This article will outline various recommendations on setting up and launching Check-In to your congregation. The Check-In system:
- Tracks real-time event attendance
- Promotes security via unique security codes generated by the system
- Easily and quickly search for an individual or family, check them in, and print out name tags and parent pick-up tags
- Most churches will use Check-In for their children’s ministry, but you can use it in any ministry context where attendance needs to be collected
Remember - Self-Checkin stations are a feature of the deluxe version only
Consider before you begin
As you begin setting up Check-In, this step-by-step guide will help you answer the following questions before you launch.
- Will we use Self or Manned Check-In stations? And how many of each station should we use?
- Should we create a separate Saved Setups for our volunteers? Or do we need them to check-in at all?
- Will we use text message paging?
- Should we issue families a barcode?
- Do we need to have a custom background image?
- Will we Check Out our children (a deluxe only feature)?
- In case of power or internet connectivity loss, do we have a Check-In Backup Plan?
Before you begin, consider the following features available to you when setting up a kiosk:
|Feature||Check-In iPad App||Check-In on iPad browser||Check-In on Computer/Tablet|
|Printer Type||Bluetooth Only||USB only on host computer||USB only|
|Use of Saved Check-In Setups|
|Use of Manual Set Up|
|Barcode Scanning Option|
If you have the deluxe version of the software, consider the features of a Manned versus a Self-Checkin station (Self-Checkin is only available in the Deluxe version):
|Feature||Manned Check-In Station||Self-Checkin Station|
|Edit Family Information|
|Select Mobile Phone for Text Message Paging|
|Page someone with a Text Message|
|Check-Out a Child|
|Find Person By Name|
|Find Person By Phone #|
|Find Person By Barcode|
Step 1: Setting up Hardware
There are two stages you need to invest time into when setting up your hardware:
First, you need to determine what hardware you need. The article below details how to decide on computers, tablets, printers, and/or bar-code scanners you want to use in Check-In.
Second, if you decide to use a label printer, the article below details the steps you need to setup that printer.
Step 2: Setting Up Check-In
This article gives you the details of setting up Groups and Events within Church Community Builder in order to run the check-in system.
NOTE - This step can be completed before you have your check-in hardware so feel free to get started on these items as soon as you can.
Step 3: Setting up a Check-In Station
After you have setup your groups and events above, make sure you know:
- How to setup a check-in station with all of its settings
- Understand the difference between a manned station and a self-checkin station
- If you have the Deluxe version, know how to use Saved Setup
Step 4: Running a Check-In Station
There are two types of stations that you can have for Check-In:
- Manned Station - A volunteer or staff person is needed to run this station and they can edit family information or add new families
- Self-Checkin Station (Deluxe Only) - No volunteer or staff person is needed so any parent can check their child in at these stations
Use this article to learn how to use the above two types of stations and even use this article to help your volunteers learn how to operate a manned station.
Step 5: Using Check-In to Add/Edit Families
This article is about how to add or edit families to the Check-In system. We will also explore using the Family message feature and address some of the most commonly asked questions when checking in a family.
Step 6: Launching Check-In
Before launching Check-In, communicate to appropriate staff, volunteers, and church families the date you will begin using the Check-In system. Keeping your congregation informed about the changes that are coming and what to expect will help the new processes run smoothly.
Below is a sample launch timeline and suggested communication process before launching:
Use this article as a step-by-step guide to walk through setting up your hardware and Check-In stations
Make use of our videos on how to Use a Check-In Station if needed.
In order to make Check-In go smoothly:
- Make sure each family has a phone number listed and all family members are in the family
- Make sure each family member is in their appropriate group. REMEMBER - If a person is in more than one group, there will be no default group to check into and a parent or volunteer will always need to select which group they are attending
- Having correct birthdays will also help in deciding which room a child should check into
We recommend launching Check-In during a midweek service if you have one, or in some other instance with a smaller group so your team can become familiar with Check-In and have a chance to troubleshoot in a smaller, less hectic situation.
- You will want to announce the new system and process changes to your congregation
- You can also explain the purpose of Manned Check-In stations (for visitors and those who are not yet in the software) versus Self Check-In stations (where family members can check children in themselves)
- If using touch screens, explain how easy it will be for them to enter their seven- or ten-digit phone number to check in their children
- Using barcodes instead? Then, describe how they can obtain or use an existing barcode for faster and more efficient check-in. You can have families use a barcode you’ve purchased and assigned, or they can use one they may already have, such as a grocery or gym membership card barcode. Each person in a family can have their own barcode, but each barcode will locate the entire family
- If you will be using text message paging, explain that if mobile numbers and carriers are provided, you will send a text message to a parent's mobile phone in the event you need to contact them. Be sure to remind them to set their phones to ‘vibrate only’ during services!
- For churches using restaurant-style pagers, you can let families know this feature is still available as well
Tip: Encourage families to arrive a little earlier the first time they check in, because it may take a few minutes to enter or update their family information to check them in easily in the future.
- Ensure profile data is accurate (particularly first name, last name, and contact phone number).
- Use Check-in to identify and follow up with first time visitors. To do this, create a membership type named something like Check-In Guest and set it as the default membership type for new profiles created within Check-In. Create a saved people search to find all profiles with that membership type and add them to your visitor followup Process Queues.
- Show appreciation to first-time guests by dedicating Check-In stations just for them. It is always nice to provide a guest bag for families that includes a brochure for your Children’s Ministry and an age-appropriate toy for children when possible. If you have the staff or volunteers available, designate someone who is very hospitable to walk new guests to their children’s classes as they find out more about the family. Once they have arrived at the class, have your staff or volunteer introduce the family to the volunteer teacher or team member.
iPad App versus iPad as a Tablet
With our iPad App, there are two different ways to use an iPad for Check-In. Use the articles below to decide how you would use the iPad and get details on how to set it up.
First, you can use your iPad like any other tablet and access its Web Browser to run Check-In. Read below for details on how to set this up.
BE AWARE - Presto Software with a host computer (Windows PC or MacOs X) is required for printing from an iPad in this version. Please note if you are using the legacy version of Presto it will only work on Windows and not macOS X.
Second, if you have the Deluxe version of the software, you can use the iPad App to print labels.
BE AWARE - The app is currently only available in the US iTunes store and can only be used as a self-checkin station.
Check-In Backup Plan
The power is out! The internet is down! What now? Make sure you have a back up plan in place for these events. Read the article for details.
Learn the Hardware Recommendations & Requirements