New Online Registration Settings


Our registration settings have evolved over three years of usage.  Below are the statistics of how many registrations were handled by BVCMS during 2011. So, the capability has been proven in a wide variety of different online registrations, every thing from camps, to major events, to small group signups. BVCMS handles both paid and free registrations and can accept coupons generated by the system as payment in lieu of credit cards. Online Registrations using BVCMS have had a significant impact on ministry for a number of churches.

Stats of all churches using BVCMS during 2011
as of 8/7/2011
Total Number of Churches using Online Registrations 24
Number of Organizations with Online Registrations 299
Bellevue’s number of transactions 8,477
Other churches number transactions 3,964


Initially, every time a new request of a type of registration would come, in, we would just program that from scratch. After about nine months of that, we had built up at least 7 different registration types. Each one had features and ways of doing things that was different from the others. And the most recently developed registration types were improved from the earlier ones. So in April of 2010, we consolidated all of our registrations into a single code base and drove the type and features of a registration with settings and various options. Then we continued to add new options and features as different features became necessary. Now it is time to do another overhaul for our Online Registration system in BVCMS.

Time for another Overhaul

As nice as our Online Registrations work for the people that come to your site and register, we have always been a bit embarrassed to have to show admins how to actualy set these registrations up. The simple ones were OK, just click a couple of checkboxes, compose a confirmation email and you were good to go. But, when it came to adding the extra options to collect information in the registration, it was a bit unwieldy; it worked but it was painful to get right.

So now, we have implemented the idea of using a structured document to construct your registration. Below is an example of how a simple registration specification might look. (To see and edit any of yours, just go to the organization and click the "Online Registration Settings" on the "Other Management menu " dropdown.)

Title: Bring a Friend to Lunch
AskRequest: true
	Label: Name of your friend(s) you will bring

	Fish and Chips
		SmallGroup: Fish
		Fee: 6
	Turkey Sandwich
		SmallGroup: Turkey
		Fee: 4
	Barbeque Ribs and Beans
		SmallGroup: BBQ
		Fee: 10

	Are you in a small group now?
		SmallGroup: Group
	Would you like to be contacted about being in a group?
		SmallGroup: Contact

	Subject: Registration for "Bring a friend to lunch"
	Html: true
	Body: <<
<img src="" />
<p>Thank you {first},</p>
<p>We will be in touch soon
with more information on where the event will be held.</p>

	Select:	Choose a family member to register
	Login:	Please login or use the register without account
	Find:	This is where we try to find your record
	Sorry:	Click here to get on the waiting list
	Options:Fill this information out please

Terms: I agree to hold you harmless from any heartburn I may suffer.

And here is what the options page of that registration looks like:


There are some significant advantages for this way of setting up registrations. We will be able to simply publish sample registrations for you to copy and paste into your own. You will be able to print the registration out in a very readable format for others to read and approve. We feel like this is a huge improvement in eliminating the obstacles in getting started with online registrations and it should be much more enjoyable to do. This will give us a platform to continue to build upon, adding new features and capabilities.

We are working on a wiki article detailing the usage of this new way to specify registrations. And don’t worry, we have converted all the existing registrations to this new format so they should continue to work. Let us know if you see any problems. Finally, there is a very nice editor for this document built right into BVCMS and it shows you the line number and context when it discovers errors in the specification that it cannot read.

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