Adding events

You can easily add or import events to populate your Calendar module. This article explains how to add events - see the related support article for instructions on importing a file of events from an another calendar application.

In this article

Adding an event
Adding event images
Duplicating an event
Enabling event sign up
Customising the sign-up confirmation email
Assigning event overseers
Keeping track of the changes
Promoting events on social media
Communicating with event sign-ups

Adding an event

From the Events section of the Calendar module click Add event.

On the Add event pop-up, complete all of the event Details as appropriate. Give your event a suitable Name. Set the event's Start and End date. Typically most events will likely start and end on the same date, but you can also create events that run over multiple consecutive dates between the Start and End date - for example, a weekend conference running from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon. These fields should not be confused with the Event repeats option (explained below), which is used to determine if the event being added is a sequence. Unticking All Day will surface the event Time fields. The Location fields are used to plot the event's location on the event page map. Multi-site customers can select the event's Site (or 'All sites'). An event must be assigned to a Category - see the related support article for adding additional event categories. Set the event Status as appropriate.

Where an Event repeats, use the Frequency and Repeat until settings to generate the event's sequence dates - the sequence will run from the event's Start/End date and repeat with the selected frequency until the Repeat until date. A sequence always has an 'repeat until' end date; but you can easily extend a sequence later if you wish (see later).

At this stage you can still remove individual dates from the generated sequence date list - click the X next to the date(s) to be removed - for example, if an otherwise 'weekly' event is not happening during school holiday. You can easily add dates to a sequence, or delete dates from a sequence, later, if you wish - for example, if you want to add ad hoc dates to the sequence that are outside of the sequence frequency. Note that the event's Times are applied to all event dates in the sequence, but times of individual dates can be manually changed later, once the event sequence is saved - the sequence's integrity is not affected by a manual change to the event times of individual dates within the sequence.

Continuing down the Add event pop-up, add an informative event Description that your audience will read on the event page. Use the 'box extender' tool in the bottom-right corner of the Description field to make the box bigger if you need to.

Next, set the event's Visibility. With no visibility options ticked, the event will only be viewable by Calendar module Users in the module's calendar. However, you can set the event further visible - to Show in My ChurchSuite; Show in Embed (on your website) and Show in Connect (perhaps on a device running Connect at your weekend service Information Point). You can also set to Show in "Featured Events" - this 'showcases' your event in a 'Featured Events Embed' on your website and in the 'Featured Events' list in the member-facing My ChurchSuite. See our related support article for further information about Managing event visibility.

Event Sign Up options are explained later in this article. Click Save to add your new event/sequence.

The event's "View" page is displayed, summarising all the event information you have just entered. For events that repeat, note the In this sequence section on the right hand side of the page - from this section you can quickly navigate to other dates within the same sequence or select View sequence to see a list of all event dates in the sequence.

You can return to this event "View" page at any time in the future to Edit and make further changes if you need to.

It's also possible to edit an event from the Calendar by navigating to the relevant date and selecting Edit from the Action menu.

When editing a sequence event, you can either apply the changes to just the event date being edited, or you can tick Update sequence to apply the changes to all future dates in the sequence. This setting will update the event Name, Times, Location, Site, Category, Status, Description, Visibility settings and Sign Up settings for all future events (from today onwards) in the sequence, overwriting any date-specific changes that may have already been made.

Note that changes to an event's Start date and End date will only update the event being edited and will not change the dates of other events in the sequence. See the related support article for further information on working with event sequences.

Finally, note that it is also possible to add events directly into the Calendar "View". Hover over a calendar date where you would like to add an event and click the Add event button. Note that this option is not available for mobile devices that do not have a track pad, pointer or mouse.

Top Tip!

You can easily embed a video in an event's Description field, which is surfaced as a playable video within the public-facing Event Page. Here's how...

When viewing a video, such as on the YouTube website, click the "Share" option on the YouTube video 'preview', and then select Copy embed code. You can also access this menu option by right-clicking on the video.

Now, back in ChurchSuite, click to Edit your event. In the event Description field, click on the action menu to surface the second row of HTML tools, and select the "Source code" tool designated by a <> icon.

Paste the embed code for your video into the 'Source code" viewer, pasting it into the appropriate place within the source code view. Save these changes and save your event. Next, use the Go to event page option on the event's "View" page to preview how the video displays.

The pasted embed code will usually include a parameter for setting the video's frame width and height. So in this example...

<iframe width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/ embed/ XMyT01kGfqA" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

...notice the width="640" and height="360". This can be reduced to fit within the event page available space - you may find that a width/height of 512 x 288 or 500 x 281 result in a more effective placement of the video.

Top Tip!

You can set a Default event status assigned to new events in the Calendar module's settings.

Adding event images

From an event's "View" page in the Calendar module, hover your cursor over the circular 'event date' avatar to surface the pencil edit icon. Click the pencil edit icon.

Where an event is part of a sequence, note the option to Replace sequence image (which will apply the image to all events in the sequence) and Replace event image (which will apply the image to just the event being viewed) - select as appropriate. Drag and drop a suitably-prepared image onto the drop-zone, or click to browse and select the image file. For the best results, and to ensure that important information or image details are not cut out, cropped or distorted when the image is displayed on the Event Page, make sure the image is prepared in a 16:9 ratio (e.g. 1280x720px). For help in calculating the aspect ratio of your image use this handy calculator.

The image is uploaded and immediately applied to the event - job done!

Having added an event image, notice the image avatar options to edit, view or delete an event or sequence image.

For sequence events, deleting an image will clear the image from all dates in the sequence.

Duplicating an event

Many events are repeats of an event that has happened before. Rather than creating an event from the start, it will likely be quicker to duplicate a previous or similar event. Begin by searching for the previous event. In the Events section of the Calendar module, notice the Search and the View selector to switch between Future and Past events.

As you type in the Search the list of matching results is auto-filtered.

To duplicate an event, select Duplicate from the Action menu on the right hand side of the list.

There's also a Duplicate button at the top of the event's "View" page.

The Duplicate event pop-up opens, pre-populated with all the original event's information and settings. Review and update the event details and settings as appropriate, paying special attention to updating the new event's Start date and End date, and also whether the event being duplicated repeats - if so, click Event repeats to set the new event sequence repeat Frequency and Repeat until date (as described earlier in this article).

Once you have updated all the event information, click Save to add the newly-duplicated event/sequence to the Calendar module.

Enabling event sign up

ChurchSuite's event management functionality includes the ability to add tickets to an event, and to set those tickets as 'free', 'pay online' or 'pay on arrival'. You can add multiple ticket types to the same event; giving your prospective sign-ups a range of ticket options. See the related support article for further information about adding tickets to events.

It's also possible to use event sign-up for free events without adding tickets - known as "Simple Sign Up" events - giving your prospective sign-ups a simpler sign-up form to complete (see example below), without requiring them to also select a ticket. In this section we explore how to enable sign up for standalone events and sequence events.

Working from the event's "View" page, select to Edit the event. For sequence events you'll see an Update sequence option - this should be ticked if you wish to apply the Sign Up setting changes to all future dates (from today onwards) in the sequence.

Continue scrolling down to the end of the pop-up and locate the Sign Up settings section. Tick to enable Sign up through Event page - this is the 'master' sign-up setting that must be enabled if you wish to enable the other sign-up options explained below. Sign-up must also be enabled if you will be adding tickets to your event.

For non-sequence events you now have further Sign Up options to enable Sign up through My ChurchSuite and/or Sign up through Connect/Embed - note that Connect and Embed use the same event page, so this one setting applies to both. You can also tick to Allow sign-ups to [self] cancel their sign-ups and optionally specify the event's sign up Capacity - ideal where you need to limit the total number of sign-ups due to venue constraints. Once the event's capacity is reached, no further sign-ups will be possible through the event page. However, a Calendar module User is always able to manually add sign-ups to an event (see later in this article) - an information message alerts them that the event's capacity is being exceeded.

For multi-date sequence events there is a further Sign Up option for Sign up to the sequence. The option is only visible when the Event repeats option has been ticked (if adding an event) or if the event is part of a sequence (if editing an event). This setting determines whether those signing up for the event are signing up to just a specific date within the sequence (e.g. a monthly newcomer event, where the sign-up is for just one event out of all the newcomer event dates), or whether they are signing up to all dates in the sequence (e.g. a weekly discipleship course, where sign-up is for the course). If you wish people to sign up to all dates in the sequence, tick Sign up to the sequence.

When Sign up to the sequence is enabled, details of sign-ups are recorded against the sequence, meaning that the list of sign-ups is visible when viewing any event's "View" page within the sequence. Additionally, with Sign up to the sequence enabled, the Event Page (example shown below) lists all future dates remaining in the sequence, so your potential sign-ups can easily see that they're signing up to a series of dates.

Remember to Save any changes made to the event's settings. You can preview the public-facing event page at any time by selecting Go to event page.

Those signing up will be listed in the Sign-Ups section located at the bottom of the event's "View' page...

Customising the event sign-up confirmation email

When people sign up for an event, a confirmation email is always sent to the sign-up's email address. A link is embedded in the email that takes the sign-up to a page summarising all the details of their sign-up; and if enabled, the option to process a cancellation request. An example confirmation email is shown later in this section.

However, you can optionally add your own custom confirmation message, to which the 'system-generated' email content is then appended. In this way, confirmation emails become a great opportunity to send important pre-event information that your sign-ups may need when they attend e.g directions and car parking, your cancellation or refunds policy, or maybe a message to promote another upcoming event. Here's how...

From an event's "View" page, select to Edit (or View) the Confirmation email.

In the Edit confirmation pop-up, compose your customised message, including optionally setting a different From Name, From Email address and Subject; or select a Preset Email (if you have already created a template for a sign-up confirmation). By using Merge Fields you can add personalisation to your message. Save the changes to close the pop up.

In the example above, notice that we've added a simple personalised confirmation message. When the actual confirmation email is generated and sent to the sign-up, the confirmation email will also include a unique embedded View, Cancel or Check In button - here's an example...

When the recipient clicks the View, Cancel or Check In button, a confirmation page is opened that summarises details of the event and the sign-up. Where multiple people were signed up in the same batch, their sign-up details are also listed. For "Physical location" events only (not "Online location" events), each sign-up's Check-In QR code is also surfaced, which can be used for event check-in where QR code scanning is used. Finally, where sign-up cancellation is enabled for the event, a Request Cancellation button is surfaced - see our related support article for further information about Sign-Up Cancellation.

Assigning event overseers

Designated event overseers have additional functionality provided in the My Events section of the member-facing My ChurchSuite. Overseers can view a list of event sign-ups and access event check-in for their event; all without needing User access to the Calendar module. 

In order for an event to be visible in My ChurchSuite to overseers,  the "Show in My ChurchSuite" option must be selected in the event's Visibility section.  

If you want an event to be visible to event overseers but not visible to others with My ChurchSuite access, use the option to restrict My ChurchSuite by Tag.

From the list of Sign-Ups, overseers can view the name and contact details of each sign up (subject to privacy settings), and details of tickets and sign-up question responses. In this way, lay leaders (any contact in the Address Book) can easily manage some of the administration for their events from within My ChurchSuite. Additionally, if enabled, overseers can receive sign-up and cancellation notification emails for their event.

Overseers are assigned by a Calendar module User on an event's "View" page. Click Add overseer.

On the Add overseer pop-up, search and select the person you wish to designate as an Overseer - the list of matching result filters as you type.

Optionally tick Notify of sign-ups if you wish this overseer to receive sign-up notifications when people sign-up for the event. Similarly, optionally tick Notify of cancellations if you wish this overseer to receive cancellation notifications when a sign-up or User processes a sign-up cancellation. If the event is part of a sequence you'll also have the option to Update sequence, which which will add the overseer to all future events (from today onwards) in the sequence. Click Save to add the new overseer.

The event's "View" page is updated accordingly. You can add further overseers if you wish. Notice the Edit and Remove options on the Action menu next to each overseer - the Edit option allows you to change the overseer's notification settings.

Keeping track of the changes

Whenever a User makes a change to an event in the Calendar module, a record of the change is added to the Changes log located at the bottom of the event's "View" page. The Changes log includes the change date and time, the user who made the change, and a description of the change that was made.

A useful report in the Calendar module's Reports section is the Added Events report. This report lists events added to the module within a range of dates. The report can be further filtered by event Categories and, using the click-sortable column heading, be ordered by Date Added (the default) or event Date. The report results include details of each event's current Visibility settings and the User that added the event and when.

Finally, the Missing Data report in the Calendar module's Reports section lists all future events with missing data. Using the report's Missing Data filter you can easily identify events with missing information.

Promoting events on social media

You can easily promote your organisation's events by sharing them on popular social media like Facebook and Twitter. You can also save events to your preferred calendar application.

On each event's "View" page in the Calendar module there is a Share button at the top that has options to share the public-facing event page to Facebook and Twitter, or to add the event to your preferred calendar applications like Outlook, Mac Calendar or Google Calendar. The Share button is only visible for future-dated events.

Facebook

Sharing to Facebook may require you to modify your Facebook account settings. When sharing an event page to Facebook, you may receive an error message like this...

To resolve this, log in to Facebook and navigate to your "Apps" settings and enable "Apps, Websites and Plug-ins". Then try sharing your event or group to Facebook again.

For future-dated events that have visibility settings enabled for Show in My ChurchSuite (without any Tag restrictions), Show in Embed or Show in Connect, the public-facing Event Page includes social media "share" icons on the Event Page so that those accessing the page can also promote your events on their personal social media feeds if they wish. They can also add events to their preferred calendar applications like Outlook, Mac Calendar or Google Calendar.

Communicating with event sign-ups

A vital part of event management is effective and timely communication, both before the event, perhaps to pre-welcome people and let them know any last minute information; but also after the event, perhaps to thank people for coming or to communicate 'next steps'. Even within a list of sign-ups, it's often the case that you want to selectively communicate with certain groupings of people within the list - for example, just those who signed up in the last week, those who signed up but didn't attend, those who signed up to a particular ticket type, those who have a particular sign-up question response, or those who haven't paid! All of these, and more besides, are possible using the selective Communicate options on an event's "View" page in the Calendar module.

Begin by navigating to the "View" page of the event and scroll down to the tabbed section - depending on the features you are using you may see tabs for Sign-Ups, Invites and Check-Ins (and additional tabs for Tickets and event Questions).

On the Sign-Ups tab click Communicate and choose Send email or Send SMS to communicate with the filtered sign-ups listed. You can optionally use the Advanced search to further filter the list, and also switch between viewing Active or Cancelled sign-ups.

The Send email (and Send SMS) pop-up will reflect the filters you have selected. If no filters are selected then all active sign-ups will be recipients. You can also apply filters on the pop-up as appropriate - perhaps just those with a particular Sign-Up Status, Tickets or Ticket Status; those with a particular Question responses, those who Signed up between a range of dates.

Having selected the appropriate filters, click Proceed and the usual email or sms "compose" pop-up is opened. Once you have composed your message, the message Preview populates with the filtered list of recipients and is ready to send.

Event communication logging

All sent event communications are logged in the Communication section at the bottom of the event's "View" page and also against the contacts in the Address Book and/or Children module (where the sign-ups or attendees are linked to the people in those modules).

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