Getting Started in 5 Easy Steps
You have just started a membership to Instant Church Directory and have logged into the website and are thinking, "They said this would be easy, but I don't know where to begin!"
Don't worry--we are with you every step of the way. That's why this quick start-up guide will get you creating your directory in no time.
In this article
- Add a family or families
- Add your church staff
- Update your directory cover page
- Prepare your directory for sharing
- Share your directory
You can go through each step and just add one or two members a day, or sit down and knock through adding all your members in just a few hours -- the choice is yours!
1. Add a family or families as an administrator or editor
There are two ways to enter family information.
The first approach is to add existing contact information from your church database software by importing that data. To do this, click on the directory import wizard link you'll find on the Dashboard after you have logged in.
Or, you can enter each family individually. On the home page, you'll click on the "Step 1 - Families" tab to begin.
Click on the "Add Family" button to begin a family entry.
Next, enter the family's last name, address and anniversary on this page-- save family email and phone number for later. Once you've completed your entry, click SAVE.
To add adults to the family record, click "Add Adult/Parent" and include all the information - including phone numbers and email addresses. Then click SAVE. Click "Add Child" to add children to the family, then click SAVE. Be sure to click SAVE after every entry that is included with the family.
To add a photo for any family, click the EDIT FAMILY button by each family. If you don't have a photo for a particular family, click the "Request a photo message" link. The members can upload pictures themselves that will go into a holding folder for you to approve before being displayed in the directory.
Click here to learn how your members can submit updates of their directory information for administrator approval.
2. Add Your Church Staff.
Staff contact information is very important for a directory. It gives members and visitors a point of reference. Instant Church Directory allows fields for contact information and a photo! You can add church board members here, re-order the entries and separate the pages with a page break. Be sure and get good photos of these members. This section is usually what visitors will see first. Adding staff members is easy- it is much like adding family members. Simply go to ‘Step 3 - Staff’ and click on the ‘Add Staff Members’ button. We’ve included a couple of video tutorials show you how easy adding staff members really is.
3. Update Your Directory Cover Page.
A cover page is essential for your directory. The cover page is a defining point for your church. It doesn’t matter if your church meets in Westminster Abbey or a local school gym, a good cover is essential. A quality cover will have the church’s address as well as a good photo. The photo can be the outside of your church or a close-up shot of the pulpit, sign, Bible opened to a special passage or hymnal opened to a favorite hymn. To update your cover page, click on "Step 5 - Cover Page" tab and then click Edit Cover Page button.
4. Prepare Your Directory for Sharing.
Under Step 6 - Share Member Apps, you can
- Enable your mobile device access to members.
- Share links to download the member apps.
- Share support documents for getting your members to the directory.
- Review troubleshooting documents for when your members have trouble getting online via their mobile devices or online access.
- Check the status of a member's email.
Under Step 7 - Share PDF, you can:
- Password protect your directory--this is highly recommended!!
- Set Your PDF Options (just click the "PDF Options" button. Here you will be able to:
- Determine the page order of your directory.
- Add custom pages to your Directory PDF such as a special activity page, budget pages, announcements or advertisements.
- Choose your fonts, print color and image quality of your PDF.
- IMPORTANT: If you make any changes to your PDF settings, always be sure to click "Save Changes"!
- Generate your Directory and Group Sub-Directories to create PDFs for sharing - either to your church website or to print.
- Download your directory PDF, copy the URL to share your directory PDF or delete a PDF directory or group directory.
5. Share your directory with Members
Congratulations! All your work is about to pay off as you share the directory with your congregation. There are four ways to share the directory:
The directory provides free mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Kindle devices. Simply tell members to go to the app store or google play and search ‘Instant Church Directory’ and download. We also provide step-by-step instructions for logging into the apps the first time. Go to the Instant Church Directory website and click on the ‘Tools’ tab and go to ‘tools for helping members login.’ Click on the link for your device and follow the instructions to set up a login. Once you create a password, it can be used with the mobile app and online access.
Online Member Access
Members can access the directory through the member website using a browser from any internet-connected device. Go to www.instantchurchdirectory.com and click on ‘Member sign in.’ Click on the ‘create a login now’ link next to ‘first time signing in’ and follow the instructions. Once you create a password, it can be used with the mobile app and online access.
Once a member is logged into the mobile app or member website, they can view Families, Groups, and Staff in the directory plus the birthday and anniversary lists.
Members can also submit updates to their information under "Edit My Family. All updates will alert the Admin & Editors to view and approve them before going "live." Member Submit Their Own Updates
Add a URL to your church's website
Instant Church Directory provides hyperlinks of your directory that can be included in your church's website. This view is the traditional printed directory view. The directory is generated as a PDF. The PDF hyperlinks are located in Step 7 - Share PDF. Choose the directory or booklet PDF that you wish to share, click on the Copy URL to Share link.
Note: We strongly recommend that you password protect the PDF if you are going to distribute the PDF to your congregation or post to your website. If you do not password protect the directory, websites like Google may pick off the contents and display the information in search results. The password protection is added in Step 7 - Share PDF. The same password you create here will be the same password used by the congregation to open the Directory PDF in all circumstances.
The Printed Directory
The generated PDF is the document you'll use to print your directory either yourself or by a third-party printer.
Go to Step 7 - Share PDF to download the full directory, any sub-directory or booklet. Simply locate the directory you wish, click the Download link to download to your computer. Email (or take via flash drive) to the printer of your choice OR print it yourself. Note: your directory must first be generated before you can download it! If it hasn't yet been generated, you won't see the Download link!
But that’s not all!
Of course, the Instant Church Directory provides lots of extra features. You can add a Pastor's letter, Activity Page(s) or send a mass email communication to your congregation using our Broadcast News Feature.
Check out the Instant Church Directory website, our Instant Church Directory forum (http://forums.instantchurchdirectory.com/) or other Help documents for even more features like how to generate a PDF directory, adding groups, printing booklets, and publishing an addendum (link these to their help doc).