The importance -- and challenge -- of engaging your tech-challenged volunteers

Technology can save you time and help more people get involved in ministry. But you don’t want those benefits at the expense of alienating tech-challenged volunteers, who are often the backbone of your ministry. In this article, we cover the steps for using Ministry Scheduler Pro to keep both tech-challenged and tech-savvy volunteers in the loop, while still using a software solution that makes the process more efficient for you!

Gather availability
Right now, the process for gathering availability from your volunteers may include phone calls, emails, a spreadsheet, or sticky notes to keep track of all the replies. When implementing a scheduling system such as MSP, collecting availability from your volunteers is much more streamlined. For your tech-savvy volunteers, you can use a preconfigured email template to ask your volunteers to submit their service preferences and can't serve dates through the online Web Terminal. You can then place an article in the weekly bulletin, or make an announcement at service, asking people to check their email for these instructions. For those volunteers without email access, give clear steps on what availability info you're looking for, and who they should contact with that information. When that handful of tech-challenged volunteers gives you a call, you can easily add availability dates to their volunteer profile on their behalf right from within MSP.

Quick and easy scheduling
Regardless of how a volunteer's service preferences are entered into MSP, whether it's by the volunteer or by you, all of your volunteers' availability will be automatically accommodated when it comes time to make a schedule. No matter how many tech-savvy or tech-challenged volunteers you have, MSP can quickly create a schedule according to your needs. To learn more about creating schedules in MSP, check out this video.

Communicate the schedule
Once the schedule is ready, you'll need to communicate that info to everyone through their preferred method of contact. For your tech-savvy volunteers, send a preconfigured and personalized email that includes the schedule and invites volunteers to make changes on their own right from the Web Terminal in real-time. For your volunteers without internet access, generate and print mailing labels and a copy of the schedule right from MSP, and pop it in the mail. Pro-tip: If you have a volunteer that prefers a paper schedule, but can also receive email, send them both a digital and a paper copy of the schedule. This may be a baby step to help them ditch the paper schedule entirely!

Changes made easy
Life inevitably happens, and your volunteers may need to find a replacement. This process varies from church to church, but volunteers are usually tasked with calling around to find a sub, or the responsibility falls on the scheduler. You can make this process much simpler and more effective by having a scheduling system like MSP in place. With MSP, tech-savvy volunteers can use the Web Terminal to request a sub at any time. For your tech-challenged volunteers, encourage them to contact you when they need a sub, but then let MSP do the work! As the scheduler, you can make changes to the schedule anytime, including requesting subs on behalf of any volunteer.

You can take this a step further with the Plus Edition by utilizing Ministry Leaders! Ministry Leaders can request subs and make changes to the schedule on behalf of other volunteers, even right from their phone. Designating yourself as a Ministry Leader will also be helpful for those times when a volunteer runs into you at a fish fry and has a schedule request. Instead of adding something to your to-do list, you can make the schedule change right then and there.

Even if you have a group of volunteers who aren't tech-savvy, everyone can still benefit from a technology-based solution like MSP. All of your volunteers can have a schedule tailored to their preferences, receive their schedule in the manner they prefer, and quickly request a sub. Contact our expert team to find out how adding MSP to your toolbelt can help today!