If you're switching from Elexio, we will help you get started with Planning Center by walking you through how to create an account and add people!
Bookmark this page, so it’s easy to find later.
1. Sign Up for People
Like other church management software (ChMS), we break down our pricing by people; however, unlike other ChMS, we won't ask you to sign up for features you won't use.
When you sign up to create a Planning Center account, we recommend that you start only with the People product.
People is the central hub for Planning Center products and the place to add and access information for your entire congregation. Plus, it's always free!
To subscribe to People only, go to the signup page, remove all of the other products, and then click Sign up.
The email address and password you enter on this page is for you. Each person you give access to the account will receive their own login information.
2. Set Up Your Account
You should have received an email welcoming you to Planning Center right after you sign up. If you set up your account at that time, great! If you didn’t finish the account setup or haven’t started, this is the time to do it.
Accounts is the place for you to set up your account information. You will also go here to manage your Planning Center billing and subscriptions and add Organization Administrators.
The Setting Up a New Account article will help you through the setup process, which includes:
- Adding your organization information
- Setting up billing information
- Adding organization administrators and billing managers
When you’ve finished setting up your account, it’s now time to get your people added to the Planning Center database!
3. Import from Elexio
Planning Center People allows you to import your list of people without paying any setup fee. If you need help migrating your data, check out these services.
We know importing can be overwhelming and scary, so our goal is to make sure it's comprehensive but simple for you to do! So, follow these steps to import people to Planning Center:
- Export from Elexio
Use custom lists to do a full database export to a CSV. In this export, you can choose which columns to exclude.
- Clean Up Your CSV
Many systems will generate CSV files with some unnecessary data in them, so make sure everything is entered correctly before starting your import.
- Verify the Fields
Look over Planning Center's default fields, and create custom fields, such as schools and membership statuses, based on information you want to import.
- Import the File
Use the Data Importer to import the file into Planning Center.
Only people information can be imported into Planning Center. If you want other data to exist in your Planning Center database, you can use the following options:
We asked current Planning Center users in our Slack Community, most of whom have already switched from another system, and they gave us lots of good tips, some for other specific systems.
Here are some general tips:
- Reformat dates (birthdates, mainly) to match Planning Center date format that matches your Localization settings: YYYY-MM-DD, MM/DD/YYYY, or MM.DD.YYYY. If you don't have a year, simply leave it out.
- If you have any fields that don't match the default fields, create custom fields within Planning Center, and then match those field names to the CSV file.
- Some recommended breaking the CSV file into smaller pieces, but this depends on the number of people you're importing.
- If you break the CSV file into smaller pieces, most recommend exporting basic information first (first and last names, household IDs, contact information) and importing that information into People. Once this import is final, export the next important information to add to the profiles created in the "basic information" import.
- Your best friend in this process will be the “sort” feature in Microsoft Excel or Numbers, which allows you to separate out people by status, date last attended, etc.
The biggest tip specifically for Elexio is to use custom lists to do a full database export to a CSV. In this export, you can choose which columns to exclude.
4. Subscribe to the Next Product
After you've added people to your database, you can start subscribing to additional products.
Go to the article on Rolling Out Planning Center Products to see the order in which we recommend that you subscribe to products and view the initial set up tasks to get you up-and-running with each product.
We have plenty of support available to assist you along the way.
- For step-by-step instructions on setting up and using each product, access our help articles from the support site or from the ? in the upper right corner in any product.
- Once you've started diving into a product and want more in-depth training on how to use it, check out Planning Center University, which has videos on best practices for each product.
- If you have any questions that can’t be answered in our docs or videos, feel free to contact our friendly Support Team. They are happy to help!
- Use the 30-day free trial to save you some money every time you add a new product.
- To get your team on board, follow this guide: Preparing to Use Planning Center with Your Staff