The administration of VBS can be a challenge. Who is coming? What allergies do they have? How many classrooms are we going to need? What if they bring a guest … and on and on it goes. But there are great tools out there to help you with your VBS event registration and check in processes.
Online Event Registration – so you know who’s coming.
Use Count Me In as your registration system. This will allow parents to pre-register their kids for VBS.
Set up the registration form within Count Me In to capture all the information you need such as name, age, emergency contact information, medical release information, allergies etc. Now you have it online and you won’t need to fumble through stacks of paper!
Collect any fees that will be charged for VBS or any extras such as T-shirts or lunches, through the registration process.
We started our Beta Test of Count Me In on March 1st and expect to go live the beginning of April. Count Me In is an easy and affordable online application that allows you to create custom event registration pages, accept payments and sync with Roll Call.
Easy Event Definition
It’s super easy to define your event in Count Me In. You simply give us the details… the name, date, location of the event. You can also create sub-events. Sub-events are perfect for those events where people are signing up for different sessions or shifts.
You’ll define the ticket – this could be free or paid. You can also define any add-ons, for example, CDs or Tshirts.
For each event, you decide if you need to capture individual registrations for each ticket. If you do, then we allow you to set what fields should be included on the registration form. We have a set of standard fields. But we allow you to create your own fields as well.
With the customize section in Count Me In, you can create beautiful event pages. We give you the flexibility to set background image or color, a header image or color and create the body of the web page.
Publish the Event
When you are pleased with the look of the web page and are ready to go live, you simply publish the event. We provide you with a URL that can be used from your website, email invitation or social media platforms.
To accept payments for events, you’ll need to create a Stripe account. It’s extremely easy to set up … it only takes a couple of minutes. Then you’ll enter your API keys from Stripe into Count Me In.
Sync with Roll Call
You’ll be able to easily pull in your event and attendee information into your Roll Call Database. Once you have the event sync’d you’ll be able to perform check in for that Event.
With so much data available in your church management software, how can you harness that to help manage church growth and engagement? From tracking visitor follow ups to understanding how folks are involved in your congregation to determining who might be falling through the cracks … your system can help.
So, the last several weeks we’ve walked through how to set up and run your child check-in stations for Vacation Bible School. With supposing you had a very successful week, it’s now time to follow up on all those visitors who attended!
How to find your visitors for follow up:
By using Roll Call as your child check in station, and by using the ADD VISITOR button to add new people to your database, Roll Call has been tracking their attendance and can give you a report of your first, second, third time (and so forth) visitors. To get this report:
1. Go to Attendance>Reports and click on VISITOR report. By default, on the right side under selected will be the association of visitor.
2. Keep the report at FIRST TIME VISITOR to find those visitors and make the appropriate week ending date selection. What this date means, is that it is looking back from the date you entered and finding any individuals who came for the first time since that date.
3. Press GENERATE.
Following up with a mailing:
1. From this FIRST TIME VISITOR REPORT you can select the WRITE LETTER on the left to write a personalized letter to each person in your list. When you select WRITE LETTER, you will have options on how to address your letter (to the entire family or the individual).
2. When you have your letter completed press PRINT MERGE to send your letters to the printer.
3. Next, you can also do this same query, press GENERATE and this time instead press the CREATE LABELS button. This will be mailing labels where you can use the Avery 5160/8160 style.
Following up with an email:
Or, if you’d rather save on stamps, email is a great and easy way to follow up with visitors. Before you begin, make sure you have your email set up in Roll Call (click here to learn how to do that), and also that each of your visitors has an email in their record. You will need to decide if you are going to send to the family email, personal email or both. To follow up with an email,
1. Do the same query as above, but this time, after you press GENERATE, select the EMAIL option. One option is to EMAIL the people in the list. Choose that one to begin writing up your email.
2. Press SEND when you’ve completed writing it up.
Following up with a text:
Roll Call has two ways to follow up with texts. One is through Roll Call, in which you must have email set up (for DIRECTOR) as well as a text carrier provider with each cell number you wish to send a text to. The other is through NEXMO, which is a text service that Roll Call works with that you can set up at a nominal cost. Click here to learn more about NEXMO. To send your texts, once you have one or the other set up…
1. You can go through the VISITOR report query (same as above), and click on GENERATE. Next, you will select the SAVE SET button on the right. Give the set a name and save it to your desktop.
2. Close this area of Roll Call, and go back to PEOPLE>SEARCH PROFILES. From here, go to the top of the page and select GET SET. Find the set of visitors that you saved. They will pull in when you select OPEN.
3. From here, select the TEXT icon in the upper left of the SEARCH PROFILES to begin writing up your text. Press OK to send.
Following up with a home or phone visit:
1. Print off visitation logs that can be filled out by going to People>Reports.
2. Select your criteria and generate your list of visitation logs.
3. If needed, go into their record and click on the web map on their record to check the address and location, if you plan on visiting in person.
4. When you are through with your home visits (or if you simply made a call), you can log this information quite simply in Roll Call. Go into People>Search Profiles. Click on VISITATION. Press the plus sign. Enter the information of who was visited, the caller, what type of visit and any details you wish to include in this visit. Press save and close.
5. To print a list of your visits, press the PRINT icon at the top of the VISITATION page. Or, if you want to see the details of what you included in your log, go to PEOPLE>REPORTS and select the VISITATION HISTORY REPORT. Select the criteria for your report and press GENERATE.
Now you can feel good about not only a successful week of VBS, but also your follow up with all the new visitors who attended!
In part one of this series we talked about the advantage of using barcode badges for VBS child check in. Now, we will move onto how to get your check-in stations ready for operation. The best place to start is in the Child Check In/Out Setup assistant.
The first step in getting your stations ready is to create a check in user. How you define that check in user will determine how your stations will work. Here are the steps for creating a check in user in Roll Call. These settings are the ones we recommend for VBS.
Click on Check-in/out on left side of page while logged in as director or administrator.
If you haven’t set up user security yet, you will be prompted to do that first by giving Director a password.
Click on the plus sign to set up your check-in user.
Next, select Checkin User (client) and give a username, such as ‘’registration’’ and password (if you wish)
Within your check in user you can select different options. For VBS stations using badges, choose:
Return by individual (each child will swipe their own badge to check in).
Rapid check in (this will immediately check them into class).
Vacation Bible School is such a huge and important ministry in many congregations. It’s one of those times during the year that many churches find themselves with many visitors, specifically children. There’s no better way to assure the parents of their children’s safety than using a check in system. Not only will Roll Call track the child’s attendance, allergies and custody issues you can also use it to follow up with your visitors.
In the next couple of weeks, we will show you a few different options for child check in for you to look into, as well as discuss how to keep in touch with those visitors through Roll Call.
Here’s a checklist of items that should be addressed by your ministry teams, so that Roll Call will run smoothly for your Easter services.
Will you be adding additional service times for Easter? If so, remember to add those as new sessions for all your groups that you check people into. Here’s how:
Go to Groups>Search on the left side menu
Double click on the specific group you need to change
Click on Sessions tab
Click the plus sign to add your new session(s)
Do you record worship service atttendance or perform check in for Services? If you are adding additional services for Holy Week, make sure to add those into Roll Call. Here’s how:
Go to Service>Add a Service
Give the service a name
Change the meeting day to reflect the correct day
Move the applicable associations to the SELECTED column.
Do you have enough of a Roll Call capacity license to handle your increase in visitors? You can double check by looking at your license under File>Enter License, then checking how many people you currently have in the database by going to People>Search Profiles. There is a number in the upper right that shows how many people are in your database (ie. 100/100)
Do you have enough label stock to accomodate all your visitors? You can order more here.
We are hearing from many churches looking for an alternative to Membership Plus for a variety of reasons: 1) It is no longer a supported application, 2) they don’t want web based software and the recurring fees and 3) they want a simple, easy to use church management software package.
Here are some ways you can benefit from hopping on board with us here at By the Book:
Great Customer Support
Our company has been around since 1992 and is currently operated by David and Kim Conley who have owned the business since 2004. They love their work, their staff and especially their customers! We have phenomenal tech support Monday thru Friday, and recently added Sunday support as well. Just check out our reviews here. We at By the Book are constantly in the process of improving and upgrading our software to give churches the best solutions for managing their congregations as well as advancing the Kingdom. Check out our list of features. We are always on the lookout for new features to our software and take requests from our customers. Who better to tell us what they need in church management software than those who use it? We promise to strive to meet those needs whenever possible. Here is a list of new features we are working toward for 2016 and beyond: Roll Call Accounting, increased flexibility and customization of reports, online directory, and Event Registration.
Verifying the identity of students and parents is a very important task that churches have to perform each week. Manual identification checks using registry books or even using member ID cards is fast becoming a thing of the past due to several reasons that include:
Data processing inefficiencies
Swapping, sharing, or stealing identification credentials
Lack of a concrete audit trail
For these reasons, biometric identification in the children’s department is fast becoming the go-to solution for churches.