Today I am going to start with something VERY basic to a church secretary or ministry assistant. Setting up a sign-up sheet. You may think, how hard is that? Anyone can do that! But this is probably something you must do all the time and how does it look? My husband always tells me that in ministry we should do everything with excellence, no matter how small. The Bible also tells us “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” (Colossians 3:23). So, when setting up something even as simple as a sign-up sheet, let’s do it with skill and make it a beautiful thing.
When I was working in a church office, I had to do sign-ups ALL THE TIME. There was always something going on somewhere that needed volunteers or participants. While online sign-ups are a great thing, there are always going to be those who need a pen and paper sign-up sheet. Something that can be passed around a classroom, or set out on a display table. I would have people bring me sign-up sheets that were barely understandable, lines were all over the place – or (gasp) handwritten. Not so good. If I could get away with it, I would recreate their requests into something neat, clear and with a point of beauty. Using Microsoft Word, tables, and a nice graphic, a sign up can turn from just a sheet of paper with lines to a nicely crafted and welcoming thing.
First let’s start with our tools. For this tutorial, we will be using Microsoft Word. Word has come a LONG way, baby, and there are so many options now for creating something awesome.
First thing I always do is adjust my margins. I like to have as much room as possible on my sheet for my sign-ups, so I set my margins at .5 inches all around. This gives you just a little extra space to work with.
Now, let’s start with a title. I always place the title at the top in a nice bold font. (Pro-tip: Be creative with your font choice but stay away from fonts that are too fancy or detailed. You want them readable and clear.) You can choose to center the title or if you will be using a graphic, leave it to the side and then we can center it up after you have inserted your art.
Next we will place the details of the event or opportunity you are advertising. I always find that having the details right on the sign-up sheet helps people decide quickly about if they can or cannot attend or participate. Include the date, times, location and any other short details that are pertinent. (Pro-tip: If you have other information that they need to have, include it in a card or brochure that people can take with them after they have signed up.) Be sure to center that information up with your title to make it neat.
Now we will create the actual sign-up form.
I am a “table” lover. I use tables in bulletins, in sign-ups, in brochures – anything that needs to have structure. I can’t stand having little text-boxes everywhere, so I use tables to space out my information. They are pliable and easy to create. Go up to insert and click the little down arrow under the picture labeled “Table”. This will give you a pull down where you can choose how many boxes you want to use. I usually choose a few across (depending on how much info I need to gather) and two down.
You will see that this gives you some nice boxes across the screen. If you hover your curser over the table, you will see some tiny boxes appear at opposite corners. Use the box on the bottom right to pull your table down a bit and adjust it to the size that you would like.
In the very top row start to write the names of the information you will be needing. For instance, in mine I will have Name, Phone, Email and Food Dish I Will Bring. If you need more information, just create more columns when you first create your table – you can adjust the size later. Now that you have information written in, give yourself a few more rows until you fill the page. To do this simply click your mouse at the very end outside one of the rows, then hit enter. Do this over again until you have filled the page. You can see that we have a nice, neat page full of space for people to sign up.
But what if the columns aren’t the right size? Easy! Simply hover your mouse over one of column lines until you see a small line with arrows on either side appear. Click down and hold and then move your mouse back and forth until it is in the correct place.
This is what your sheet should look like so far
Now, if you would like to add a graphic you can. I like to make my sign up as bright as possible, so if I can do color, I do. The first example is when you find a nice graphic or piece of clip art that you can add to the side. Just insert your art next to the title, then click on Format under picture tools (your picture must be selected for this to appear). Go to Wrap Text and click on Square. This will allow you to move your graphic and place it in the corner if you like. If your title is already centered it will re-center itself automatically. Now you have a nice, neat sign up sheet with a lovely graphic to catch people’s attention. Check the bottom of your page to make sure none of your rows have slid to the next page. You may need to take a row off or resize your rows to compensate.
Have I said that I love color? I love color.
I like for my creations to be bright and friendly, so for this one I created my own graphic for the top to help it jump out a little more. This way I could take off the title and just insert my graphic and be done with it. If your ministry can afford it, always go with color. It just makes so much difference when printing out flyers and forms. If you cannot afford color, make sure your sign-ups are neat and clean. One thing I learned early is that you always want to have lots of “white space” or empty space on your creation. It draws people’s eyes in to pertinent information instead of overwhelming them with details. My sign-up sheet is simple, but it is neat, has just the amount of information needed and is clear in its purpose. Nothing fancy, just the facts.
And there you have it! A simple sign up that is neat, easy to decipher and draws the eye in. I know it seems simple, but it really makes a difference. I once put two sign ups out for the same thing as an experiment. One was the “original” from the coordinator of the event and one was mine. Mine got double the signatures.
So, the next time you need to create a sign-up form for an event, remember these principles and information. They will make a difference and you will be proud of your creation!