Depending on your scheduling needs, you may need to set up Families. To configure Families, you will first need to unhide this pane by going to VSP’s Edit menu at the top of the screen and choosing “Show all panes.” You will then see a Families pane and a Teams pane appear on the left-hand side of the window.

When volunteers are grouped into a family in VSP, two main things happen. First, family members can be scheduled at the same shift more easily (if you are using the auto-scheduler), and second, they can switch between one another’s profiles in the Web Terminal online.

If you import volunteers into VSP, you will be prompted to group family members together. You can also manually create and manage families from the Families pane of VSP. To create a new family, click the “New Family…” button. The options in the Edit Family dialog will be explained below.

General Information

Family Name
Enter the name of the family. If you have more than one family with the same last name, you will need to differentiate their names somehow (for example “The Joan Smith Family” and “The Bob Smith Family”).

Members
To add new volunteers as members to the family, click the “Add…” button and add them from the list of volunteers.

Babysitter
By declaring certain family members as babysitters, you can ensure that VSP’s auto-scheduler does not schedule them at the same time as other designated babysitters in the family. To declare a volunteer a babysitter, click on their name, and check the Babysitter box. Then, do the same for a second volunteer. Note: If only one person is declared as a babysitter, they will never be placed on the schedule when using the auto-scheduler.

Phone, Cell, Email, Address
These fields are fairly self-explanatory. If you specified that individual volunteers should be bound to their family’s phone, email, cell, or address, their individual volunteer profiles will list what is entered in the “Edit Family” dialog.

Comments
A free-form field used for any random or extraneous notes about the family

Scheduling Parameters

Shift preferences
In this area you can specify shift preferences for the selected family. Click the Add button to add a new shift preference, or the Remove button to remove an existing preference. By checking the “Schedule only at these shifts” box, you are telling VSP the family is only available at the listed preference times. You can bind all family members to this preference by checking the “Bind service time preferences to family’s” option in the individual volunteers’ profiles.

Preferred serving frequency
This setting is only applicable if you are using VSP’s auto-scheduler to fill your positions. You can use this feature to explicitly tell VSP how often to schedule a family. You can set a family’s preferred frequency as a multiple of the normal (average) frequency or as a set number of hours per week, month, or year.

Unavailable dates / times
Use this section to indicate any times at which a family should not be scheduled. Click “Add…” to add a new unavailable time. You can specify a family as unavailable on certain dates or during a date range, at a particular shift, or on a recurring basis.

Never schedule this family without all of its members
Check this box if you would like the scheduler to ensure that this family is never scheduled at any shift without all of its members present.

Allow members of this family to be split up in jobs for which families are flagged to always be scheduled together
This setting corresponds to the “Never split up family members in this job” setting in the Edit Jobs… dialog. Checking this box can be used to override that setting for just a particular family.

Make this family inactive for now (don’t schedule)
This setting makes the whole family inactive and unavailable to be scheduled.