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Considerations for Rolling Out Check-In

Type: FT Solution
By: Christie Fitzgerald on 5.06.11 in Activity Management
Keywords: Attendance, Check-in, Event Management

When rolling out Fellowship One Check-in, one of the most common things to consider is the Check-in station. More specifically… where, how many, who will be manning them, etc. This best practice article will address these issues.


A couple of things to think about with the location of the Check-In stations:

  1. How many doors lead to the children’s area? It might be necessary to place Check-In stations at both entrances into the children’s area. As well, you might need to control the traffic flow into the children’s area.
  2. Traffic Flow of parents and Children? Make sure to look at the traffic flow to see where the people are going to be coming into the children’s area from the parking lot. You should be asking yourself, “If I only have an infant or preschooler or elementary aged child, where would I park?” People are creatures of habit and they will park near where they drop-off and pick-up their kids.
    It’s recommend to not have a lone single check-in station. This is especially true when first starting out with check-in… it’s best to have pairs of check-in stations. That way the line will go quicker and you have the buddy system. You can pair two volunteers up together - one experienced and one that might be fairly new. This also helps if there is a problem or question, one of the check-in volunteers can go and get help while the other is still working the line.

If your church has a visitor center, then yes I place a check in station there. As well, if you don’t have a visitor center, it’s highly recommend that there be 2 things

  1. a place to fill out the children’s guest card and
  2. a separate kiosk or two for the visitors.

This usually poses more of a problem for churches that have older buildings. The older the church, the more of a challenge it is for multiple kiosks. Sometimes you might have to pull the check-in stations a little bit further away from the area you’d like it because of space limitations. Be open to this, but make sure that you have adequate signage to show where Check-In is located.

It’s really important for churches not to man the check-in stations with staff, directors, teachers, or existing children’s volunteers unless they’ve already been doing check-in (the old way) previously. A Check-In volunteer is a new position and can be served by people that didn’t have a place to serve already in the church. College-aged students usually work well at this position since working with a touch screen monitor and a computer is nothing new to them.

Mobile Kiosks vs. Stationary Check-In Stations
Mobile Check-In kiosks are great for flexibility purposes. However, there are places where a stationary Check-In station makes sense.

Power and Network Needs
Locations are sometimes limited by the ability to get power and/or network connectivity to that area. It is highly recommended to use hard-wired network connectivity. As a last resort, you can utilize wireless networking; however, it’s not fully supported by Fellowship Technologies. For additional information on wireless connectivity, check out one of our Fellowship One customer’s comments:
Jason Powell does a great job documenting their wireless setup and wireless challenges. He has documented it since July 2006 with a recent update on 7/17/2007. Even though Jason has wireless networking functional, you may want to look at his comments concerning the challenges.

Look at the attendance for the highest attended service and think about the traffic flow and which Check-In stations would be serving that traffic flow. An average of 100 individuals can check-in within 15 minutes per kiosk. Of course, this is dependent on how long the family stands in front of the kiosk and goes to the service and/or activity. So, on the conservative side, it’s not best to keep the 100 number as a hard rule. So, based on traffic flow and attendance, determine the number of Check-In stations required to check everyone in a satisfactory time.

Number of Stations
Additionally, if you decide 4 Check-In Stations will be perfect, you should go with the number of 5 or N+1 and in some cases N+2. It’s recommended to this especially when you will be using Check-In in the near future for Adult classes and activities. This will ensure the best experience for members and attendees when checking their children for the very first time. When doing anything new for the very first time, it will take a little longer until everyone is up to speed. For example, check-in volunteers have had the training, but this the first time using it and some could be a bit hesitant at each of the screens until they get used to it. Also, parents will have to figure out those infamous last 4 digits of their home phone numbers. This N+1 or N+2 concept then allows you to move the extra check-in station(s) to the adult activity locations when things level out at the children’s areas.

Christie Fitzgerald
F1 Staff
95 posts

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