Have you ever attended a church and received a card in the mail that week from the pastor thanking you for joining the church that weekend? Have you ever received a call from the worship leader inviting you back for the following weekend? What about a warm plate of cookies dropped off at your doorstep from the church? These are all parts of the Attendee Onboarding Process at our church!

Our church has an Attendee Onboarding Process, where we have defined activities and processes on how we follow-up and engage first-time guests. In the summer of 2019, we rolled out a slick dashboard to locations, thanks to Sparkability, so that they could see how they were doing with executing the process. Every location seemed to grow in process adoption and engagement except for one: Online.

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As you can see, Church Online is really bringing down our attendance follow-up metric. Part of the reason why is because we don’t have an Attendee Onboarding Process for Church Online. We decided to change that.

At this point, we haven’t chosen to move forward with shipping cookies to first-time guests online. One team member mentioned that we could send first-time guests to Church Online digital cookies so we can track their movement on our website (TOTAL NERD JOKE).

Our Church Online Attendee Onboarding Process

It all starts with the visitor checking in. I talk about how we facilitate check-in through Church Online, here.

Once the weekly check-ins are imported into Rock, they are automatically moved into the Attendee Onboarding Process, now including Church Online. We wanted each first-time guest to receive automated emails that encouraged engagement with our church. We set it up using the following Rock RMS features:

  • Data Views
  • Workflows
  • System Emails
  • Group Sync

Data Views

We decided to set up three data views to capture the individuals checking into Church Online that we wanted to move through the Attendee Onboarding Process:

First Week Attendance

Here are the criteria for our First Week Attendance metric:

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We chose to use the same Data Views as our other locations' Attendee Onboarding Process, only with a campus of Online.

No Second Week Attendance

Here are the criteria for our No Second Week Attendance metric:

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Third Week Attendance

Here are the criteria for our Third Week Attendance metric:

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Each of these data views will be set up to add individuals into groups via Group Sync, which will be set up later in this recipe. Before we set up the Group Sync, we need to create the workflows to add attributes to the Person for us to track in the AOP metrics.

Workflows

We set up three workflows that are setting an Attendee Onboarding Process attribute on their person profile.

  • The Week 1 group sets that day’s date for the Welcome Email attribute.
  • The No Week 2 group sets that day’s date for the No Return Card attribute.
  • The Week 3 group sets that day’s date for the First Steps / Serving Card attribute.

By setting the date for these attributes, will increase the individual’s engagement score which is calculated in the Attendee Onboarding Process dashboard. This is where Church Online’s attendance follow-up metric can grow with the other campuses and we can see process adoption across our organization.

Import the workflows at the end of this recipe to easily add attributes to your first-time guests. Next, we'll need to create the system emails to follow-up with our first-time guests as they engage with our Church.

System Emails

We are sending out three automated system emails for individuals in each group:

1st Attendance – Welcome Email

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In this first email, we really want to encourage the individual to continue checking in. Church Online, nowadays, is often a welcome mat to our church. So, we include a button in the email to view our locations page and for our guests to find a location that is potentially close to them.

2nd Week – No Return

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If someone doesn’t come back the following week or doesn’t check-in, we want to continue to engage them by showing them the sermon they missed or reminding them to check-in.

3rd Week Attendance

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With this last email, we wanted to try and engage them through a more personal touch. Being able to war with someone in prayer over email or on the Church Online platform could potentially draw someone into a closer engagement with our church, but more importantly with Christ!

As my co-worker, Gerry, and I were building out this process, we just got pumped up with the possibility of increased engagement we could see with Church Online first-time guests.

Now it's time to use Group Sync as the glue between each piece of the process.

Group Sync

We have three groups that we are syncing with the three data views (we created above), which means that individuals will only populate in the group if they exist in the data view:

  • Week 1
  • No Week 2
  • Week 3

If you need a refresher on how to set up Group Sync, check out the Group Sync documentation.

Here's how to set up your Group Sync to follow-up with your first-time guests:

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1. Sync Data View

This is where you want to use the data view you created in the first step. This data view will be run and compared to the active member list of the group every time the Group Sync job runs.

2. Group Role to Assign

Select the role you want to assign members added by the selected Data View. The first-time guest is just a member of the group.

3. Welcome Email

This function of the Group Sync is designed to send a Welcome Email and we use this to send a system email that you created above to engage your first-time guest.

Assign each group with the respective Group Sync settings with the data view and system email created above.

You may be asking, how do the workflows get set to add AOP attributes for each group member? We set these workflows by editing the Group Member Workflow settings on the group. If you're unfamiliar with adding Group Member Workflows to a group, check out the Group Member documentation.

Here's how to set up your Group Member Workflow settings to follow-up with your first-time guest:

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1. Name

Give the Group Member Workflow an accurate name to define the trigger, like Set Week 1 Attribute.

2. Start Workflow

Select the workflow that you'd like to start when the conditions are met. For our Week 1 group, we like to set the AOP ONL Set Week 1 Attribute.

3. When

This determines when the trigger should be considered. For our Week 1 group, we want the attribute to set when the Member is Added to Group.

4. With Status Of

Set this field to filter when the trigger is applied for members with Any status.

5. With Role Of

Filter when the trigger is applied for members with a Member status.

Assign each group with the respective Group Member Workflow settings with the workflows referenced above.

All This to Increase a Metric?

This seems like a lot of work just to increase our attendance follow-up metric for Church Online. However, these are REAL PEOPLE who call Church Online THEIR HOME! Why shouldn’t they be engaged just like everyone else?

This is just a beginning to how we’re following up with first-time guests to Church Online. Who knows: at some point maybe we will be drop-shipping warm cookies to Church Online attendees? What I do know is that people who are checking in online are now increasing engagement because they’re being followed-up with through our Attendee Onboarding Process.

Any Questions?

We hope this was helpful! Please let us know if you have any questions or like what we built. You can reach me on RockChat @braderb or Twitter @bradcerb.