Small group attendance
In this article
Overview of small group attendance functionality
Included in ChurchSuite's Small Groups module functionality is the ability to record and track attendance for your small groups. Attendance data can be added via the Small Groups module in your admin-facing ChurchSuite system; and also via My ChurchSuite, reducing administrative burden on the church office.
Adding attendance through ChurchSuite
Go to "Small Groups" > "Attendance" and click "Add Attendance".
On the "Add attendance" page, enter the attendance date and meeting day that you are adding attendance for, and click "Find groups".
A filtered list of matching groups is displayed.
For each matching group, add all the required information including the total number of attendees on that date (or tick to record that the group didn't meet on that date), any notes you want to make (e.g. names of visitors/guests), and then select each member of the group that was present. Click "Save Changes" before navigating away from the page.
Adding attendance through My ChurchSuite
You can also let your small group leaders update their small group's attendance data directly, thus reducing the administrative burden on your church.
In order to enable the My Groups menu in My ChurchSuite, it must first be enabled in the Small Groups module settings in ChurchSuite. Begin by selecting the Small Groups module in your ChurchSuite account. Then click on the module options button in the top right-hand corner of the screen - you'll need manage module or Administrator permissions to do this.
Select the "My ChurchSuite" tab next to the "Module" tab.
Make sure that the following options are enabled:
- Enable My ChurchSuite access - this must be selected for the My Groups menu option to be enabled in My ChurchSuite.
- Enable attendance submission - this will allow you to specify a "role" (such as "Leader", for example, explained in a moment), that is allowed to submit attendance data through My ChurchSuite.
When you have finished, click "Save Changes".
Having enabled My ChurchSuite access and attendance submission, you must now select which small group role(s) are permitted to submit attendance. Go to "Small Groups" > "Roles" and click "Add Role".
Give the role a name, such as "Leader" or "Attendance Submission" and make sure that the "Attendance Submission?" option is ticked for that role. See the related support article for an explanation of the other role permissions.
While attendance submission is often delegated to those with a "Leader" role in many churches, you can assign attendance submission permissions to any or multiple roles if you wish - so if you want to allow leaders and hosts to record attendance, just enable attendance submission for both roles.
You may also enable the "Edit Group Details?" option, which will allow role holders to be able to edit the group details and member list through My ChurchSuite - this option must be enabled in order for role holders to add members to, or remove members from the group.
Click "Save Changes" before navigating away from the page.
Having created small group roles and assigned role permissions (above), all that remains is for the role to be assigned to the appropriate group member(s) in each of your small groups. Begin by navigating to "Small Groups" > "Groups". Select each group in turn and select "Edit" from the option cog.
In the Group Members section of each group, you will see the contacts (members) that are in the group, and columns for each role you created previously. Simply tick the role box for each member you want to assign. It is not necessary for every member to have a role. Similarly, a member may have more than one role. Click "Save Changes" before navigating away from the page.
Having completed all of the above configuration steps, those group members assigned with roles that include "Attendance Submission?" are now able to begin recording attendance for their group using My ChurchSuite.
From the My ChurchSuite homepage, click on the "My Groups" menu option and select their group. If "Edit Group Details?" was enabled for the role, the "Edit" button will be visible - this is where you will add new members or remove members from the group. Click the "Attendance" button in the top right hand corner of the group page.
The "My group attendance" page opens. Set the date of the attendance. In the event that the group didn't meet, ticking "Didn't Meet?" will keep your attendance statistics accurate, and prevent the group showing on the "Missing Attendance" report. Select each group member present, add any optional notes (e.g. visitors/guests). Click "Save Changes" when you are done.
It is also possible to "Edit" attendance data that has already been submitted - perhaps to correct a mistake or to add notes or group member changes. To do this, instead of using the "Add attendance" button, scroll down the group page instead to the Members list and click on the Attendance tab (shown below).
Clicking on any of the Date headings in the first row of the attendance table will open that attendance page for editing, allowing you to make changes before saving again.
Viewing small group attendance data
As seen in the previous section, recent small group attendance is visible in My ChurchSuite to those group members whose role includes attendance submission permissions. This can be helpful for leaders to monitor group health and identify those who have not attended recently and may need a caring call.
All small group attendance data, including records submitted through My ChurchSuite, are viewable in the Small Groups module, in the Attendance section. Here you will find a list of attendance records for all the small groups in your church in date order (most recent attendance first).
Clicking on the name of a group in the list opens the attendance record for that group and date, showing who was recorded as attending on that date, and a graph showing the group's recent attendance. Hovering your mouse over any point on the graph displays the attendance for that date. Clicking on a point on the graph will open the attendance record for that date.
Small group attendance reporting
Of course Attendance reports are only helpful if your attendance has been actually recorded on the system! The "Missing Attendance" report in the Small Groups > Reports section allows you to filter a list of groups that haven't submitted their attendance for a specified number of weeks or months, and then easily download or print the report. Good leaders are often busy, so they'll appreciate your timely reminders to help them stay organised before the attendance slips their mind!
There are a number of attendance-related reports in the Small Groups > Reports section.
Attendance Averages report
This report displays the attendance averages of individual members of small groups in your Church. This report can be filtered to show just those belonging to specific small groups, making it an ideal tool to identify people who are beginning to slip away from a particular small group.
Attendance Notes report
This produces a report of notes that have been submitted as part of group attendance reporting.
Attendance Summary report
The Attendance Summary show attendance inline for each group member within a given range. Using the same presentation of attendance information found on the group pages, this report shows you who was present or absent on each date filtered. You can filter to view one, multiple or all groups, or by your group tags; either including or excluding members with zero attendance.
Exceptional Groups report
This report allows you to set attendance criteria that you might consider 'exceptional', for better or worse. ChurchSuite will then display all instances of groups matching those criteria, allowing you to easily see whether a Small Group has a trend which might be a cause for concern, or one which may require further logistical planning. These results are displayed in red or green, making it even easier to see in an instance the attendance health of your groups.
Monthly Breakdown report
This report allows you to visually see the long term attendance trends within your Small Groups. The information displays clearly on the graph but is only summarised in a snapshot beneath, in which the highest and lowest attendance figures are displayed alongside the numerical average and total number of logged attendance records from that month or week.
The report can be filtered to display data from either a week, or a month, and is also able to be filtered to display only data from specific Small Groups, making it easier than ever to see the growth patterns of particular Small Groups!
Monthly Engagement report
This report allows you to visually see the number of unique contacts, children and visitors that are logged as attending your small groups each month. Although the Monthly Breakdown report is useful for showing the total number of Small Group attendees each month, that number only tells half the story. The Monthly engagement report seeks to show what proportion of that number is made up by regulars, and what proportion is made up by people who attend infrequently, or simply for the first time.
To see clearly the trends for unique contact, child, or visitor engagement simply ensure that the rest of the options are deselected on the graph. It is also possible to filter the report by Small Group tags, so you can see how a particular collection of groups are doing with engaging with new people!