A client/friend set up a call with me recently to talk about the best way to set up their groups for volunteer scheduling. As we talked, I realized that it might be helpful to do a blog post to help church volunteers and staff consider how to set up volunteer teams to make scheduling as easy as possible.
Here are four questions to help you plan for scheduling volunteers.
- How many people do you need or have on a team?
- Do teams serve weekly, every other week, monthly, quarterly or as needed?
- Do you need teams for different services?
- Do you need to invite volunteers to serve or just remind them?
The best way to think of your serving teams is to think of them as small groups. If you have a team of 30 or more, are there some logical ways to organize them into 2 to 3 different groups. You can still link them together using the group profile questions and coaching structure, but teams of 8 to 15 are much easier to manage and schedule.
The most common way large teams are broken into smaller teams is by building the teams around their frequency of serving and service times. For instance, you may have nursery volunteers that serve once a month over 2 different services. If you need 2-3 volunteers each week per service, that means you need 4-6 volunteers per week x 5 weeks = at least 30 volunteers to give you some flexibility.
Rather than having a single group to schedule all of these, and since most volunteers have a preferred serving time, I would suggest you create a First Service and a Second Service nursery group of say 10-20 each depending on your needs. Then, create roles associated with that ministry area like Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5 and assign those roles to the matching volunteers.
You can scale this model as large as you need. If you need 12 volunteers per week per service and they just serve once a month like the previous example (12x2x5 = 120 volunteers), then divide your First and Second Service groups into 4 or 5 groups each based on weeks of service. i.e. First Service, Week 1; First Service, Week 2, ...
Our volunteer scheduling tool gives you the option either send an invitation for volunteers to serve that they accept or decline and then get reminders, or just get reminders. You can customize the reminder message and automate when they are sent. The default is 6 days and 1 day before volunteers are scheduled to serve.
There are many other common issues with volunteer scheduling perhaps for future blogs. Feel free to contact us anytime to help you think through how to best set up your teams / groups for volunteer scheduling. We love helping you!