It is possible to divide a ministry into subdivisions by clicking the “New…” button below the Subdivision list for each subdivision you would like to create. Ministry subdivisions are useful in several different situations.

First, if you have a skill level or position in a ministry for which only some volunteers in the ministry are qualified to serve, then you can accommodate this situation by creating a subdivision for that skill level.

You will be able to specify different volunteers be qualified to serve in each subdivision you create. For example, if you have two types of Extraordinary ministers (host and cup) and some of your volunteers can serve only as hosts, and others as both hosts and cups, then you should create two subdivisions, one for each type of minister. You will be able to specify later (when you create your volunteers) the exact subdivisions in which each volunteer can serve.

When you create a subdivision, you will specify a “schedule label” that will be used in schedules to indicate when a volunteer is scheduled to serve in that subdivision. A subdivision’s schedule label may or may not be the same as its “internal name”, which is used to refer to the subdivision inside the program. For example, “H” can be used as the schedule label for the subdivision with the internal name of “Host”, and “C” can be used as the schedule label for subdivision with the internal name of “Cup”. (You can specify a blank schedule label for a subdivision if you don’t want to indicate that the subdivision exists in your final schedules.)

Another common purpose for subdivisions is to ensure that service times are equally distributed.

Using subdivisions for this purpose makes use of the fact that the scheduling engine will equally distribute each volunteer’s scheduling among all of the subdivisions in which the volunteer is qualified to serve. For example, suppose we have a 9:00 AM and a 12:00 PM service and that two readers must be scheduled for each service. We would like to ensure that every reader has about half of his services in the morning and half in the afternoon. This situation can be accommodated by creating two subdivisions in the Reader ministry, one named Morning and the other Afternoon.

The schedule labels for both of these subdivisions can be left blank since we don’t need any indication to be shown on our schedules that these subdivisions exist.

There is just one more step needed to complete this process and ensure that our morning and afternoon service times will be equally distributed. When we create service times, we need to specify that two readers from the Morning subdivision are required at each 9:00 AM service, and that two readers from the Afternoon subdivision are required at each 12:00 PM service, instead of just specifying that two readers are required at both times. (How to specify this will be apparent when you are entering your service times.) Since MSP will equally distribute each volunteer’s scheduling amongst the two subdivisions, each volunteer will also get an equal share of the two different service times.

The last common use for subdivisions is aesthetic.

Using subdivisions, you can group somewhat related ministries together in order to have them all appear in a single column or row in your final schedules in the tabular schedule layouts. For example, suppose we want one person scheduled in each of our services as a music coordinator, one scheduled to bring drinks, and one to bring rolls. We could create a separate ministry for each of these tasks, but that would result in schedules exported in tabular format containing a column or row for each of the ministries – not the most efficient use of space. Instead, we can create one “Other” ministry with three subdivisions: “Music,” “Drinks,” and “Rolls.” Now there will only be one column for the “Other” ministry and the music coordinator and drinks and rolls volunteers will all be listed in this column.

Since a subdivision’s schedule label is shown after a volunteer that has been scheduled in that subdivision, we will still be able to tell who has been scheduled for what task, but the tabular schedules will use much less space.