ABOUT CHARMS (So what's all the fuss about?)

About Us The Charms Advantage Our History Info for Teachers Info for Boosters Info for Admin Info for Community Group Our Other Programs Crossword Solution

About Us

The Charms Office Assistant was launched in 2001, and since has become the unquestioned leader in cloud-based organization, management, and communication for successful organizations. It is an all-encompassing office assistant, ready to go to work when you are. Charms keeps track of all your student, member, and adult information such as email addresses, phone numbers, what group they are in, their grade, and lots more. Charms can organize and make sense of your library, and keep track of your inventory, equipment, props and uniforms. Charms knows who turned in their form, who missed practice, where they stand or sit, how much they owe on their trip, and who still hasn't turned in their uniforms.

Charms is a robust financial package as well! It will help you track fundraisers and disburse profits. You can manage local and international trips with ease. Charms helps you create fixed billing items and knows who paid them, who still owes for repairs, and can give you a running balance of all your booster club accounts, and will help reconcile with the office activity fund. Charms will help with 1099 forms, 990 forms, bank reconciliation, and managing budgets. Adults can pay for trips and other items online with their credit or debit cards through our private and exclusive Parent/Student/Member Area.

Communication with your organization has never been easier or more effective! Charms will keep track of all your events on a live, interactive on-line calendar - available to all your students, members, and adults by group. You can send mass e-mails, record and blast phone messages and send free text messages. You can upload handouts, sound files, short videos, assignments, audition materials, maps, pictures and more for students, members, and parents to access 24/7, either on their computers or on their mobile devices.

Students can keep practice logs online, record and upload playing tests, and track their own grades. Parents can track inventory assignments, monitor attendance, and track merits or demerits earned.

Need to sell spirit wear or want your members to purchase specific items? Charms includes an advanced web store so you can run your own sales without needing additional software.

Today, Charms is used by over 7000 organizations world-wide. We are the clear leader in providing this type of service. And this is only the beginning.... As a member of the Charms Community you get continual, automatic updates when they become available, and there are no hidden "new version" charges. Our tech support department is here to help you by chat, by email, by ticket, and even by phone. Charms is written for the Web - any computer, or mobile device with an internet connection can access Charms from anywhere in the world.

We don't sell advertising on Charms, and neither do you. We don't use web trackers or other intrusive software, and we don't sell our usage statistics. Your relationship is with us, and us alone. Your members will appreciate that you are not selling their personal details to a paid advertiser.

So, take a few minutes and view our demo accounts. Or if you're ready, you can set up a 30 day free trial today and start using Charms tomorrow.


The Charms Advantage

The Freedom of the Internet

As a web-based software,Charms gives you many advantages over conventional disk-based software. The most obvious is that you can access your data from any computer or mobile device at any time anywhere you can connect to the internet. Upload an assignment from Starbucks. Listen to student auditions while waiting at the airport. Check your library at a state conference. With Charms your information is not locked on one computer on one desk. Parents can log on day or night to print a tour itinerary or to check what time a bus leaves. A booster parent at work can help enter your new uniforms or collect trip money while you spend quality time working with students. Read below to learn how you too can enjoy the advantages of using Charms.

Cost Effective

Although your initial "buy-in" to Charms is as low as $395, that covers everything for the first year (except for the optional accessories if wanted). For that investment, everyone in your organization has access. You automatically receive all the upgrades/enhancements/bug fixes for free, in real time, without having to download a patch, wait for a new CD, or install anything on your school computer. You don't have to spend your time programming a database, and you don't have to worry about obsolete software that doesn't work on your new laptop two or three years from now. Hard drives often crash at the worst time, and Charms saves you the grief and expense of building a new computer and restoring precious information.

Multiple User Access

Whether you use Windows, Mac, or both, Charms will work. If you have an iPhone, Android, iPad, or chromebook Charms will work. In fact, many teacher offices have two or three computers - each person can be working on a different function of Charms at the same time! One person can be checking off who turned in the permission slip, another can be building a seating chart, and a third can be checking in uniforms. All this happens while your treasurer is entering trip money at home, and your librarian is entering your new music. You can't do that huddled around one computer on your desk. One program with multiple access points!

More time to Teach

Your expertise is in teaching, coaching, and working with young people. Why should you spend nearly half your day doing nonsense paper and clerical work? With Charms, you can create as many "helper" logins as you want to leverage the energies and support of your parents and student aides. Even one parent volunteering to maintain the online calendar saves yourself hours of work - hours that can make the difference in helping your students make Region or State. Spend your time doing what's important to you.

Superior and Effective Parent Communication

No other software exists today that can provide the level of parent communication that Charms provides. News bulletins are available the minute parents login. Every parent or student in your band, orchestra, choir, swim, drill, or theater team can access the calendar, print handouts, check on finances, pay fixed payments and trips online, maintain practice logs, record auditions and tests, and if you allow it, maintain their own personal information and email addresses etc. Parents can see what inventory is checked out to their child, how many absences they have, check grades, as well as what uniforms are still outstanding, what music needs to be checked in and whether that permission slip, health form, or handbook acknowledgement actually made it back to the office. Every time a parent visits Charms instead of calling you gives you more time to make music, direct the play, choreograph the new routine, or coach for the finals.

Leave the Tech Work to the Geeks

Maintaining and writing a database is difficult. For less than the cost of one decent band instrument, one musical royalty, one costume, or two sets of shoulder pads you could avoid having to print all new calendars if a date changes. You don't have to design new spreadsheets for every fundraiser. You don't have to figure out how to network your files. You, your assistants, and booster parents can work simultaneously at different desks, in different buildings, in different cities, and you are free from having to worry about backups and computer crashes. Sad to say, but a lot of our business comes from directors right after their computer crashes and their library, inventory, uniform assignments and financial records are lost forever.

Too good to be true?

We're certainly not perfect. We make mistakes. But when a bug is found, or a mistake is made our TOP priority is to get you back up and running. Our policy on bugs and errors is simple - we go DEAF! No we don't ignore you, we Drop Everything And Fix. We can often fix a bug while you are chatting with us on our live tech support line. When our work is finished, you are back to work instantly, without waiting for a repair patch or a disk in the mail.

Experience the Charms Advantage

You may try Charms free of charge for 30 days with your own private account. Your trial account will auto-expire after this, unless we extend the trial or you request an invoice for activation. If you purchase the subscription, your information continues forward and your renewal date is tied to the invoice request date. Just click GET TRIAL and we'll set you up with your very own Charms account. Experience the Charms Advantage and see why Charms is the #1 Office Assistant software available today and everything else isn't.


Our History

When I first taught music, after The Beatles but before computers, I kept a file box of index cards with student information. Remarkably, that system worked! When the first computers arrived, my records went on a simple little program called FileMaker for the Macintosh.

Through the years, as computers became more sophisticated, and my record keeping needs became more involved, it became obvious that my file box, spreadsheets, and simple programs wouldn't work as efficiently as before.

On a five hour drive home from a Texas Music Teachers conference one summer, my wife and I were discussing her new choir program of 420 students. How would she ever keep track of all of them? Not to mention keeping track of their fundraising, her enormous music library, who paid for the t-shirt, who turned in the permission slip, who took the metronome home for the weekend, who missed the concerts and extra rehearsals, and everything else that came up!

She did own a copy of a music management computer program, but she found it cumbersome to use, and it was only available on her computer at school. With 420 students, she had no time to sit down at a desk and fight through a program. And how could she get to her records when she was assisting at another school? Or working at home? She needed a program that was available whenever and wherever she was. She needed her information accessible from any computer, available any time she had a spare moment to work, whether from the High School, Middle School, at a conference, or home. She needed a program that was easy to use, which gave her access to the important information with one or two clicks the minute she logged on.

She Needed Charms.

Several sleepless months later, Charms was born, and people scratched their heads and wondered what a Web-Based Program meant. Back then we were laughed at, today we are considered innovators using what is now called the Cloud. We were in "The Cloud" before there was a Cloud. Today, Charms is used world-wide by school music teachers, dance/drill team coaches, athletic coaches, booster clubs, theater teams, youth choirs and orchestras, and churches.

So, take a few minutes and view the free demo. It's the real, fully functional program using a ficticious teacher in mythical schools. Or if you're ready, you can set up a free trial today and start using Charms tomorrow. Charms is a product of Vanco.


Info for Teachers

"I am a college-educated trained professional."

"I love to teach the joys of music, dance, and athletics to young people."

"How can I have more time to actually teach?"

We say these out loud, and yet we spend a great deal of our time away from the students themselves.

Music teachers have serious libraries to maintain. Coaches and Band Directors are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory. Dance and Drill Teams have to raise their own money for trips and show fiscal responsibility. Teachers work evenings, early mornings, weekends and need to communicate with parents like no other teacher does.

Charms is designed with one purpose - to help you get back in front of your students faster. One extra music lesson might make the difference in a student's All-Area audition. Ten minutes extra a day with the team might mean a trip to the playoffs this year. An extra five minutes with the drill team could make a difference in festival competition. An organized program sets the foundation for a successful program.

Charms helps you manage all the organizational details a successful program encounters - from uniform assignment to money collection, from counting varsity jacket points to managing trip payments, from fundraising accountability to printing mailing labels, from entering practice logs to checking out instruments, from scheduling multiple meets to blasting phone messages to parents.

With Charms you can delegate many of the tasks to eager booster parents or advanced students with our restricted-access helper accounts. Your helpers can work from anywhere and won't have to be in your office, looking through your desk, reading your files.

Charms is also designed for the technologically challenged. It runs completely in your web browser or on your mobile device. There is nothing to download or install. You don't have to remember to make backups or save. It works with a familiar point and click interface, and there are help files, how-to videos, and live technical support people just one click in any direction. Our job at Charms is to help you and your students be successful.


Info for Boosters

As a booster volunteer to a band, choir, or orchestra program, swim team, drill team or theater club, you already know the value of your time to the group. Your support of these programs makes uniform day smooth, makes trips possible, and helps raise money for new equipment. You do this to make a better program for your children.

Charms was written by former music teachers and we understand the diverse management needs of today's teachers. The Charms program was designed with one purpose - to help teachers spend more time with your children.

Barcode scanning of uniforms, inventory, and sheet music speed up those time consuming tasks. Automatic end of year promotion, and global group and part assignments take all work out of starting a new year. The online calendar, and extensive student/parents portal allows parents and students access to information without having to interrupt the teacher.

Charms also features restricted access helper accounts. The teacher can create logins and passwords for booster parents or advanced students to help manage the library, maintain the calendar, work with finances, and coordinate uniforms and inventory. These helper accounts can be accessed from anywhere - not just from the one computer in the music office.

The Charms financial package is advanced enough to maintain a thriving booster club and simple enough to pass on the job year after year. We have parent accountants, parent bank officers, and parent bookeepers using the program for many years. We compete very effectively with Quickbooks.

You invest your time and money to ensure a successful program. Charms will help you manage that successful program by giving the teacher more time to spend with your children.

So, take a few minutes and try our free demo. It's the real, fully functional program for a fake school. Enter some uniforms, collect some trip money, setup a volunteer event on the calendar, look at a help screen. If you like it, please recommend the program to the teacher. We offer a 30 day free trial to give everyone a chance to test it.

Thank you!


Info for Admin

Keeping a program running smoothly is one of the biggest challenges facing your teachers. Constant demands from parents, students, contests, and the administration can pull a teacher in several directions at once.

Responsibility for equipment is a major part of your teacher's job. Charms keeps track of all district inventory and uniforms and provides a simple but effective method for assigning and checking in valuable equipment and uniforms. As costs soar, you can effectively monitor district inventory and avoid buying or replacing equipment that you already have. When a district adopts Charms, we can even limit inventory functions at the campus level.

Your teachers stay focused on working with students and producing great music, dance and athletics. Charms is designed from the ground up with one goal - to give teachers more time to teach. The program is simple to use, and doesn't have to be installed on one computer. The head director and the assistant can be working on the same program at the same time on two different computers! Helper accounts with restricted access to the program can be created to leverage the talents and volunteerism of booster parents.

Teachers also need to collect money for trips, t-shirts, fundraising, private lessons, and the various permission slips and other paper forms. With Charms, most of these functions require only one or two clicks, and can even be delegated to helpers.

As the district administrator, should you adopt Charms district-wide, you will have an "administrator" login which allows you to work in Charms for any school or to run district-wide reports such as graduating seniors, or incoming 5th graders, or inventory by campus, etc. You can even view and search the entire district music library.

Your teachers are willing to spend long hours to make their bands, choirs and orchestras sound great, their dancers shine, and their teams excel. Give them a tool to make their office management painless -- Charms.

Take a few minutes and try our free demo. You can even log in as our make believe administrator.

Thank you!


Info for Community Group

Can I use Charms for my community choir, American Legion, or other non-music group? Absolutely! Charms is designed to work in any environment that needs to collect money, manage membership, and provide convenient, effective parent communication. Just like a school, your youth choir, orchestra or band needs to schedule events, assign inventory, and track attendance.

Our online payment feature makes collecting fees easy and fast. Parents enjoy the ease and security of paying online rather than sending checks. You can post news and changes to the calendar quickly and easily with Charms, which parents can access from home, work, or anywhere else they can access the internet.

Many youth organizations spread the office work to several people. Charms allows you to create helper accounts to give more people secure access to the administrative functions.

Take a few minutes and try our free demo. It's a fully-functional account for a fake school.

Thank you!


Our Other Programs

Our company provides web-based software applications for many other organizations as well as Charms. If you would like information on a custom designed program for your organization or festival management, please contact our office.

PT Avenue A complete online management system for Parent-Teacher type organizations such as PTA, PTO, PTSA and PTSO. Similar to Charms, but custom created to meet the needs of these organizations.

Track volunteers, volunteer hours, membership reporting, dues and fees collection, and advanced communications. Take a look and try our free demo! www.pt-avenue.com

Texas University Interscholastic League A complete online contest management system for the State of Texas University Interscholastic League Music contests. Every music teacher in Texas can enter their students day or night from any computer, make changes to programs or ensembles, and print barcoded entry forms for free. Texas Charms users get an added bonus of being able to prepare their entries right from inside Charms!

Each of the 28 Region Secretaries can create contest events, enter ratings, prepare state reports, download entries, and get up to the minute entry counts. Contest management has never been easier and faster to process! www.texasmusicforms.com

Illinois Music Educator Association We provide an online solution for All-District and All-State auditions. Teachers can make simplified paperless entries and make changes up until the deadline date. Judges can enter their ratings directly online in the audition room with hand-held devices such as Blackberry and iPhones, or wireless laptops, or can enter ratings on a grid to be entered back at the contest office. The District President can set deadlines, print up to the minute entry counts, review ratings and prepare district ensembles. Notifications and invoices go out via email to the teachers. www.ilalldist.org

NYS Music Fest For New York State music teachers and festival chairs we created the most comprehensive online entry and scheduling system for NYSSMA Solo & Ensemble festivals. Teachers easily make entries, and festival chairs can instantly make schedules, print playing permits, print audition labels or PDF evaluation sheets, and enter and track ratings with the barcode scanner. Complete reporting to the state is a breeze. www.nysmusicfest.com

Suffolk County Music Educators/NYSCAME SCMEA and NYSCAME needed a better way to track nominations for their annual All-County music festivals. Teachers register and nominate their students, and Area VPs read the online entries to select members for each of the 18 performing ensembles. Billing and Notification is handled on line as well and the process has never been smoother for the teachers of Suffolk County, NY. www.scmeafest.org

Nassau County Music Educators NCMEA needed an easier to use membership directory to track dues and prepare billing notices in addition to help teachers nominate students for the annual All-County music festivals. Teachers register and nominate their students, and Area VPs read the online entries to select members for each of the 18 performing ensembles. Billing and Notification is handled on line as well and the process has never been smoother for the teachers of Nassau County, NY. www.nmeaac.org

Connecticut Music Educators CMEA needed an overhaul of their All-District and All-State audition management system, from student nomination to adjudication and ensemble placement. Our program also included a judge registration and assignment system. Billing and Notification is handled on line as well. And the entire process is paperless! Judges can enter ratings on a laptop, with an iPad or even on their smartphones! www.ctfest.net

Music Teachers National Association The Northern Virginia chapter of the MTNA needed to manage their very extensive music festivals for thousands of students. Our program took care of all needs, from registration, to scheduling, to online payments, to award tracking. www.mtfest.net