We've had an exciting summer developing lots of new features and enhancing existing functionality in ChurchApp, so here's a run-down of new things for the Children module and Child Check-In system.
Perhaps the most significant addition is to child check-in. You can run "two-stage group registration and check-in" as an alternative to the "one-stage check-in" process. Any time there's a weekend service or event where children don't go straight to their groups at check-in, you can set the session to provide group pre-registration (which produces all the child and parent badges) and then check children into groups at the point when they're handed over to your leaders. You might use this if you have a central check-in area and the children are then taken to their groups, or if children begin the service with adults in the main service before going through to their groups later. As children then arrive at their group, just use "in-room" wireless check-in, perhaps using a leader's Smartphone or Tablet - all the badge printing has already been taken care of at registration!
This short video takes you through the main functionality of two-stage group registration and check-in.
Another helpful new feature is the ability to see your adult-to-child ratio information on the check-in Admin page. Simply set your adult-to-child ratio for each of your children groups in ChurchApp, then see a 'real time' visual progress indicator as children and team check in for the session. Capacity increases as adult team members check in, while capacity decreases as children check in. The progress indicator gives you a visual prompt of where you might need additional team members - the progress bar turns orange as you near or reach the group's ratio capacity, and turns red when it's over capacity.
We've made adding in multiple visiting children much simpler by auto-suggesting parent contact details, saving precious minutes at the busiest time of the morning. In the example below, Polly Anna was added as a visitor first, so now, when her parent adds her siblings, the parent contact details are pre-populated; only the child details need adding - much quicker!
...And the really fun stuff happens when parents who've previously checked in a visitor check in further children under their own name...
As well as customising the contact information you gather about children visitors and their parents when they're checked in, you can now edit visitor details in ChurchApp from the Visitors report, perfect for correcting a spelling mistake, or adding in additional medical information or allergies.
Next, we've made it much easier to communicate with visiting familes from the Visitors report in the Children module. Now you can reach out to visitors and begin to engage with them through your communications, perhaps to invite them to an upcoming event, or to ask permission to add their details to your database so that they don't need to check in as visitors in the future.
The Children module reports has a new attendance report called "Sessions". This report is helpful for comparing and contrasting your different check-in sessions over time, perhaps to compare your 9:30am service with your 11:15am service - ideal for identifying areas of growth or where additional team may need to be deployed.
The child contact profile page now includes a helpful "Recent attendance" section, giving you a quick snapshot of a child's attendance to groups, or you can even drill down into a child's entire attendance history, if you wish.
Smart Tags in the Children module have some handy new conditions for "In Group", "Date Added" and "In Key Date Range", giving you even more powerful reporting potential - so a simple Smart Tag can show you a list of all new children in the last 6 months who are assigned to a particular group, or who have (or don't have) a certain Key Date within a range of dates. Are you using Smart Tags to ask questions of your data? When it comes to ministry planning and targetted communications, Smart Tags are a great way to get the answers you need and to make sure the right people are contacted.
A recent addition to the Notes functionality throughout ChurchApp, which you may have missed, is Pinned Notes. Pinning a Note will always place that note at the top of the list, no matter how many other notes are subsequently added. So that all-important child protection note can now be pinned to the top of the list, and your Children module users will always be sure to see it when viewing a child's profile page.
To explain the intended functionality and help you get the most from these new features, we've created support article to accompany them - just search by keyword or topic in the Ask a Question beacon in ChurchApp.
We've still got lots more planned for the rest of the year - watch this space! In the meantime, if you have any feedback or suggestions for us, please don't hesitate to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.
Paul Nation, ChurchApp