Subject: BVCMS Newsletter #19, September 2012


Newsletter #19
September 24, 2012

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This newsletter contains tips, information about new features, and announcements of upcoming events. See past newsletters.

User News & Announcements

Contacts - New Tracking Feature

We recently added a small feature regarding Contacts that really has a big impact on those responsible for tracking Contacts for their church. That is the ability to search by the person who created the Contact. Many times, this is not the person that actually made the visit, call, etc. but is a volunteer or a staff member. Read more.

PS We have another feature on our to do list - adding the name of the creator to the actual Contact. We will let you know once that’s out there.

Attendance Feature for Parent Rallies

This worked SO well for us here at Bellevue a couple of weeks ago. It was a new feature that gave us the ability to print rollsheets for Student and Children’s Ministry classes; but instead of printing the students’ names, it printed the names of the parents. Then we scanned the rollsheets in order to mark the parent present in their Life Group, even though they were attending their child’s class (Parent Rally) that morning. Read more about this cool feature!

Extra Values with Functionality

Many of you are familiar with Extra Values and you know that you can create them, naming them whatever you want, and then find everyone with those Extra Values by using Query Builder. We have taken this concept one step further by creating some specific Extra Values with functionality built into them. NOTE: When you create these types of Extra Values, you must use the name exactly as we have it indicated and select the correct type of Extra Value. Here are the ones we have created:

If your church has children with divorced parents (we all do), and both parents are in the database, you probably have need of this feature. When you select Email-Parents, you would want the email to be sent to both sets of parents: the family in which the child is grouped, as well as the other parent who is in a separate family. The child can be in only one family. So, how can you insure that the non-custodial parent receives the email? You can use this special Extra Value named Parent which contains the People ID # of the parent who is not in the same family unit as the child in your database. Read more.

Envelope Number
If your church uses boxes of envelopes, then you are not using the People ID for the Envelope number. That is why we added this special Extra Value named EnvelopeNumber. You create this as described above, using the number from the box of envelopes as the value. Once you have these on the records of those using envelopes, you can enter this number when you are posting Contributions. Just put an e in front of the number to distinguish it from the People ID. Read more.

This special Extra Value allows you to assign a pin number (any number of digits) to any person in a family. This pin # can then be used in place of a phone number when they are checking in using the BVCMS checkin software. You create the Extra Value just like the others giving it the name PIN and making it a Text, and then entering whatever you want as the Pin #. Read more.

Admin Corner

Need to know

We have a few new features just for those who are System Administrators. These relate to email management, viewing attendance history, and user roles. Read more.

To Clarify a Point

I recently blogged about a simple (but really nice) solution we devised to meet a rather immediate need here at Bellevue (It’s about printing Small Group names on a rollsheet. Check it out.) I prefaced the post by mentioning our philosophy of "doing the simplest thing that could possibly work" and the YAGNI principle. The YAGNI principle (you aren’t going to need it) may have confused you a bit.

In a nutshell, this means that we don't add complexity or functionality until it is necessary. That way, you don't spend your time developing something that may never get used. As this principle applied to that particular feature, it meant that we provided a simple solution that works great! What we did not do was spend a lot of time (that we didn’t have) to think of all the possible use cases and possible additional features that might go along with this. Instead, we did what we do best—provided a great solution to meet the need just in time! We may indeed flesh this out later, if we find it useful in other cases.

Developer Notes

Volunteer Management Project

We have been telling you in blogs and in past newsletters about our new Volunteer Management feature that we have been working on. Well, we have finished coding it and testing it, but now we are working on rolling it out to churches in live production. We have written some documentation and even done a preliminary video. The official release will come when we do an official Webinar on this feature. Look for that to come soon. Read the initial documentation here.

New Version of Checkin coming soon

We have been working on a new version of checkin. One feature that we are using in our gym at Bellevue is the Building Checkin mode. This feature allows us to track people who are authorized to come in to use the facilities. Also, they can indicate which facilities they are planning to use, like track, treadmill, basketball, etc. Finally they can bring up to two visitors with them at a time. On the backend, we provide statistics on building usage and the number of guests and members who are coming.

Another new feature is a unified label system. Steven has programmed a way for us to support any label printer, not just the three we have been supporting. And we can support any size labels. This has already paid off for a few of our churches who needed this feature right away.

This version will come by way of a new installation technique. It is called ClickOnce and it makes the installation easy by just visiting a web page and clicking one button. Better yet, when we publish a new version, you will automatically receive it. It will download the new version, if available, every time you start the program. This automatic update will be  superfast so it won't slow you down. The best part is no more zip files, uninstall / re-install etc. and you stay up to date automatically.

Your BVCMS Team

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