communications

Ensure Your Website is Successful By Doing This (Part 2)…

planning-200In last week’s post, I talked about the importance of planning and gave some examples that some churches consider plans, yet are not plans but are goals.

As promised in that post, today I am going to provide an example of poorly written plan and a well written plan based on the goal of having 50% of VBS registration performed online.

First, let’s start with the poorly written plan:

Goal: Have 50% of VBS registration performed online.

  • Questions for which we need answers:
    • Can we integrate online registration into the website?
    • If not, research three 3rd party service options?
  • Meeting to discuss how will we promote online registration
  • Meeting to make decision on which online registration solution will be used
  • Create registration form on paper
  • Create registration online registration form (use paper form as template)
  • Create text and graphic for promotional materials and verbal announcement
  • Meeting to evaluate effectiveness (ie: Progress report)
  • Meeting to evaluate effectiveness (after VBS is done)

What is wrong with the above plan?

For starters, it is not very detailed.  It also, doesn’t include dates as to when each step should be completed.  Lastly, it doesn’t assign each task to anyone.  With all of these deficiencies, this will most likely mean that this will not be implemented well.

Now, let’s look at a plan that does include all of these items that the first plan did not.  I am not saying I am a master planner, so if you see anything missing in this second plan, please share your thoughts:

  • Goal: Have 50% of VBS registration performed online.
  • VBS dates 6/22 – 6/26
  • Purpose: This will save time for staff (don’t need to enter info from hand written forms into a database), eliminate the possibility of lost forms, familiarize parents with using the church website.
  • Performed by Web Team (Michael, Angela, & Antonio), Children’s Pastor, and Pastor (or Executive Pastor)
  • Dates listed are when information is due except for italicized dates are dates of actual meetings.
  • Questions for which we need answers:
    • 3/10 Can we integrate online registration into the website? If so, get the following information (Michael)
      • Ease of use
      • Cost of integration
      • Cost per month
      • Cost per transaction
      • How does it integrate?
      • How do we receive notification when someone registers?
      • How can you access registration information?
      • Does their system compile all registrations information? If so, how?
    • 3/7 If we cannot integrate online registration into the website, research three 3rd party service options?       (Angela)
      • Ease of use
      • Cost of integration
      • Cost per month
      • Cost per transaction
      • How does it integrate?
      • How do we receive notification when someone registers?
      • How can you access registration information?
      • Does their system compile all registrations information?  If so, how?
    • 3/14 Meeting to discuss how will we promote online registration? (Antonio, Children’s Pastor, and Pastor)
      • Examples of this may be: Bulletin, Banner on website homepage, Announcements (church and Sunday School), Facebook page, Twitter
      • Offer free VBS t-shirt with online registration ($10 value!)
      • Dates/date ranges that these will be done
  • 4/1 Meeting to make decision on which online registration solution will be used (Web team, Children’s Pastor and Pastor).
  • 4/7 Create registration form on paper (Angela)
  • 4/10 Create registration online registration form (use paper form as template) (Michael)
  • 4/17 Create text and graphic for promotional materials and verbal announcement (Antonio)
    • Bulletin
    • Banner on website homepage
    • Announcements (church and Sunday School)
    • Facebook page
    • Twitter
  • 5/7 Meeting to evaluate effectiveness (ie: Progress report) [Web team, Children’s Pastor, and Pastor]
    • Web team will come prepared with number of online registrations.
    • Children’s pastor will come with a list of total VBS registrations.
    • Are we on track to reach goal?
      • If not, what needs to be done (increase promotional efforts, etc)
    • Discuss any issues reported by users or staff that have not already been corrected
  • 7/1 Meeting to evaluate effectiveness (Web team, Children’s Pastor, and Pastor)
    • Web team will come prepared with number of online registrations.
    • Children’s pastor will come with a list of total VBS registrations.
    • Will evaluate whether goal was met or not.
    • Discuss any issues reported by users or staff
    • Discuss how can do things more effectively next year or if it is worth doing next year.

What are your thoughts? 

What do you think should be different in plan #2?  Please post your comments and thoughts below.  Also, if you want to use the second plan as a template for something your church is planning, please do!

About the author

Mark Steinbrueck

Mark Steinbrueck is President and Co-founder of OurChurch.Com. He is a member of Generations Christian Church, a husband and father of 3. He is a huge Cardinals baseball fan and bleeds Garnet and Gold. Find on Google+.

1 Comment

  • This is a pretty detailed plan! Depending on the system being used it may be overkill to try and plan out forms on paper. If something like formstack or another tool is used, it doesn't take a lot of effort to prototype a form on that service, get feedback and quickly modify. Won't hurt to do it on paper first, and some systems it could save you tons of time to nail that down up front, but sometimes things on paper can be laid out one way and the web forms can be done differently that may not be obvious to someone just wanting to collect the data.

    The other big thing I think is missing is the backend database. These registrations, I would expect, would want to be stored in a system that you could easily run reports from. Depending on how you run your VBS, you may even want to enter the data from the paper forms that people manually fill out (that didn't register online) and enter their data online (possibly marking some field stating, this was a manual entry by the team so it doesn't get counted as an online registration). The main purpose in getting all the kids in the same system, is that now you could have attendance reports for each room that could be printed each day as new kids are registered. Of course a lot of this depends on the actual logistics of your VBS (like enough time to quickly enter new kids on days 2-5) and get fresh attendance reports printed and given to the teachers before they finish singing the opening songs for example.) Anyway, just some thoughts as I've enjoyed creating registration systems for some VBS's in the past.

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