User Guide: How to do Church during social distancing, keeping to the right attendance numbers easily and quickly using UCare

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UCare Events is the best way to solve the problem of doing church but keeping the right attendance numbers and details while being responsible during social distancing.

Who would have thought that we would be trying to limit the number of people attending church? But many churches have not been able to gather over the last few, and are keen to work out how best to comply with restrictions so that they can start meeting again.

The laws and restrictions that each church needs to comply with will be different, but one common theme is how do we limit how many people attend while also tracking who attends. The need for a contactless option is vital to avoid infection risks.

We have received many support questions around using the check-in kiosk to track attendance, this is an option, but it does not allow you to restrict who is attending. It also does not give you a way to provide contactless check-in for new people who need to register.

UCare Events solve the need to limit the number of people attending. When people register, UCare sends tickets that have a QR code, allowing you to use the UCare app to scan tickets on arrival and record attendance. Being able to scan tickets quickly is vital as it reduces check-in line length, helping with social distancing.

This guide walks you through the entire process of setting up events, collecting registrations, and checking people into services.

 

Create an event

You will need the Event permission to be able to create events. If you have this permission, then at the top of the screen, click New > Event. 

Enter the event type (i.e., category) of your event. “Church” is common, or if you have multiple locations, then the campus name. Next, name your service, for example, “Service” or “AM Service.”

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Select the service time, and select “Weekly” on Sunday for how often the event repeats. If your event finishes at 11 am on Sunday, then that is when UCare creates the next event, allowing people to register for the following week.

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Tip: If you want people to be able to register more than a week in advance, then after saving the event, click “create next event” (next to the event date), and UCare will create the event for the following week. Repeat this to create as many events as you like.

Enter your church location in the Where field; this will allow new people to get a map link on the registration page.

Ensure “Visibility” is “Publish to external listings” and then enter a description for the event. The description should include any information you need to communicate to people about the service and any restrictions they will need to abide by. The confirmation message is displayed after registration, so put more detailed information about restrictions and attending church under Confirmation message.

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Enable the Email confirmation option. With this option enabled, UCare sends a confirmation email (including tickets) to the person who registers. You likely won’t be charging for tickets, and so the invoice info field can be left blank.

Before you can save the event, you need to upload a promotional picture; this is displayed on the registration page. Your church logo is a great option.

The remaining fields can be left blank, so click Save to create the event.

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Create ticket types

You can create more than one ticket type, but to enable people to register, you need at least one. The ticket type allows you to limit how many seats are available and also what information people need to provide.

Commonly you’ll be creating a “Main Service” or Adult ticket type. If you are providing separate children’s services, then you should also create a ticket type for each of your children’s programs.

Enter the name of the ticket type, how many tickets (i.e., seats) are available, and ensure “Visible” is enabled.

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The Available dates can be left blank, but you should upload an image for your ticket. Your church logo may again be a great option. The image is required if you want UCare to send tickets after registration. The tickets have the QR code that you will need if you’re going to do contactless check-in.

You can now save the ticket type.

Tip: Some churches need to seat attendees into groups to limit infection risks. If this is your church, then we recommend that you create a ticket type for each grouping. We also recommend that the image you add to each ticket type has a different color, as this will allow you to distinguish which group families should sit in quickly.

 

Create ticket fields

You can skip ahead to the next section if you only need the number of people attending and contact info of the person registering.

Ticket fields are great for churches that need to collect the details of all those who attend. You add fields for the required info. By collecting the info as part of registration, you only need to scan their tickets upon arrival.

On the Fields tab of your ticket type tap “+ Fields,” ensure “Name” and “Required” are selected, then click Add field.

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Next, add a “Mobile” field type and ensure it is required; the mobile field also accepts regular phone numbers.

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If most of your profiles in UCare have a mobile or phone number, then the mobile field will allow UCare to link the ticket to the existing profile. If UCare can’t find a profile that matches, then it will create a new profile; as such, you may want to add an email field so that UCare can use that info to link to existing profiles. Use the duplicate finder to check for duplicates.

Tip: If you are creating a ticket type for a children’s program, then you may want to add fields for birthday, gender, and medical info. The Medical info should be collected using a “Text” field type.

Tip: If you have multiple rooms for children, then we suggest you create a ticket type for each room, allowing you to limit numbers in each room. Use “… > Duplicate ticket type” in the top right of your ticket type to speed up ticket type creation.

 

Testing registrations & check-in

To ensure your services run smoothly, you should test creating a booking and checking-in attendees.

You will want to test creating a booking in the same way your people will, so go back to your event and click the Share button in the top right.

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Now, copy the link and open it in a new window.

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On the booking page, add some tickets, enter the required details, and click “Register Now.”

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If you have created the tickets correctly, you will receive a confirmation email (including tickets). Keep the tickets handy as you’ll use those for testing. 

When you create an event, UCare also creates a meeting at the same time as the event. For testing purposes, you need to create a meeting for the event that has the start time set to the day you are testing check-in.

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Once you have created the test meeting, open the event in the UCare app on your phone and tap “… > Check in” in the top right. On the event check-in page, you will see a search bar with a QR code icon to the right.

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If a family can’t print the tickets and can’t display them on a smartphone, then you can search for the booking by name, booking number, or phone number in the search box. But, if a family has their tickets ready, the faster option is to tap the QR code icon, which opens your camera so you can scan the tickets.

Tip: if the screen of the attendee’s phone is too dim, you may have trouble scanning the tickets. In this case, ask the attendee to increase the brightness of their screen. 

Once you find the booking, you will see a list of tickets. Check all the tickets, but if someone who was registered isn’t attending, then uncheck their ticket.

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The first time you use the check-in page, you will need to select a meeting to add the chosen people too. Subsequent tickets will remember your choices to speed up the check-in process significantly.

Once you have the correct tickets selected, tap the “Check in “button. At this point, you return to the check-in search screen.

The process should now be as simple as tapping the QR code icon, scan a ticket, select all those in attendance, tap “Check in,” and repeat. With a little practice, you should be able to do this process in just a few seconds.

Note that you don’t have to scan each ticket, you only need to scan one ticket for each registration.

 

Recommendations for children

For churches who are running a children’s program, we recommend that parents take their children to classes first. The children’s team should scan tickets, but instead of checking in the entire booking, only children should be checked-in.

The event check-in page has options to print name tags, but printers are an area that may cause contamination risks, so we aren’t recommending this. Instead, we have options to allow you to pre-print name tags, and name tags can then be located at each room for collection.

Printing name tags

If you still want to print name tags upon arrival, then just ensure that you have a Check-in kiosk set up and connected to a printer. When you scan a ticket, the check-in page will display a list of check-in kiosks if you select to print name tags. With printing options selected, name tags will start printing a few seconds after you tap “Check in.”

 

Pre-Printing name tags

The easiest way to pre-print name tags is to select the Print tab on your children’s ticket type. 

First, connect the DYMO printer to your computer, or if you are using the UCare app, then turn on your Brother Printer. If you are using a Zebra printer, then start the Zebra printer app.

On the Print tab, select the “Check in labels – DYMO LabelWriter” option and select all the children. Choose the upcoming meeting you want to print name tags for and the correct printer. Select the name tag label you want; many churches will only have one option. You may want to uncheck the “security tickets” option as parents can use event tickets instead.

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Click “Print labels,” and labels for the first household will print. By printing labels one family at a time, it’s easy to separate tickets by family. You can hang labels or place them separately on a table outside each room to reduce infection risks.

 

Publishing your events

After testing, it’s time to publish your event so that people can register. As you have set your event to repeat weekly, we will look at “Published events,” this option will mean you only have to publish your events once instead of each week.

You can either send a link to the list of published events or copy the code and add it to your website. You can find the share options by click Events in the left navbar, then tap the “Share published events list” button in the top right.

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You can send the “Email and Facebook” link in an email, an SMS, or share it to your social channels, Facebook, for example. If you have a savvy web person or know how to update your website, then copy the JavaScript embed code and add that to your site.

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Each website builder will have different steps to follow to add this code, so consult the documentation for your website builder to learn how to add code to your website.

Once you have published the event list to your website, your people will see the list of upcoming service events, allowing them to register to attend your services. They can return to this list each week to see the events for the following weeks.

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If you have multiple event types, then the share dialog will allow you to select the type of events you want to publish. For churches that have multiple locations, you should have used the campus name for your event type as this lets select that type to filter the list of events.

 

Canceling bookings

If a family has registered but then can’t attend, you’ll want to free up their tickets so others can attend. You can find their booking on the profile of the person who registered or from the event page.

Open the booking and then click “… > Delete”, this deletes the booking and frees up the tickets so others can register.

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Changing tickets

Sometimes you’ll need to add or change ticket types for a booking. To do this, find the booking and click “… > Edit booking”. Update or add the tickets and click Save.

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