Managing Small Groups with Breeze

How to manage your church's small groups using Breeze.

Whether you’ve been hosting small groups for a while or you’ve just started the process, the task of establishing groups and managing them in an effective way can often be daunting, so we’re here to help.

With the use of some of Breeze’s core features, such as Tags, Events, and Users and Roles, you can easily keep track of your growing small groups and focus on what you do best – ministry!

Here’s how to manage small groups in Breeze...

Establish Your Groups

The best way to establish your small groups in Breeze is with the use of Tags.

Tags act as the group management tool in Breeze, allowing you to sort your people into specific groups and communicate with them directly. This is perfect for small groups!

1. Create Folders and Tags for Your Groups

For optimum usage of Tags, we suggest organizing them in a folder to tag structure that breaks down subcategories and keeps everything tidy and easy to find.

Think of the this as your digital filing cabinet, where a folder can either be used to hold information (the tags), or can be used to hold other folders for hierarchical organization.

Simple Small Group Structure:

If you’re just getting started with your small groups, or have a more simplistic structure, you can simply create one tag folder called Small Groups to hold all of your individual group tags.

Here’s what "Small Groups" folder with Individual Group Tags would look like in Breeze:

simple_tag_tree.png

More Complex Small Group Structure:

If you have a lot of small groups that are categorized by topic or purpose (such as Recovery Groups, Community Outreach Groups, Study Groups, etc.), it may be beneficial to have one over-arching folder called Small Groups and then folders for each of those subcategories inside of that. You would then add the respective tags to each folder.

Here's an example of "Small Groups" folder with Group Category Subfolders and Individual Group Tags: 

 tag_tree_structure.png

2. Add People to the Small Group Tags

Now that your folders and tags are created, it’s time to add people to the individual small group tags! You can do this from a person’s profile, from inside the tag itself, or you can bulk add individuals from the People section.

Assign Tags: To assign an individual person or multiple people to a tag: Select the "Tags" tab from the top left. Navigate to the folder containing the tag and click the tag. On the right, click "Add People to Tag." Begin typing the person's name. The name will appear in a dropdown list. Select the person's name. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until everyone you'd like to add has been selected, then click "Add." Alternatively, you can assign multiple tags to a single person. To do this: Navigate to a person's profile page. Click "Tags" from the left menu. On the right, click "Assign/Unassign Tags." Select the tags you'd like assigned/unassigned to that person. Click to save your changes.

Note: You can also add people to tags when adding them to Breeze for the first time. This can be done on the right-hand side from the Add Person screen, or from the check-in screen when using tag eligibility.

Create Events for When Your Groups Meet

If you are not interested in displaying your small group meetings on your website, tracking individual group meetings on a calendar, or taking attendance, feel free to skip on down to step 3!

Now that your groups are established within Breeze, the next thing you’ll want to do is create events on your calendar for your small group meetings!

Having these event dates and times listed on the calendar allows you to make your groups visible on your website (by embedding the calendar), and to all of those with Member Access in Breeze. If people can see what groups are happening when, they’ll be more likely to get involved.

1. Create a Small Group Calendar

The first step to getting all of your group dates and times listed in Breeze is to make sure you have a Breeze calendar to store all of your Small Group events.

Simple Calendar Setup:

If you only have a few small groups, or they don’t have any special categories to them, you can simply create one new calendar and call it “Small Groups.” This is the calendar in which you’ll create all your new small group related events!

Here’s what this looks like in Breeze:

simple_small_group_calendar.png

More Complex Calendar Setup:

If you have a more complex build of small groups, such as Sermon Study Groups, Community Outreach Groups, Recovery Groups, etc., and have multiple groups within these categories, then you may find it helpful to have separate calendars for each of your group categories.

Here’s what this looks like in Breeze:

event_calendar.png

In the example above, there is a green calendar for the Community Outreach Small Groups’ events, a red calendar for Recovery Groups’ events, and an orange calendar for the Sermon Study Groups’ events.

Note: Having calendars like this for your different group categories can be helpful for viewing their events separately on the calendar, but can also be necessary for the protection of sensitive information. As permission settings in Users and Roles can allow or deny access to view events/attendance to certain Breeze calendars, groups with sensitive information such as Recovery Groups should be kept as private as possible.

2. Create Specific Events for your Small Groups

Now that you have your separate Small Group calendar(s) created, it’s time to add your specific events!

When creating the events, it’s important to include a description that gives individuals a better idea of the group’s focus: whether that be a study of a specific book of the Bible, a suggested age range, whether childcare will be provided, etc.. The event description should also include the address where the small group will take place.

Having detailed descriptions saved for each event will allow individuals who see this calendar to easily find a group that is tailored to their needs, discussion preferences, and geographical location!

If you decide to use your church building for small groups, you can even use the Location option in the event settings for room management, to ensure you do not double-book the specific room(s) needed.

Set Tag Eligibility for Check In

If you aren't interested in tracking attendance for your individual small groups, feel free to skip on down to the Set Permissions in Users & Roles section!

This is where all of your hard work comes together!

The Check In section of Breeze plays a vital role in helping to keep track of who is involved in what ministries, and who may need a little more one-on-one attention.

To make it simple for your small group leaders to take attendance, we suggest making their specific small group tag eligible for check in at their event. This will limit the names on the check-in roster to be only those who are currently assigned to their specific small group’s tag.

tag_eligibility.png 

If tracking attendance, you can even set Alerts for your event to help your leaders keep track of who they may need to reach out and speak with or who may be slipping through the cracks.

Set Permissions in Users & Roles

Now that all of your groups and their events are set up in Breeze, it’s time to create user roles for your small group leaders! This will ensure they have the proper permissions to communicate with and view the people in their groups, as well as view and edit the appropriate calendars/events.

It is important to note that while the Users and Roles section will allow you to set permissions for your users, it is recommended that all volunteers (especially those with leadership roles), also be vetted by other means (such as background checks), before being given access to sensitive personal information.

If you have a very simplistic structure for your small groups you can simply create one role called Small Group Leader.

If you have several categories of small groups, you may want to create different roles for different group leaders of these categories. This can be important if you have small groups that deal with sensitive information, such as recovery groups. You would only want the group leaders for these specific groups to be able to view these tags, the people in them, and the attendance for the events.

Give Your Leaders Access to Their People

In establishing permissions for your small group leaders, you’ll want to give them the ability to view the people in their tag and communicate with them.

  • This can be accomplished by selecting the “View” and “Actions” options below the “People” permissions. To limit the leader’s view to only the individuals in their specific tag, you’ll also need to make this selection in the “Only Access Certain People” > “People In Tags” > their specific small group tag.

Here’s what this looks like in Breeze:

people_permission.png

Note:To limit what your leaders can see on the individual profiles, you can click the dropdown arrow next to “View”, under the “People” permissions, and only select the fields you’d like them to be able to see. Additionally, you can limit how your leaders can communicate with their group by being more selective with the options under “Actions.”

Let You Leaders See Their Tag 

To allow your small group leaders to be able to view their own tag, you’ll need to select “View” under the “Tags” permissions and then select “Only Access Certain Tags” > “Allow Access To” > their specific small group tag.

Here’s what this looks like:

tags_permissions.png

Allow Your Leaders to Keep Attendance

If you’ve opted to create a calendar for your small group, log individual group meetings as events, and keep track of attendance, you will also need to establish permissions for Events.

To allow your small group leaders to view their events, edit the description/settings to their event, and track attendance, you’ll need to select “View Events,” “Edit Events,” “Check People In,” and “Check In Reports.” To limit these permissions to a specific calendar, you’ll then need to select “Only Access Certain Calendars” > “Allow Access To” > their specific small group calendar.

Here’s what these permission settings look like in Breeze:

event_permissions.png

Note: Giving individuals permission to “Edit Events” will allow them to edit the settings for any events that they have access to (the calendars that are checked) under the “Allow Access To” option. In addition, the “Check People In” and “Check In Reports” options will allow the individual to view attendance data for any of the events they have access to. This is important to consider when you have small groups that revolve around sensitive information, such as recovery groups.

Congratulations, you’re now well on your way to establishing and managing small groups at your church with the use of Breeze!

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Comments

26 comments
  • HI,

     

    We have about 20 pastoral carers in our church and each of these people are assigned to about 20-30 people in the church to take care of their needs in a time of crises.  In breeze we would like every individual to be assigned to one of these 20 pastoral carers.  We would then like to be able to export the list of parishioners next to their pastoral carer.  We would also like to click on a pastoral carer and find out who they are responsible for in the church.  I have played around with tags in breeze but not sure this is going to work.  I wonder if there is a better way to set this up.  Do you have any suggestions?

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  • We did this in our church using the tags. I set up a folder called "Session Flocks". And then 13 sub-folders, one for each elder. I could not export the list of members to each flock, but had to add each one individually. Time consuming, but now I can click on one flock leader's name & see who is in his group (flock).

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  • Thank you.  It would also be nice to include reminders (email and/or text) for people in the event tags. I know this is possible with volunteers section, and needs to be included with events and tags.

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  • Would it be possible for group leaders to add new people to their group tag?  What would be the setting adjustment when creating the role?

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  • Hi there!

    Absolutely! It is possible for group leaders to add new people. You would simply need to adjust their role to include the permissions to be able to have access to Tags, People and Add (under People) as shown here:

     

    If you want them to view information or contact information about the people they are adding into tags, be sure and check mark those items under People<View.

    Hope this is helpful!

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  • I have a question.  We have, like most churches, several Small Groups and Sunday School classes.  It would be nice if I could generate a report of selected Events related to attendance... rather than pulling each event up individually. So, I would like to be able to have both an overall count of attendance and be able to view at a glance those who attended any of the groups in a given time frame (specifically, a week).  Is there any way to do this?

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  • Is there a way to setup a registration form so that when people sign up for a group through that form it will automatically add them to a tag? 

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  • Hi @jcanupp!

    You can view multiple events! This will be most helpful for running this report: Creating Attendance Reports

     

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  • Hello @rorychance!

    Yes! Here you go: Auto-Tagging Form Respondents

    :) 

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  • Awesome! Thanks Emily!

     

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  • I have a question about invitations and or RSVP functions for groups and events. Is there a way to create an event for a particular group or tag and send out invitations with an RSVP bottom in the invitation?

    Thanks, Jefff

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  • Hey @jeff!

    Great question! You can most certainly create an event for a particular group or tag however, the only way to utilize the RSVP function is through scheduling volunteers.

    While this may not be the ideal answer you were hoping for, I do hope it's most helpful! 

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  • Thank you Emily. Are there any future plans to add that type of a feature in Breeze? 

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  • Hey @jeff

    Great Question!  If you'd like to see an RSVP button implemented for events, you can submit a feature request. 

    Click here to submit a new feature request.

    I hope this helps!

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  • I have a question, is there a way to set-up an automatic reminder for small group events. I would like all of my small group leaders to get an automatic reminder to check in their small group participants each week. When we were with CCB small group leaders received an email the day of and the day after their group, to remind them to take attendance. Is this something breeze has built into events? 

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  • Hey @leeg, 

    That's a great question!  Yes, you can set alert notifications between 1-7 days before the event.  However, if you like to send an email the day of the event, I would recommend setting an email template you can reuse and scheduling emails to send out for the specific dates you want.

    Click here to learn how to set alert notifications.
    Click here to learn how to schedule emails in advance.
    Click here to learn how to use email templates.

    I hope this helps!  Let me know if I can assist further!

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  • Is there a report showing the average attendance for each group for a period of time? It is helpful to have that information when ordering materials.  Thanks!

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  • Hey @cathy!

    Great question! One way is to download the attendance to excel and get the average from within excel.

    Another way to see the average, is to click on each groups attendance and in the overview section you will see how many people attended and right below that a section that says: "Attendance is up by..."

    I have made a quick video showing you were the average pops up at: https://cl.ly/2990b51ba973

    Some topics can get a bit detailed here, so if you need any additional support in finding these numbers please don't hesitate to reach out either by phone or email. We are here to serve!

    Blessings! 

     

     

     

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  • Thank you!! I've looked at that page so many times but have never seen the average "pop-up". Very helpful.

    -Cathy

     

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  • Hi, does setting up the Small Group Leaders Role like this allow any small group leader to have access to "all" Groups? I'm not seeing a way to individualize each small group leader to only have access to their group and do check-in for just their group. Obviously when they click on their group event, only theirs will show, but if they wanted to click on a different group, they would then have access to other groups check-ins as well, right? Unless I created a "role" for every individual group leader?

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  • Heya guys! One frustration that I've had for a while is when a user, that can only view specific tag/s, forgets to tag a new Person record.

    This is privacy reasons... so, for example, a 'Prison Ministry' or 'General Volunteer' etc can't view 'Sunday School' student details, and vice-versa.

    I have some smart tags, but if the batch takes up to an hour to run, or the required fields are missed and unfortunately the result is usually a person being added multiple times before they remember to assign a tag.

    Is there a work-around such as 'assign default tag' at the user level

    i.e. a volunteer of "Prison Ministry", when adding a new person, is automatically tagged as "Prison Ministry". Would be a huuuuuuge relief if there's something here like this! 

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  • @admin

    Great question here! Unfortunately, this functionality does not currently exist within breeze. However, it would make a great feature request! We sincerely appreciate your feedback here apologize for any inconvenience that you're being caused. Feel free to submit a feature request here: Submitting Feature Requests

     

    Cheers! 

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  • Currently, we are using the "Forms" tab to create our Small Group Directory and then placing this form on our website.  Is there a better way to create a Small Group Directory than creating an actual form?

    Thanks,

    Carlie

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  • @carlie

    You could certainly use the Form to gather information that would help you more easily find the Small Groups you are looking for. For example, if you had your small groups listed as a Profile Field in your profiles and you also had those same fields in your Form, then you could push that information gathered on the Form right over to the profile! This would be an easy way to find out who belongs to what group! See here: Connecting a Form With a Person

    Cheers!

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  • Hello, We have about 14 Community Groups that meet the first and third Sundays. Is it better to create a folder with all the CGs listed (for attendance purposes) or should I list them on the calendar separately? I am the one that takes attendance so it is mostly for me. Also, should this be on a CG calendar or should I keep it on the main one? Thoughts?

    Sharon

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  • @office

    I would suggest creating your 14 CG's as Tags, then creating a singular event on Sunday and a singular event on Wednesday that has eligibility set to all of your CG's. 
    Feel free to create a CG Calendar for these events! It certainly wouldn't hurt. 

    Cheers!

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