Adding custom fields for small groups

In this article

Overview of intended functionality
Adding custom fields
Changing existing custom fields and response options
Batch-updating custom field data
Custom fields in action

Overview of intended functionality

While we've tried to anticipate the most common field needs for small group information, it's sometimes the case that you may want to record additional group information that doesn't comfortably fit in any of the standard small group fields already available in ChurchSuite.

For example, perhaps you'd like to distinguish groups that are suitable for newcomers or new believers, or groups that have a particular focus such as prayer or bible study or mission. This information could be added to the group's Description field. A better solution for this information would be to use small group custom fields. Small group custom fields can be set visible wherever the group's details are shown (along with group name, meeting day, time, location, description etc) - meaning that that those viewing your list of groups can make a more informed sign-up decision by viewing even more comprehensive details about each group. Or perhaps you need a custom field for group information that is internal-use only - no problem!

You can select from a variety of data formats - see the related support article "Question response types" for a full explanation of each available response type. Each field's Name and Option labels have a 250 max. character limit and responses for Single sentence and Paragraph type fields also have a 250 max. character length. Each custom field can be optionally set 'required' in ChurchSuite (affecting Small Groups module Users), with additional settings to control whether the field is visible, editable or required in other parts of the ecosystem - My ChurchSuite, Connect and Embed.

Custom fields are fully searchable using the module's Advanced Search and as conditions in Smart Tags. Finally, the Missing Data and Table Generator reports can be used to identify missing/present custom field responses.

Adding custom fields

To add a custom field, head in to the Small Groups module settings via the cogwheels icon in the top right-hand corner of the module - you'll need manage module or Administrator permissions to access this section.

On the Module Options tab scroll down to the Custom Fields section and click Add custom field.

Give the custom field an appropriate Name and select the response Type. Depending on the response type you can set response Options by clicking Add option. You can re-order response options by clicking and dragging the re-ordering control to the left of each option or remove an unwanted option entirely. You can also set whether the field is Required in ChurchSuite - Small Groups module Users will be required to complete the custom field when adding or editing groups and when importing groups into the module.

Finally, the Settings determine the custom field's visibility and edit-ability in other parts of ChurchSuite and whether it is required. In this way, a field could be set required for module Users but not be required in other places where people may be viewing group details or where certain permitted role-holders are editing their group details. Similarly, some custom fields may be internal-use only - such as a risk assessment date that you don't wish to be visible when viewing the group details outside of ChurchSuite but is a required field for Users when they are adding, editing or importing groups. Remember to click Save to add the new custom field.

The newly-added custom field is added to the end of the list of custom fields but note the option to re-order by clicking and dragging the Order number.

Custom fields and responses are surfaced when viewing a group's profile page in the Small Groups module...

Custom field responses can be added, changed or removed when editing a group's details, with required fields distinguished with a red star:

Changing existing custom fields and response options

You can make changes to custom field settings and response options by selecting  Edit from the action menu (shown below). Note that a View changes log is maintained for all changes subsequently made to that custom field. You can also permanently (immediately and irreversibly) Delete an unwanted custom field, which will also remove all knowledge of all groups' responses - delete with caution!

When editing a custom field you can change the Order of options in the list - perhaps having added a new option that you wish to be positioned in a certain place in the list. Click and drag the re-order control to the left of the option name. The option order is respected across ChurchSuite wherever that custom field is surfaced as editable. Additionally, making a change to a custom field's Name or the Option label will immediately make that change known across the platform. For example, changing an existing option from "Visitors" to "Newcomers" will update all groups in the module whose data had the old response to now have the new response.

From time to time you may wish to remove unwanted response options that no longer serve a useful purpose. Clicking the X next to a response option will give you a choice to permanently (immediately and irreversibly) Delete the option - which will delete all knowledge of that response from all groups - or the Archive the response option.

Archived response options can later be Set active again if desired. Archiving an option will cause it to no longer be available to select when adding new data but will continue to show (with strike-through) at the bottom of the list of response options in the module settings and remain as the selected option against any group that has previously chosen it. It's therefore possible to edit a group that has an archived response option, make an unrelated change and the archived option will persist against that group when it is saved. Archived response options reman fully searchable in Advanced Search and in Smart Tags.

In the example below, the first last response option has already been archived. By clicking the tick, it can be Set as active again or Deleted. Clicking X next to the 'Young people 13-18s' response option surfaces the choice to Archive or Delete. Remember to Save the pop-up when you have finished making changes.

Note that it's only possible to change the response Type to another within the same subtype, as follows:

  • List subtype: Checkbox List, Drop-Down List, Radio List
  • Non-list subtype: Email, Phone, Single Sentence, Paragraph
  • Date subtype: Date

Batch-updating custom field data

When adding a new custom field that is required - and where you have existing groups - the Batch Update action can be used to assign a default value to all those groups. This action is only available for required fields; but you can temporarily set a field required in order to batch update and assign a default value and then un-require the field afterwards.

Selecting Batch update will open a pop-up enabling you to select the default response option to be written to all groups. Note that this will update all groups in the site/s being viewed. Only those groups without an existing valid custom field response value will be updated - those groups with an existing response value (active or archived) will not be changed.

Custom fields in action

When editing a group in ChurchSuite the Custom Fields can be updated. Custom fields that are 'required' are distinguished by a red asterisk - module Users will not be able to save the pop-up until all the required fields, including required custom fields, have valid entries.

Custom fields are shown on a group's profile page.

Similarly, in the member-facing My ChurchSuite, group members with Edit group role permissions - perhaps those with a "Leader" role - can edit their group details, including custom fields that are set editable in My ChurchSuite.

And those viewing the group in My ChurchSuite will see custom fields whose My ChurchSuite visibility is enabled.

And those viewing the group page will also see the custom fields whose Connect and/or Embed visibility is enabled.

Custom fields are fully-searchable when using the Advanced Search feature to search groups.

Custom Fields can also be used as Smart Tag conditions to match people who have or don't have certain custom field options.

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