I was just made an Administrator—now what?

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With great power comes great responsibility! Take a little time to get familiar with things now; it will save you and your volunteers time in the future.

This guide provides an overview of the main concepts to help you have a better understanding of what you are doing when you actually start setting things up.

Understand the Basics

Take a look the Getting Started section in our documentation. Even though you aren't setting up right now, you'll see a great overview of the components you'll be working with such as:

  • Setting up services with times and dates
  • Setting up your teams
  • Working with songs
  • Adding items, songs and media to your plan

Learn About Your Teams

The most important button you should get familiar with is your Team Settings. You'll use this regularly. It's the gear next to Teams in the sidebar of any plan.

There are three special types of teams that you can set up from the Team Settings tab.

1. Secure Teams

Create a Secure Team if you will require team members to pass a background check. Children's ministry teams are often secure teams.

2. Split Teams

If your Service has multiple times, like an early service and late service, you may choose to have your volunteers serve at one time but not another. Split Teams helps you do this easily.

If you want to make teams that already been created into a Split Team, can merge the teams from Team Settings.

3. Tag Teams

Tag Teams allow you to assign a person to many positions at once. You assign a person to a tag, and they are assigned to all positions linked to that tag. This makes Tag Teams the best way to share a person, position, or team to many places. Tag teams are helpful in the following cases:

  • A team that serves in multiple different services, like a choir that sings in the Contemporary Service and the Wednesday Night Service. This is different from Split Teams, where teams serve at different times in the same service.
  • Positions within the team that use the same people, like in an ushers team that has separate positions for Door 1, Door 2, Door 3, that all pull from the exact same group of people.

Tag Teams were originally the only type of team. When we realized there was an easier way for most teams, we changed that behavior, but many team leaders never made the transition. If your team doesn't meet the criteria above, uncheck the Tag Team box in the Team Settings to convert your team back to a regular team.

Team Leader

You can set up a different Team Leader for each team if that's how your process works. Team Leaders can handle scheduling, reminders, and replies for their specific team.

Replies

When your volunteers accept or decline, an email is sent to whoever scheduled the team. You can customize this if you'd like someone different to get those. For current schedulers, you can also specify which emails this person gets.

This setting will also control the name on the reminders so that your volunteers have a seamless experience.

Scheduling Tips

See the following sections for more information on tips to make scheduling easier:

  • You can use templates to help you set up reusable orders of service, teams and positions that you can customize for each individual plan.
  • The Matrix helps you schedule more than one week at a time.
  • Prepared Notifications help you to set up a temporary schedule before your team members can see it.
  • You can also set up reminder emails to automatically remind people of their assignments.

Templates

Start scheduling your services by creating a good plan template. Include placeholders for items to be added later (songs, prayers, communion, etc.).

Scheduling templates are great time savers if you have a regular rotation like a 1st Week team and a 2nd Week team. You can add people who serve regularly or leave needed positions open

When scheduling, you can import each team template to the correct week with one click! 

Matrix

If you prepare your schedule for multiple weeks at a time, the Matrix can be a great way to do this. It allows you to see several weeks at a glance and send only one email to each person with a list of all their scheduled dates (rather than one email for each plan).

 

If you don't have specific rotating teams, and your volunteers can serve anytime, use Auto-schedule.

Prepared Notifications

If you have Prepared Notifications enabled, you can work on your schedule without your team members seeing their assignments until a scheduling email is sent out. You can see who has prepared notifications enabled by looking for the email icon next to their names.

Reminders

Reminder emails can be super helpful to your team, particularly if you schedule several weeks in advance. Set them up once and let them go out automatically!

Make Friends with the Help Center

This little guide is just the tip of the iceberg on how Planning Center can make your life easier! There is a ? in the upper right of every page—if you ever get stuck, click it! 

You'll see suggested articles based on what you viewing, and if they aren't what you need, type in your question, and we'll give you more suggestions.

Still need help? Click the Open a ticket button and let us know what you are looking for. We typically respond in under an hour during normal business hours. We are here to help!

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