Plan Your VBS

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Open Registration

First, set up online registrations for attendees and volunteers using a Detailed Signup. When you create the signup, you will be prompted to set the name and the first date/time of the event.

Create Selections

Add the selections based on pricing or how you plan to group kids during the event, such as teams or classes organized by age or grade group. You can also add a selection for volunteers.

When creating your selections, choose which fields of important personal information you want to collect about the attendees using each selection. This information will update their People profile.

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Add Dates/Times

From the About tab in the Configuration tab, add times for your entire schedule for the week of VBS. These times will show up on the event itself.

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Set Up Assignments

If you typically break people into teams at VBS, you can set up assignments with filters.

Tip

To assign people based on the filters set up for each assignment area, go to the Unassigned tab and click Auto Assign.

Finish setting up your event and open it for people to register!

Share the Signup

Once the signup is created, you want people to be able to register. From the Registrations event, click View on Church Center and copy the URL to share it with people.

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Notice

Sample Event

To see how we set up our VBS, go to the event and register yourself!

Email Parents

Create a list of parents in your database and send them the event.

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  1. Enter your rules based on the kids you want to invite to register for this event.

  2. Select household adults of matches, so your list results contain parents of the kids your rules search for. They're the ones you want to email, after all.

  3. If you know some kids don't have parents in their household or have become inactive, check these boxes to include those people as well.

Once you create the list, send them a Church Center announcement or a styled email with MailChimp to track who has opened and seen the message.

Tip

Don't forget to email people who volunteered or attended last year!

Schedule Volunteers

Communicating with volunteers is vital in making VBS a great week for kids. Schedule all your volunteers in Services so they know each day's schedule and where they're supposed to be.

Create Plans and Teams

Create a new Service Type for your VBS, setting the frequency to Daily, and add each day as a separate plan.

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When you create the first plan, use these tips to easily schedule people to the plan once they've registered.

Once your plan is in place, create a Secure Team, and add positions to the team.

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Automatically Add Attendees to Positions

Once your team and positions are set up in Services, you can automatically add people to those positions as they register.

  1. Create lists in People for each assignment area from your Registrations event.

  2. Use automations to add registered attendees to their position in Services.

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When people register, they will be added to the correct list the following morning, and the automation will add them to the appropriate team.

Schedule People to Plans

Use needed positions to define how many people you want to be in each position. When you're ready to schedule, load all your plans into the matrix and select auto-schedule to add people into positions on the plans.

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Once people are in their positions, click email these people, customize your message, and send an email to all your volunteers. The email from the Matrix will show all the dates and times, so let them know they can use the buttons in the email to:

  • Confirm for all dates.

  • Decline for a day they won't be there.

  • View the schedule.

  • Respond to the email with any questions they have for you.

Check In Kids and Volunteers

It's time to greet all those people with smiling faces! Create a Check-Ins event from your signup to automatically check kids and volunteers into the correct location based on their assignment, print custom labels, check in via QR code, and scan to check out.  

From the Registrations page on your signup, select Set up Check-Ins for this signup from the Attendance dropdown.

Notice

You must have editor permissions in Check-Ins to set up this integration. 

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Select the event option under Link attendees and assignments. This ensures attendees see the correct location when they check in based on what you assigned them in Registrations!

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Update Check-Ins Event Settings

Set up check-in times, event frequency, labels, and other details by updating the settings for your integrated event. 

On the Events page in Check-Ins, select your VBS event listed with the Registrations logo next to the title. 

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On the Settings tab, select the Daily / VBS frequency and add the event dates. 

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From the Times tab, create a check-in and check-out window by determining when the event will be accessible from the station. Update the Show at time to the earliest you want check-ins to begin, then set the Hide at time after check-outs. 

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Assignment types and areas are synced with your Check-Ins event and displayed as folders and locations. Any age/grade options or capacity settings you added to each area carry over as uneditable location filters. 

Important

You must update the volunteer settings and labels for each location!

There are unique field options exclusive to creating custom labels for integrated VBS events.

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  1. Displays any add-ons selected during registration.

  2. Shows the person's selection type.

  3. Adds the event logo.

  4. Includes the name and phone number of the checked-in by person.

Use Stations for Attendance and Security

VBS brings in a mix of attendees, including those who have registered, those who haven't, and those who are attending for the first time! Everyone needs to be accounted for, from when they walk in the door to pick-up time, and security is non-negotiable. Manned and roster stations, medical notes, emergency texting, and trusted people are all available tools to boost the confidence of your volunteers and parents. 

Here are some best practices for during the event:

  • Have unregistered guests register before checking in so you can obtain the information you need to assign them to a location and reach anyone in an emergency. 

    Tip

    Print and post the shareable QR code at the bottom of your signup page in Church Center to allow new attendees to register using their phones!

  • Use manned stations as your primary method of checking in. Volunteers can greet and connect with each family, update any missing information, or make last-minute assignment adjustments. 

  • If you want to confirm that children who checked in made it to their classroom, set up a roster station on your classroom leaders' phones. They can access the information they need (only within the Show/Hide times you set up), text household adults when necessary, and see the medical notes and security codes of the kids in their care.

  • Show the event in Church Center if you want parents to pre-check their children in before arriving at the church! At the manned station, they can scan a QR code and have labels printed immediately. 

  • Check out kids from the classroom or manned stations where volunteers can verify the adults allowed and not allowed for pickup

Follow Up

Once VBS is over, remember to follow up with people who attended! Try these options:

Since there are never any contracts for using Planning Center products, you can downgrade the subscription of any product you were using if you no longer need it. All the information will stay in the product in case you need it in the future as long as you're still subscribed!

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