MSP Secrets: The art of scheduling families made easy

In this new series, MSP Secrets, we'll highlight often-overlooked features within Ministry Scheduler Pro that will save time and frustration!

As a scheduler, you're probably familiar with accommodating volunteer preferences – like preferred service times and unavailable dates. But what happens when family members cannot volunteer together due to any number of special circumstances? Today we'll look at tips and tricks for keeping family members together – or scheduled separately – depending on your needs.

By default, Ministry Scheduler Pro will try to keep families together, scheduled at the same service. It will not schedule family members for multiple services on the same weekend. However, there may be situations where a family needs to avoid volunteering together, such as:

  • A husband and wife attend services with small children who need supervision. One parent might be able to serve, but the other parent must remain in the pew or cry room with the children.
  • A family that takes care of a sick and housebound grandmother must leave at least one responsible adult or older teen home while the rest of the family attends services.

The Workaround

While we'll still be grouping the volunteers as a family, we'll want to designate volunteers who cannot be scheduled together using the Babysitting function. Just set up the Family Grouping, select a family member who will be a Babysitter, check the "Babysitter" box below the list of family members, and repeat for each Babysitter.

MSP will ensure never to schedule all of this family's babysitters for the same service. Be sure to designate more than one Babysitter; however, if you only select one family member, then that individual will never be scheduled as a volunteer.

But suppose other situations arise involving distressed families or relationships between non-family members. For example, perhaps a couple is divorced. Although they continue to serve in their church volunteer roles, they may not want to be assigned to the same services.

What's the solution? Perhaps surprisingly, it's the Babysitter function once again!

The Family Groupings you establish do not have to be literal "families." People marked as babysitters can't see or switch between family members' profiles on the Web Terminal, so they wouldn't know they've been grouped. Simply set up a Family Grouping that includes the two individuals that need not be scheduled together and mark each volunteer as "Babysitters." This trick can separate anybody who doesn't want to be scheduled together for whatever reason.

Although scheduling families may be complicated, MSP makes it easy for them to get involved in ministry – whether that means scheduling members together or apart! To learn more best practices for scheduling families in Ministry Scheduler Pro, visit the MSP Help Center.

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