Our New Weekday Ed Registration Process

1 Feb

We have a great weekday education program.  Like really great for twenty years.  So great in fact, that registration day has become insane.  Like day after Thanksgiving insane.  As in last year, some daddy spent the night in our parking lot to make sure that he was first in line to get a spot for his child.  Or how about the lady who brought a chair and a picture of her face attached to a stick to put in the chair when she had to go to the restroom.  Wow.

Obviously, this caused some problems.  We didn’t really need people hanging out in our parking lot all night.  By the time registration began, we had a bunch of tired and anxious parents.  We had staff members making tough, on-the-spot decisions about filling and closing classes.

We decided to try something different.  Now, let me mention too that this situation had the toughest problem solving element of all time – we had been doing it this way for forever.  Changing would be tough for staff and parents alike!

So here’s what we did:

–  moved all initial registration to online.  We made forms on wufoo.com and set them not to open until 8:00 this morning.  Parents were told that they would start the registration process online by filling out a simple form.  Then someone would contact them by 5:00 pm to confirm their spot or to offer alternatives if a spot was not available.  Registration forms and fees must then be turned in within 24 hours.

–  We over-communicated to parents about the change, sent instructions home, and also put instructions online.  (You can see them here)

–  We double-checked with wufoo to make sure they could handle 200 mamas registering all at the same moment.  They assured us they have handled 9,000 hits in 5 minutes so we were small potatoes.

–  We planned for the weekday staff to meet in an office off-site to process the registrations in peace and quiet. Wufoo sends email notifications for each registration, so we just printed them in the order they came and placed kids in the same order that the registrations came in.

–  I prayed hard until that first registration popped up.  Cyberworld makes me nervous.  I married a tech guy – but I so don’t understand that world.

Here’s what happened:

–  It worked!  Praise God! 🙂  We didn’t have a great “Plan B”, though if we had needed it we would have found one!

–  Parents were happy. They got to sleep in their own beds and register in their pj’s.  Of course, some didn’t get the spots they wanted, but that would have happened whatever the system.

–  Our weekday staff was happy.  They got to make decisions that were not pressured. They didn’t have mad, sleep-deprived parents begging to be put in a class.

I love when problems get solved!  I very much appreciate our team’s willingness to think outside the box and try something new.  Change is scary, but it can also make the world better.  And keep parents from spending the night in the parking lot!

Tell us about the greatest problem solving that’s happened in your ministry lately!


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