When it comes to Vacation Bible School, there’s usually both excitement and anxiety when you think about all that has to be done. As one of the largest outreach events at your church, planning for VBS can be overwhelming. However, utilizing a church management system for Vacation Bible School can help to make your life easier! Planning a fun and organized VBS is no easy task, but there are tools at your disposal that can help to keep you organized and efficient. In the past, you may have done everything with pen and paper which does have benefits at times, but can also be slow, require double entry, and cause disorganization. If you’re thinking that there has to be a better way, there is! Take a look at these five comprehensive ways that you can use a church management system for Vacation Bible School to create simplicity in your planning and execution. 1. Registration Registration and pre-registration are key components for any successful VBS. You need to know how many kids will attend, what ages they are, and how many volunteers you can count on. Not only that, but gathering the correct information can ensure that you have noted any allergies, emergency contacts, and addresses for follow-up purposes. Forms both enable follow-up and enhance security. Instead of showing up to the first day of VBS with your paper copies of registration forms, waivers, and information sheets, work to use your church management system for Vacation Bible School registration. Sign-Ups Inside of your Church Management System (ChMS) you can easily create a registration form that is used for sign-ups for both children and volunteers. All forms can be customized which means you can choose exactly what information you want and need to capture during registration. This may include: Child’s name and ageParent contact informationEmergency contact informationAllergiesPhone number, email address, and home address for follow-up Waivers and Medical Release Forms You can also choose to use your church management system for VBS waivers and medical release forms. Having these forms in a central location that you can easily locate during an emergency is crucial. It also protects your church against any potential incidents that may occur during VBS. The best part is that when you store these forms within your ChMS, they are easily accessible by your full staff even from their phones if they have the Ministry One app. Embed Forms on Your Church Website When it comes to forms, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find and complete them. One of the best possible ways to do this is to embed the forms onto your church website and direct people there. Forms that you choose to embed can include your registration form, waivers, medical release forms, as well as giving forms for people to donate directly to your VBS. Work to include these directly onto your church’s VBS page. Plus, when you integrate these forms with your ChMS, all of the data will be stored in a single location simplifying things on the backend. 2. Volunteer Recruitment and Management Another great way to use your church management system for Vacation Bible School is with volunteer recruitment and management. Your ChMS can serve as a home base for volunteers and staff alike so you can all stay on the same page. Plus, you can use the ChMS to send out emails to recruit volunteers, and even assign tasks. Here’s a little bit of a deeper look. Assign Tasks Delegation is crucial when it comes to pulling off a successful VBS. However, this can also be a pain if you are struggling with communication and organization. In comes your ChMS! Through your ChMS you can actually assign specific tasks to volunteers and they can even mark them complete when they’re done. This way you know exactly what has been done and what still needs to be completed. Integrated Calendar The right church management software provides an integrated calendar for you to use as well. The Shelby Next integrated calendar can even be synced to volunteers and staff members Apple or Google calendars too. Here, you can add training or meeting times, include reminders, and make sure that everyone is looking at the same VBS calendar. Not only that, but you can also manage facilities and equipment reservations, approval for events, separate group scheduling, and more for your VBS! Volunteer Forms As you plan your VBS, you may come across the need for specific volunteer forms. These forms may include supply lists, copy requests, lamination requests, and more. With your ChMS, you could make these forms electronically available to your volunteers. They could then fill them out online and you could easily see all requests in a data spreadsheet. 3. Streamlined Communication Using a church management system for VBS will help you to streamline communication. If you’ve struggled with how and when to reach out to volunteers and participants, a ChMS will feel like a lifesaver. Workflows Workflows within the ChMS are there to do the communication work for you. When you set up workflows within the church management system for Vacation Bible School, you could notify volunteers and parents based on what action they take. For example, if a parent registers their child for VBS, you could have a workflow setup that immediately sends them an email with information about what to do and bring on the first day. Parent Engagement Next, you can make sure that parent’s stay engaged by utilizing the mass communication tools within the church management system for Vacation Bible School. Each day you could email parents based on which class their child is in with what they did that day and how to talk about the lesson at home. Not only will this make parents feel connected, but it will reinforce the lessons the children learn at VBS. Volunteer Communication Also using the ChMS, you can send out reminders to volunteers via email, text message, or even voice mails. You could work to automate the ChMS to notify volunteers when a new child is added to their class and send them a reminder to reach out and welcome them. It’s also possible to send out mass texts letting volunteers know important information. The mass communication tools could also be used in an emergency situation to notify volunteers of lockdown, weather emergencies, or other incidents. Payment Reminders Finally, church management software is a great tool to use when sending out payment reminders. Using the workflow tool mentioned above, you could easily set it up to send payment reminders at set times once people register. Most church management systems integrate seamlessly with your online giving platform making this an easy task. 4. Child Check-In Out of all the benefits that your ChMS brings to VBS, child check-in may be the best in terms of organization. If you’ve ever witnessed the first morning of a Vacation Bible School, oftentimes it looks like mass chaos. Kids are running around excited, parents are trying to figure out what’s going on, and volunteers and working hard to make sure everything is set up and ready to go. While child check-ins won’t eliminate all the chaos, it can help. With child check-ins in place, parents can check their children in themselves at a kiosk, and immediately print tags for the children that include room number and even allergy information, and take kids directly to their classrooms. Mobile Check-In To take it a step further, Shelby Systems also offers a mobile check-in option. This means that using the app, parents can check their children into VBS even from the parking lot. This can be a lifesaver for the busy parent! Once they check in on the app, all they have to do is scan the confirmation code on their phone at a kiosk inside, grab the printed name tags and be on their way. Safety There’s no question that safety is a priority with any event involving children. Child check-ins through the ChMS are just one way you can ensure that the children at your church are safe. Check-ins help staff (and emergency personnel if needed) know who is there and where they are. For young children, you can also include information about allergies to make sure that they aren’t given anything that could cause a reaction. Finally, you can set your check-ins up so parents receive security receipts so no one is able to pick up a child without the matching receipt. 5. Utilize Reporting Tools The last reason that you need to use a church management system for VBS at your church is to utilize reporting tools. The reporting tools within the ChMS keep everything organized and easy to read. Data reports not only help your staff but help volunteers with classroom management and follow-up too. Attendance Did you know that with reports, ministry leaders can take attendance for their groups right from their phones? Imagine how easy this would be for your volunteers trying to make sure everyone is accounted for each morning of VBS. If you choose not to use phones, using the reporting tools within the ChMS, you could easily print out attendance sheets for each class daily. You then input this information for storage directly within the ChMS. Follow Up Lastly, with the reporting tools in the ChMS, it’s easy to pull reports of who to follow up with after VBS. Lists and groups can be easily filtered based on church guests, home location, or even children who made decisions to follow Jesus! When you pull these reports and send them to your follow-up volunteers, they will know exactly who to visit and why. Next Steps Hopefully, you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon and use your church management system for Vacation Bible School this year. If so, be sure to check out ShelbySystems. Shelby Systems was created for the church and is backed by a team who is ready and eager to help. Plus, they can help you to have the most effective VBS yet!