Rota accept/decline

Enabling your rota members to easily accept or decline the rota dates they've been assigned to can really help people stay on top of their serving commitments, while also giving those managing rotas greater clarity about the serving status of those scheduled to serve. Let's see how...

In this article

Overview of the intended functionality
Enabling the rota accept/decline functionality
Sending rotas in ChurchSuite (Users)
Sending rotas in My ChurchSuite (Overseers)
The rota member user experience

Overview of the intended functionality

The Rota Accept/Decline functionality is first enabled in the Rotas module's settings and then optionally on a rota-by-rota basis.

Once enabled for a rota, rota members can easily accept or decline rota dates they've been assigned to. Rotas module users (in ChurchSuite) and ministry overseers (in My ChurchSuite) always see the current serving status of each rota member for each rota date, visually distinguished on rota views by simple icons. Serving status changes from pending to sent when a rota is sent, and then to accepted or declined as rota members respond.

While it's rota members who will typically accept or decline rota dates, module Users and ministry overseers are also able to process accept/decline responses on behalf of any rota member. Comprehensive change logs help you keep track of all rota changes, including changes to the serving status for each person and rota date.

When sending a rota with Rota Accept/Decline enabled, the system keeps track of which rota members and dates are sent - distinguishing unsent and sent members/dates - ensuring you won't unintentionally resend a rota to people for rota dates previously sent, or resend to those who may have already accepted or declined, or who are unavailable. For example, having sent a rota to all members when it was first published, if you later add people to rota dates, you can easily send the rota to just those people for their previously-unsent rota dates. Rota members without an email address persist with an unsent serving status.

Rota members can process accept/decline responses in two places - through their personal Rota Page (a Rota Page link is included whenever you send a rota) - and in the My Rotas section of My ChurchSuite, where they can also respond on behalf of a linked spouse/partner/child. Those declining a rota date can add an optional comment. Importantly, previously-accepted dates can be declined without constraint (and vice versa). Accept/decline responses update the rota immediately.

When rota members organise swaps or sign up to a 'signup-enabled' rota in My ChurchSuite they are added to rota dates with an accepted status. When users or overseers add people to rotas or swap people on rota dates, they are added to rota dates with a pending unsent status - rotas can then be sent to those people.

While unavailability creates a clash for all rotas for a date, a decline only creates a clash for an individual rota for a date. Both clash types are distinguished on rota views in red strikethrough font with a 'hover over' pop-out that further explains the clash and any comment that may have been added. When unavailability is added, any previous accept/decline response is hidden and the accept/decline actions are no longer available. If the unavailability is later removed, the original serving status is re-surfaced and the accept/decline actions are available again.

Enabling the rota accept/decline functionality

Rota Accept/Decline is first enabled in the Rotas module's settings, which in turn enables the functionality for existing and new rotas. You'll need at least Manage permissions to Edit and make changes to the Rotas Module Options.

Now, when adding new rotas in ChurchSuite or My ChurchSuite, Rota Accept/Decline is Enabled by default but can be optionally Disabled.

Rota Accept/Decline can also be Enabled for existing rotas at any time - either using the batch 'Edit' Actions in the Rotas section to make changes to multiple selected rotas...

...or on an individual rota-by-rota basis in a rota's settings in ChurchSuite or My ChurchSuite - when viewing a rota click Edit to make changes to a rota's settings.

For a Published rota with Rota Accept/Decline enabled, rota members begin with a pending (unsent) serving status. The current serving status is distinguished visually on all rota views and automatically updates from unsent (no icon) to sent (italicised with orange ? icon) as rotas are sent and then to accepted (green tick icon) or declined (red cross icon and red strikethrough font) as responses are processed by users, overseers or rota members. An example is shown below...

Sending rotas in ChurchSuite (Users)

Users can send a rota from wherever they may be working within the Rotas module:

  • from a rota's 'view' page, sending to
    • a custom range of rota dates or
    • a single rota date or
    • an individual rota member on a rota date
  • from the rotas Overview report, sending to
    • a single rota for a date or
    • an individual rota member on a rota date
  • from the service 'view', sending to
    • all rotas for a service date or
    • an individual rota for a service date or
    • an individual rota member on a rota for a service date

Let's look at sending rotas from a rota's "view" page. From the Communicate drop-down button, selecting Send rota opens a pop-up where additional options can be selected.

On the Send rota pop up, specify the range of rota Dates to be sent - the click-expandable Recipients count shows who will receive the rota email based on the options selected. By default, rota emails will only go to those Not sent, that is, those rota members on the selected dates whose status is pending/unsent and exclude those previously-sent. You can optionally re-send to those Not responded - which will exclude those who have already accepted or declined or added unavailability - or All members - which will send to all rota members regardless of their current serving status or unavailability.

The 'Send rota' email Subject and Message can be optionally further customised - a ::first_name:: merge field is supported for email personalisation. Each recipient will receive one email that includes a Date List - a list of their serving dates for the rota. The list includes details of the rota name, the service name (if applicable) and the serving times and roles for each date. You can optionally tick to Include a date grid - the rota itself, showing who else is scheduled to serve along with their roles - and to Include contact details - a table of contact details for all rota members (only surfacing contact details in accordance with each person's privacy settings. No children contact details are listed). Click Send to complete the process.

The rota serving status is updated for each recipient rota member - sent dates are distinguished with a yellow ? icon and the member name is italicised. Rota members without email addresses will persist with a pending (unsent) status.

Rotas are sent to the rota member's email address, which for children will be the Child email address, and is logged in their Communication log viewable on their profile in the Address Book or Children module and in Communication reports. Sending rotas disregards communication options - they are always sent - it's not possible to unsubscribe from receiving rotas. Here's an example - notice the customised greeting and message, the list of serving dates and the embedded button that links the recipient through to their personal Rota Page where they can view all their rota serving details and accept/decline. If the options were selected, the email also contains the rota grid and rota member contact details table.

The Rota Page is further explained later in this article.

Sending rotas in My ChurchSuite (Overseers)

Ministry overseers have the same Send rota functionality in the member-facing My ChurchSuite. Overseers can send a rota from a rota's 'view' page, sending to

  • a custom range of rota dates or
  • a single rota date or
  • an individual rota member on a rota date

Let's look at sending rotas from a rota's "view" page. Clicking Send rota opens a pop-up where additional options can be selected.

On the Send rota pop up, specify the range of rota Dates to be sent - the click-expandable Recipients count shows who will receive the rota email based on the options selected. By default rota emails will only go to those Not sent, that is, those rota members on the selected dates whose status is pending/unsent and exclude those previously-sent. You can optionally re-send to those Not responded - which will exclude those who have already accepted or declined or added unavailability - or All members - which will send to all rota members regardless of their current serving status or unavailability.

The 'Send rota' email Subject and Message can be optionally further customised - a ::first_name:: merge field is supported for email personalisation. Each recipient will receive one email that includes a Date List - a list of their serving dates for the rota. The list includes details of the rota name, the service name (if applicable) and the serving times and roles for each date. You can optionally tick to Include a date grid - the rota itself, showing who else is scheduled to serve along with their roles - and to Include contact details - a table of contact details for all rota members (only surfacing contact details in accordance with each person's privacy settings. No children contact details are listed). Click Send to complete the process.

The rota serving status is updated for each recipient rota member - sent dates are distinguished with a yellow ? icon and the member name is italicised. Rota members without email addresses will persist with a pending (unsent) status.

Rotas are sent to the rota member's email address, which for children will be the Child email address, and is logged in their Communication log viewable on their profile in the Address Book or Children module and in Communication reports. Sending rotas disregards communication options - they are always sent - it's not possible to unsubscribe from receiving rotas. Here's an example - notice the customised greeting and message, the list of serving dates and the embedded button that links the recipient through to their personal Rota Page where they can view all their rota serving details and accept/decline. If the options were selected, the email also contains the rota grid and rota member contact details table.

The Rota Page is further explained in the next section of this article.

The rota member user experience

Rota members can process accept/decline responses in two places - through their personal Rota Page - and in the My Rotas section of My ChurchSuite, where they can also respond on behalf of a linked spouse/partner/child. Let's look at both places...

As explained in this article, all Send rota emails contain a personal Rota Page link through which each recipient rota member can access their personal rota page showing a curated list of Next Serving commitments and the current serving status for each rota and date. Dates are listed in chronological order, with 'next serving' showing first. The rota page can be further filtered by Rota, Date range and - if Rota Accept/Decline is enabled in the module's options - serving Status.

How each rota date in the list is styled is dependent on whether Rota Accept/Decline is enabled for the rota. Let's consider some examples...

For rotas with Rota Accept/Decline disabled, dates are listed un-styled on a grey background. A date clash - where a rota member is serving on more than one rota on the same date at the same time - is styled with a red rota name and unavailability is styled with a red background and the rota name in red strikethrough font.

For rotas with Rota Accept/Decline enabled, Accept and Decline buttons are surfaced. Dates not yet responded to are shown un-styled on a grey background. A date clash - where a member is serving on more than one rota on the same date at the same time - is distinguished with the rota name in red and unavailability is distinguished with a red background and the rota name in red strikethrough font. Accept/decline buttons are not surfaced for dates with unavailability added.

Clicking Accept will update the rota and serving status immediately, styled with a green background. Previously-accepted requests can be declined without constraint.

Like unavailability, a Decline (with optional comment) will give rise to a clash - styled with a red background and the rota name in red strikethrough font. While unavailability creates a clash affecting all rotas for an unavailable date, a decline clash only affects a specific rota and date. In this way, rota members can decline some rotas while remaining available to accept other rotas. Previously-declined requests can be later accepted without constraint. Decline comments can be added and edited.

If Unavailability is later added, any previous response for that date is hidden and an unavailability clash is surfaced. Accept/decline buttons are hidden where unavailability exists. If the unavailability is later removed, the original response status and accept/decline buttons are re-surfaced.

Once a serving date has been responded to - either accepted or declined - it is not possible to reset the serving status back to pending.

A rota member's Next Serving section within My ChurchSuite surfaces upcoming rota dates and serving status. For rotas with Accept/Decline enabled, accept and decline actions are available within the list. A rota member can also switch to view the next serving for linked family members and process accept/decline responses on their behalf.

Clicking through to a rota's "view" page, rota members can also process accept/decline responses on each date they are assigned to serve. When rota members Organise swaps or sign up to a 'signup-enabled' rota, they are added to rota dates with an accepted status.

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