Easy Seasonal Volunteer Scheduling

summer volunteer scheduling

The sun is shining, school is out, and the smells of sunblock and barbecue can only mean one thing–summer is here! Summer is always an exciting season for our customers as it usually means more fun in the sun with friends and family. It’s also peak travel season around the world, which can also be a bit more difficult to navigate when scheduling your volunteers. But just as quickly as it came, summer will come to a close and everyone will be transitioning into fall. The transition from season to season often calls for volunteer schedulers to make special adjustments in their volunteer schedules. Luckily, Volunteer Scheduler Pro has a few built-in features that can make the transition easier for everyone and keep your volunteer roster full.

Here are a couple of key features schedulers can use this summer to help you make the most out of Volunteer Scheduler Pro software:

Remind volunteers to input vacation dates

According to a survey by AAA, more than one-third of Americans will take a family vacation over the summer. Some of your regular volunteers might be out of town, but you can still keep your rosters full with Volunteer Scheduler Pro. VSP has built-in email templates that make it easy to send important information to volunteers.

Use the “Request for updates to availability” template to remind volunteers to input their vacation dates, which allows volunteers to update their summer availability, so you can keep shifts filled before creating summer volunteer schedules. In this email template you can include a little blurb to remind people to input their summer vacation dates.

Collecting all of this information before the schedule is created saves valuable time and reduces the amount of swaps that need to be made later on.

If you’re unfamiliar with emailer, check out the short video we created to help you learn how to use VSP’s Emailer feature.

Emailer in Volunteer Scheduler Pro


Display special summer activities in VSP

Do you have volunteer outings or events planned this summer? The Web Terminal is a great place to display any summer events or special announcements. The terminal functions as an online bulletin board for your volunteers, helping volunteers stay up to date with special summer events. You can easily customize your organization’s Web Terminal to make it unique to the season with different headers, font styles, sizes, and colors.

Need step-by step instructions? Check out our detailed guide on how to make Web Terminal content changes in VSP.

Beyond using VSP to stay up to date on seasonal scheduling, there are plenty of other ways to keep your volunteers informed about any changes. Using the Emailer feature you can send an email to volunteers inviting them to follow your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. Social media accounts not only keep them engaged with the organization, but can also serve as additional modes of communication with your workforce.

Are you still on the fence about Volunteer Scheduler Pro but want to see these features in action? Start a 15-Day Free Trial now.


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Learn how to schedule shifts with Volunteer Scheduler Pro’s mobile app

When volunteers download the free app, they can log in to:

View their scheduled shifts…                                           Request a sub or access notes about the shift…


View and sign up for open positions…                              And submit away dates and profile information.


Want to see the app in action?

  1. Sign up for a 15-Day Free Trial.
  2. Open the free trial of VSP on your computer. Set up some jobs, shifts, volunteers and a sample schedule using the Quick Start Guide.
  3. Go to the Web Terminal pane on the left side of the program.
  4. Click the “Login as…” button in the bottom right corner. Single click on a name. Write down the username and password that you should see appear in bold below.
  5. Go to the Subscribe pane on the left side of the program and write down your Organization Web Identifier. This is known as your Organization ID in the app.
  6. Download the app on your iOs or Android device. Enter the Organization ID, Username, and Password you wrote down from the administrator program.
  7. Explore the app!*

Once you have the full version of Volunteer Scheduler Pro, you can easily send your volunteers all the information they need to log into the app using templates provided in VSP’s Emailer!

*Note: During a free trial, no emails or messages will be sent through the admin program or the mobile app.

Resources for the Non-Internet Savvy

Do you have some volunteers who like things “the old way” and just aren’t ready to use technology? Or volunteers with an email address but are still getting comfortable with navigating the web? MSP can still help you save time and frustration when it comes to volunteer scheduling.

Identify your offline volunteers

First, for any volunteers who don’t feel as comfortable with computers, un-check the “Has internet access” box in their profile. For anyone without an email address, this box will be unchecked by default. This way you can quickly identify the volunteers who are not as accessible online, and this may be a great way to transition the ‘less tech savvy so that they are getting emails and hard copies.

Easily contact and collect preferences

When it is time collect preferences or away dates for offline volunteers, use MSP’s filtering tools to identify those that need to be contacted by phone or in person.  By filtering right in the Volunteer pane, you will have an easy to manage list of those volunteers with their contact information handy and their profile easy to edit while you chat! You can also use MSP’s Rosterizer to apply the same filtering tools and run a report with names and contact information for these volunteers to have in one handy place.

Print copies of the full schedule

Once the schedule is finalized, export the schedule and print it. This can be used to post in the church or hand out/mail to volunteers who won’t be accessing it online.

Give offline volunteers a printed copy of their schedule

When sending out the “schedule finalized” email to all of your volunteers, in addition to sending the email with the Send button, we can click the Print button to select “Print – Copies for those without internet access.” This will allow all volunteers to have a copy of their own schedule, either as an email or as a physical letter.

For those volunteers who have an email address but are not very comfortable on the computer (and who we have un-checked the “Has internet access” box), they will receive the email and also have a copy printed for them. this may be a great way to transition the less tech savvy so that they are getting emails and hard copies.

Increase font sizes

Do you have more mature volunteers that would benefit from reading in a larger font? Use the size menu in the Emailer to increase the font size before you print copies for those without internet access.

Or, help your mature volunteers who do use the Web Terminal by teaching them to increase the font size in their web browser. This is found in the settings area of the browser. Look for “zoom” or “magnification”.

Print Mailing Labels

And if you won’t see a volunteer at church to hand out the printed papers, use the Mailing Labels pane to print labels for those without internet access to send them in the mail.

Get help from Ministry Leaders

In the Plus edition of MSP, you can designate lead volunteers as Ministry Leaders who can identify volunteers without internet access that need a sub and can request a sub for them!


Reasons to attend the Getting Started with MSP webinar

If you are new to Ministry Scheduler Pro or if you have been using the program for a while and want a refresher, this webinar is for you. In addition to going over the basics of the program, you will be pointed to helpful resources for each section of the presentation so you can get all of the information you need. Join us for this webinar to:

Learn best practices for setting up your database

In this webinar, you will learn how to set up your ministries, service times, and volunteers.  Having an overview of this process will give you a big picture of how set up works and allow you to map out what works best for your church. A thorough overview of setup will help ensure that your database is set up the right way from the start.

Discover ways to make and fill a schedule

MSP is a dynamic program that provides you with options for how to fill your schedule with volunteers. This webinar will walk you through all of these capabilities of the program and help you determine which one corresponds with how your church does scheduling.

Participate in a live Q & A

Ask our Head of Tech Support any questions you have about the program! If we do not get to your question live, we will make sure to email you with an answer .

Onboard new schedulers

If you have a second, third, or fourth person taking on some scheduling responsibilities, this presentation is a perfect way to introduce them to the program. You can show them this general overview before diving into the specifics.

If this webinar interests you but you are not available to watch it live, you can view the recorded copy afterward by checking the Webinars page.


Summer Scheduling in Ministry Scheduler Pro

The sun is shining, temperatures are rising, and summer is approaching quickly. This transition into the new season often calls for ministry schedulers to make some special adjustments in the church schedule – and MSP is here to help!

Changing service times or ministry requirements

For changes in service times or ministry requirements from season to season, you can easily make adjustments in the Service Times pane of MSP – even creating different sets of services for a particular season if needed. The changes you make to the times or ministry requirements for services in this area will all be reflected the next time a schedule is created. If you have services that are not held during the summer months, it just takes one click to make them inactive so that they will not appear on your summer schedule.

Remind volunteers to input vacation dates

MSP has built-in email templates that make it easy to send important information to volunteers. One of these templates is called  “Request for updates to availability” and allows volunteers to input all of the times they cannot serve before you run a schedule. In this email template, you can include a little blurb to remind people to be sure to input their summer vacation dates. Collecting all of this information before the schedule is created saves valuable time and reduces the amount of swaps that need to be made later on.

Display special summer activities

Having a church picnic or outing this summer? The Web Terminal is a great place to display these special summer events as it can function as an online bulletin board for your volunteers. You can even edit the font size, color, and header of the Web Terminal to make it unique to the season or your particular church.

Want to see these features in action? Start a 30-Day Free Trial or purchase risk-free with our six-month money-back guarantee.


The Volunteer Scheduler Pro Google Group is an exciting opportunity for subscribers to share scheduling challenges and successes, and also learn how others are leveraging VSP to schedule and grow their volunteer programs.

You may join the discussion group by clicking the link below. The discussion group is hosted by Google, so the sign-up is done through the Google website. If you don’t already have a Google account, it’s easy to create one as part of the sign-up process.

If you don’t have a Google account, click here to create one and join the “Using VSP Discussion Group.”

If you do have a Google account, click here to join the “Using VSP Discussion Group.”

If you have questions please contact us at support@volunteerschedulerpro.com.

Ministry Leaders! 3 Reasons to Celebrate St. Isidore

Today, is April 4th, the feast day of St. Isidore of Seville, the patron saint of the Internet and technology.

Who was St. Isidore?

St. Isidore was deeply committed to the preservation of the Church’s past and wanted to prevent the dissemination of any teachings that were inconsistent with its history. Because of this, St Isidore compiled a vast encyclopedia of knowledge, known as the “Etymologiae”, which has been compared to the structure of a database.

Before you log into the Web Terminal or send out an email, think of St. Isidore and the path he paved to the technologies we have today.  If you are a Ministry Leader, you may have the following reasons to be extra thankful for this patron saint:

  1. Not having to call each of your volunteers about their schedule. Whew! What would once take hours, now takes a few minutes with the simple click of a button
  2. The ability to access shared documents online. You never have to worry about misplacing an important paper or having disorganized drawers of files– think of all the trees you are saving
  3. Requesting subs on behalf of volunteers and eliminating no shows. Long gone are the days of panic, searching the pews for scheduled volunteers. Keep everyone on the same page with a Web Terminal that updates with each and every change.

Spring Cleaning with MSP!

After Easter, you might be spending some time cleaning out your church office and packing away decorations until next year. Why not bring some of that energy and organization into your volunteer scheduling? Here are some spring cleaning tips to ensure summer scheduling goes smoothly:

- Clear out old “Can’t serve dates/times”

Keep your database tidy and get rid of old can’t serve times. To do this, go to the Volunteers pane in MSP, click on a volunteer, and then “Edit Volunteer”. On the right side in the “Can’t serve times” section, click the “Clean…” button and choose “Clean all.” Click OK when done, and all expired can’t serve times will be removed.

- Onboard new volunteers and check in with current ones

With all the hustle and bustle of New Years and Easter, you’ve likely had a spike in interest in volunteering. Capture that momentum and be sure to get those folks into your system or send them your enrollment form so they can get started themselves. Now is also a great time to check in with your current volunteers, thank them for their service, and ask them to update their profiles. If you haven’t heard from some volunteers in a while, consider whether or not now is the time to remove these long-time inactive members from your volunteer list. If you are not sure, we recommend emailing your inactive volunteers to see if they plan to serve again in the future.  If they will not be returning to serve, just go to your Volunteers pane, find their name, and click the “Delete Volunteer” button.

-Update your Preassignments

Preassignments are the first positions to populate a schedule once you click the “Create…” button.  These preassignments may change with volunteers who have shifting spring and summer schedules. Take note of these changes and save yourself time by making sure everything is correct and in place before running your next schedule.


3 Tips to Help Your Congregation THRIVE This Easter

Written by John Gilman II

Easter is just around corner, giving churches across the land the opportunity to snag a few “CEO” Christians. The affectionate moniker refers to people who attend church on “Christmas and Easter Only”. For many, it’s a chance to don their fanciest church attire and engage in the annual tradition of an Easter service. For church leaders, it’s a chance to make a genuine connection that could lead to life change, and few more committed members.

To make the most of Easter Sunday church members should be encouraged and empowered to engage in the service itself as well as the promotion of your special event.

The following are some specific examples, but are by no means the only great ideas out there. It might behoove you to poll your people to see what unique opportunities would fit your community.

Here are three easy tips to increase engagement in the vitality of the Spring season.

1) Hold a Concert

- Your worship band or choir works really hard every Sunday at something they love to do. Allowing them to showcase their passion also gives them a better reason to invite friends and family who might not normally attend. After the worship service, you could even consider having a Karaoke contest to get church members involved and connected.

2) Schedule a Spring Cleaning

- In addition to clearing out the clutter in your homes and church, donating items to a local charity or selling them in a fundraising event is a great way to get members and volunteers involved in a creative, cost-effective, and meaningful way.

3) Host a 5k run/walk in The Neighborhood

- Yet another great way to get members and friends involved outside of Sunday services in a non-threatening and life-giving event. This could be a great follow up to an Easter Sunday special service.

Whatever you do on and surrounding Easter, make an event out of it. When people gather together for a specific purpose they see how their involvement in a local congregation breathes vitality into the lives of others. That fulfillment leads to excitement, creating momentum to propel your church into new life.

Get your members involved in sharing the news by posting all your event information online. From there, they can post it to social media, share it on their feeds, and invite new people to help your church thrive in a fresh new season.

As you make the most of this Easter opportunity, remember, people are searching for real relationships with real people. The people and activities in your church might be just what they’re looking for.

This article was written by John Gilman II of ACS Technologies. John is the Senior Director of Marketing and is chiefly responsible for Marketing’s overall corporate strategy and direction. He has traveled the world many times over working with some of America’s top brands and prominent non-profit ministries. John is passionate about helping the church make disciples. Follow John on Twitter through @ACSTech.

Tips for Easter Scheduling

Easter opens up special opportunities for volunteers to serve. But these new opportunities create special challenges for schedulers.  Use the tips below to ensure your Easter scheduling goes smoothly.

  • Create “Yearly Services”: Before you create your schedule containing your Easter dates, build your Easter services in the Service Times pane as new “Yearly Services.”  Once you create these services, they will appear in your schedule each year to come. MSP will even remind you to change the date of the service for future years.
  • Create “One-Time Services”: If you have already created your schedule but do not have your Easter services in the system yet, there is another option for you!  You will need to create your services directly on the schedule. Just find the date where one of these special services occurs and click “New Service.” These services will not repeat next year, though. So you’ll still want to go to the Service Times pane and create your Yearly services so you’re set for years to come!
  • Adjust Volunteer Preferences: If you have manually added a service to the schedule and are planning on auto-scheduling based on your volunteers’ preferences, you will want to check out the “Treat as” dropdown in this window to be sure the correct volunteers are scheduled. If you want any of your volunteers to be scheduled for any of your special services, regardless of service preferences, you will want to double check your Scheduler Settings to ensure they are correct.

For more help with scheduling Easter, check out Frequently Asked Questions on special services or watch the “Tips and Tricks for Scheduling Easter” webinar. Don’t hesitate to email support or ask the MSP discussion group for tips!