VBS Tools to Jump-Start Next Year's Ministries

And Connect with Members on the Web!

From developing (or learning) curriculum to organizing volunteers to spreading the word to church members, putting on a fantastic, fun, and Christ-centered summer program can be quite the task for church staff! So how do you leverage all the work you’ll put into VBS to pay off during the rest of the year?

Why not use VBS to learn and test out some of your current CMS or ConnectNow tools? Software like CMS Membership, Attendance, and Online Giving or the web-based ConnectNow Family Suite can help you streamline processes during the VBS season and develop workflows to help keep track of the new connections (both volunteers and participants) who join your team or church community for the summer program.


Online Registration

If you haven’t already, get comfortable with an online form builder, like Wufoo. Taking registrations online will make it easy on registrants while saving your staff time by giving you live and up-to-date reporting on who has registered. If you haven't offered members online registration before, now is the time to take a look at Wufoo and see just how easy it is to optimize this tool for your church.

If you use the ConnectNow Family Suite, you'll find online class registration built right into the Religious Education module, a program that you can retitle to match exactly what you call your church's faith formation program. ConnectNow lets you offer families the convenience of online registration without having to design separate registration forms. If you're new to ConnectNow's online registration, now’s the time to learn how this tool can be optimized at your church. Learn more on parishsoft.com/religiouseducation, see a video demonstration (starting at about 1:30) in What's New in ConnectNow Version 4.2.6, or sign up for virtual classroom training course CN-RE21.


Impress Participants with Custom Forms

If you're using a form that you build yourself, a well crafted (and placed) form, will make the registration process convenient and easy for participants. Here are just a few tips to doing it right:


Impress with ConnectNow: Where Members Get More Ways to Engage

If you're using ConnectNow Family Suite, members and guests will log in to the secure My Own Church portal, which already has the basic family and member information they've provided to your church. From here, they can register children or adult volunteers in the VBS classes you make available to them, and they'll appreciate not having to fill out their full name, address, phone number, email, and details for each child.

As parents register their children for VBS, they'll want to make sure you have their correct cell phone and email addresses before they leave their children in your care. If anything has changed or if information is missing, they can update it on the spot, and the change will flow directly into their permanent record in your ConnectNow database once your administrator approves it. In this way, My Own Church supports better data quality for your entire church.


Wow Them with Your Marketing Superpowers

Once your online registration is ready, you'll want to make it easy for members (and guests) to find your VBS information and VBS registration links. Here are a few bases you'll want to cover:


Wow Your Staff

Would anybody in your office miss having to type in every registration? We're guessing they will quickly find their time can be better spent on other things. Both Wufoo and ConnectNow offer you a simple, efficient way to capture VBS registration on the web, without having to handle any paper forms. Chances are you'll still get some phone calls from people wanting to register for VBS — your staff can jump into either your Wufoo registration form or your ConnectNow Family Suite and key in those registrations while they're on the phone with the parent. We promise you won't miss the paper, but you'll enjoy the streamlined collection and management of all the pertinent details you need to run a terrific VBS. From parent information to the special learning or health needs of individual children to emergency contacts, every detail flows seamlessly from the fingertips of your participating families to you.

At the moment, Wufoo offers some advantages in terms of registration form flexibility. Wufoo lets you send automatic notifications to staff who want to see those registrations in their email inboxes. Whenever someone fills out and submits your form, Wufoo will send a notification to whomever you specify! You can also create a form report that can be viewed online, searched (very handy!) and exported to a spreadsheet at anytime. You can also set up automated confirmations to registrants with a copy of their form entry and any instructions or reminders that you have for them (online payment, start times, event location, etc.). This should greatly reduce calls from people wondering if the church has received their registration and will save staff the hassle of sending out individual confirmations.

Both Wufoo and ConnectNow provide you with the registration information you need to plan the proper spaces and activities for every age group. Your VBS can then be powered by the full set of tools available from your software. Attendance tracking, leaders, class rosters, and built-in tools to communicate with parents are all there to help you create a great VBS experience.


Manage Volunteers, Keep Everyone in the Loop

We hope VBS means an influx of new volunteers helping out at your church. While it’s easy to say “the more, the merrier,” sometimes a surge of eager helpers can be an organizational nightmare. Your CMS Membership software or ConnectNow Family Suite can help you stay on top of all the details and maintain order with accurate information on the VBS volunteers you recruit.

Good data makes easy work of all the little details. Once you get those volunteers into your software, use your system's tools and reports to group them into assigned roles or classes, track training or screening requirements, communicate with volunteers, and produce volunteer rosters and name tags. When they show up for your VBS planning meeting, you can hand out assignments and get right down to the business of planning the program content. Your efficiency and organization will be appreciated! And providing a great experience for VBS volunteers may open the doors to other ministry work and engagement with your church community after VBS ends.


Keep It Going Year-Round!

Families are accustomed to doing things on the web: schools, recreation programs, libraries, even child care centers all engage them with online resources. Your church can offer them the same web conveniences with ease and confidence!

Explore how easy it is to connect with members and guests using your system's many tools. CMS offers activities, classes, attendance, and event tracking in its Membership and Attendance programs, plus Online Giving. The web-based ConnectNow Family Suite offers an integrated system complete with the My Own Church member portal, full faith-based education program management with built-in online registration, volunteer and ministry scheduling, and Online Giving. No matter which system you're using today, these tools are sure to help make your VBS an administrative success, and once you’ve mastered them, they can also come in handy during the next year of ministry. Imagine online signups for adult Bible study, pre-K through 12 programs, regular contributions, and all of your church's many ministry volunteer opportunities available to your members on the web! It's all here for you today!

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