The Benefits of Electronic Children’s Check-In vs. Using Pen & Paper
Making the decision to move away from using pen and paper to an electronic solution for your children’s ministry check-in may seem daunting, due to all the details that must be considered. On one hand, pen and paper is low cost, simple, and can be used anywhere, at any time – we get it. We also understand there are lots of things to do when managing a children’s ministry, as well as budget considerations, and sometimes implementing a secure process for checking children in and out, just doesn’t make the top of the to-do list – these are all perfectly understandable concerns.
However, in today’s world, a transition away from pen and paper can help balance the immense work load of children’s ministry directors, create a positive perception for first time visitors, and improve child safety. All good things, plus there’s more…
If you’re considering the move, listed below are a couple of points to ponder when considering an electronic children’s check-in system.
When parents drop their kids off at Sunday school, they are not only entrusting the spiritual well-being of their children to individuals they may or may not know, but also their safety and security. This is an important topic especially with families who are raising kids in volatile environments.
For long time attendees, or new and visiting families, having an electronic check-in process makes a definitive statement that child safety is a top priority. It also gives teachers and staff pertinent details on each child, information that they need to provide the highest level of care. Specific child details may include a recent separation or divorce of the parents, current restraining order, or life threatening allergy or medical need. Other information includes the date of the child’s birthday and current status as a new or returning visitor.
Also, using an electronic child check-in solution with an integrated background check system ensures that any individual coming into contact with children is not only qualified, but has undergone the highest level of screening. This of course assures parents that volunteers are safe, and also assists with church liability.
Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. The benefit of data is that more is often better than less. Having it empowers you to do what you need to do, reach others in a unique way, and better adjust to meet expectations of those that you serve.
Using a manual system like pen and paper makes capturing, storing, and reporting important data difficult and cumbersome – which can lead to less of an understanding of where your children’s ministry excels or has challenges; thus affecting support, budget, and overall relevance within the church.
Electronic systems include helpful additional reports such as custom reports that gather and extrapolate your unique ministry data, attendance tracking, volunteer information, birthdays or special events, email communication, and capabilities such as mail merge. With access to these types of reports, you can more effectively improve visitor follow up, save time, increase efficiency, and better understand the functioning of your ministry.
Positive First Impression:
As we’ve shared before in the post “The Power of the First Impression”, first impressions are important and difficult to overcome if they’re not positive. Most of us evaluate people, organizations and ministries by how they conduct themselves. This leads to both conscious and unconscious judgements about security, cleanliness, or professionalism based on what they see first.
By having a secure children’s check-in system you’re making a statement about your ministry’s commitment to being efficient, organized, safe, and focused on the children in your care.This makes a powerful first impression and creates a strong desire for new visitors to return.
When parents or guardians participate in their children’s activities, children simply do better. If parent engagement is a top priority for your children’s ministry, then the dynamic communication tools that are available with electronic children’s check-in software are very helpful.
Consistent communication between parents, volunteers, and staff can be difficult if the tasks have to been done manually. To better connect your children’s ministry with families, KidCheck includes the following features that complement the communication loop.
The first is Parent Check-In Notes. This is a special instruction feature that prints the parent entered notes directly on the badge. The Parent Check-In Notes is great tool for sharing birthday information, feeding schedule details, or medical & allergy alerts. Second, is the Check-In Announcement & Notification feature which allows ministry staff to share important information right on the check-in screen, in a prominent location either for all parents/guardians to see, or for certain individuals only. Lastly, the fastest and most private way to share critical or more immediate information is Individual Text Messaging or Broadcast Emails. These tools are a great way to inform parents of an immediate need or upcoming event.
The Final Advantages to Consider:
As you continue to consider the move from pen and paper to an electronic check-in solution, we hope these advantages will help in the process. If you’re still on the fence as to whether it’s right for your ministry, we encourage you to spend some time with us. We offer a free, live, online demonstration that provides more information on the benefits of moving in this direction. We also offer free training and support to make sure you get your check-in system up and running quickly.
For more information on improving child safety and the benefits and technology of using secure children’s check-in click here for a free eBook or visit us on the KidCheck blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest.