Sending form invitations - BETA

Beta access

The Forms functionality explained in this support article is available to all customers as a beta access feature. We will continue to add further Forms features in the coming months, including:
  • Conditional questions - form field responses will be able to determine the visibility of subsequent questions eg respondents answering Yes or No will surface a different follow-on question

14th September 2021

Once a Form has been created, you can promote it to potential recipients by emailing invitations to contacts and children within ChurchSuite or by advertising the public URL (for a Public form only). When sending invitations, a link in the invitation email enables recipients to access the form. If Smart Links have been used, the form will be pre-filled with existing data such as their name and contact details.

Invitations can be used for all types of forms:

  1. Public - as well as being able to send invitations, public forms also have a public URL which can be emailed to potential respondents.
  2. Private - these forms can only be completed by people who have received an invitation.
  3. Anonymous - these forms can only be completed by people who have received an invitation. Even if Smart Links are used to pre-fill information on the form, responses within ChurchSuite will not be linked to the invitee in order to protect their anonymity.

Smart Links

Smart links elevate a Standard field. When used, they pre-fill data in forms sent using Send invite and populate data when creating a new contact using Add contact. Fields without smart links create isolated data which can only be used within the form context and have no direct link to any database data for the respondent.

Consider the following example forms:

  • Form 1 is created using only standard fields with no smart linking in place. It includes fields for Name, Mobile and Address.
  • Form 2 is created using smart linked fields for First & Last Name, Email, Mobile and Address.

These forms would behave in the following ways in relation to Send invite:

  • Anyone visiting the public URL for Form 1 or Form 2 would notice no difference between them - the forms would look identical.
  • Any invitees to Form 1 would see a blank form with no pre-filled data because there are no smart links.
  • Invitees to Form 2 would see their own data pre-filled in the fields because smart links are in place.

At any time, the fields on Form 1 could be edited and smart links could be added. In this scenario Form 1 would then behave exactly like Form 2.

  • Existing invitees who had not previously responded to the invite would start to see their data pre-filled in Form 1.

In the same way, the fields on Form 2 could be edited at any time to remove the smart links. This would stop the data being pre-filled for invitees who have not previously responded.

To send an invitation, select Send invite at the top of a form's "View" page. This action is only available for a Published form.

You can then compose your invitation email. It's important that the link provided is always present in the invitation email as it is the unique link to a pre-filled form for each recipient. You can add text above and below the link.

When you have finished composing your email, select Preview Email to preview the content and format before selecting recipients.

Top Tip!

Consider the following scenarios before deciding when to link responses and send invitations:

Linking responses BEFORE sending invitations:
Before sending invitations, you release the public URL link to a form and receive an influx of Unlinked responses. As the form has First Name and Last Name on it, within ChurchSuite you're able to link the responses to individuals. When you subsequently send the invitation to everyone in your Address Book, the invitation will not go to Linked people because a response for them already exists for this form. The invitation will be created but the status will show as Responded and no email will be sent to the invitee.

Linking responses AFTER sending invitations:
Before sending invitations, you release the public URL link to a form and receive an influx of Unlinked responses. If you choose to send an invite to everyone in your Address Book at this stage, some of the people who previously completed the form will receive an invitation email because their initial response to the form was not linked to them.

As the form has First Name and Last Name on it, within ChurchSuite you're able to subsequently link the responses to individuals. After doing this, ChurchSuite will show the invitation as Responded because it checks for existing invitations during the linking process. When a person visits the invitation link within the email, they will be directed to their previous submission and can edit this if desired. This stops multiple submissions being created for an individual.

Once invitations have been sent, clicking on the Invites tab will show a table of invitees. The table details the Person who was invited, the Sent at date/time and a Status of Not Responded or Responded (unless the form is anonymous in which case there is no Status column).

A progress bar shows how many forms have been completed by invitees.

A filter enables you to view a particular response status eg Responded/Not Responded...

...and a search box allows you to search for a named invitee.

For Not Responded invitations, an Action menu provides an option to Resend invite...

...and a batch action checkbox enables you to resend invitations to one or more invitees.

When a respondent submits a form for the first time, a Notification email is sent to form Overseers, informing them that a new response has been submitted. When Send invite is used, a Confirmation email is sent to the invitee's email and the email is logged in the person's communication log on their contact or child record. A confirmation email is also sent if a form is edited at a later date.

Responses are shown on the Responses tab.

If, when an invitation is sent, there is already a response for the invitee (either because the response was linked manually by a user in ChurchSuite or because a response was previously submitted via the invitation), the invitee will be redirected to a URL showing a form which is pre-populated with their previously-submitted data. It's not possible for two responses or invitations to exist for the same contact or child within ChurchSuite.

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