will not be accessible until they are configured or enabled.
Accessing the module's settings is via the cogwheels icon in the top-right corner of the module. This option is only available to those Users with at least Manage-level user permissions or Administrators.
The Calendar module's settings are divided into 3 sections, each controlling different areas of the module's functionality across each part of the ChurchSuite ecosystem.
In order to explore many of the Calendar module's features and functionality you'll need to add or import some data. See the related support articles at the end of this article for further details.
Got a question?
You’ll find the answers to most questions in our support articles - they're all available through the Support beacon located in the bottom-right corner of each page in the Calendar module - just search by topic, phrase or keyword. You can also access the Support Article library on our website. And if you still can't find something you're looking for, click to get in touch with one of the ChurchSuite team - we’re happy to help!