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
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.
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.
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.
Start scheduling your services by creating a good plan template. Include placeholders for items to be added later (songs, prayers, communion, etc.).
When scheduling, you can import each team template to the correct week with one click!
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.
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.
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!