We're redesigning scheduling… and we think you’re going to love it. On September 8, all standard and deluxe versions of the software will have access to a new and improved scheduling interface that will empower leaders and inspire volunteers to greater levels of engagement.
Greater. Volunteer Engagement.
- Simplified schedule building in one centralized place
- Now, edit multiple-week schedules with one click
- Team communication and file sharing made easy
- Simple mobile experience for volunteers
- Communicate and confirm with volunteers in real-time
- Improved serving preference options for volunteers
Scheduling Redesigned From Creation to Completion.
When creating a schedule, you’re used to doing it from within a group. But now, Schedule Admins and MAs will also be able to create schedules from the main Schedules page.
A New Way to Create.
The new flow to create a schedule makes it much simpler to make one from scratch. We’ve simplified the interface and given you less steps to walk through, without removing any of the powerful functionality. For example, to add other times to a service (think: rehearsals, setup, prayer, or tear down), use the ‘Manage Meeting Times’ button.
Also, each week can have its own Schedule Organizer, who will receive all communication related to that schedule week. Whether creating a schedule or editing one, you’ll find all of that on this page.
After you’ve created the schedule, we’ve put even more customization power in your hands. Using the checkboxes, you can choose to edit any number of weeks at once.
When hovering over a week, you’ll notice an ellipsis on the right-hand side of the row. This ‘More’ menu gives you easy actions for just that week. You can use it to quickly edit that week’s details or assign volunteers. Once schedule requests have been sent out, you’ll also be able to send an email to your scheduled volunteers. Once volunteers have accepted their schedule requests, you’ll be able to send out reminders. Volunteers with email addresses will receive an email reminder and volunteers with a mobile phone number and mobile carrier in their profile who are configured to receive text messages from the group will receive a reminder via text message.
Meet The Grid.
Now to the crème de la crème: our new Assign Volunteers Grid. This is your one stop for everything scheduling. You can now view any week in your schedule (past or future), giving you ultimate visibility into your schedule.
You’ll use the 'add volunteers' link, visible on hover, to start filling your schedule. To add a volunteer not filling the position, use the 'Add People to Position' tab. Volunteers you select will be added to the group and position. If that volunteer's serving preferences show them available to serve, they will appear selected on the ‘Available’ tab. Clicking ‘Save’ will schedule them for that week. From the ‘Unavailable’ tab, a scheduler can override any of a volunteer’s serving preferences (except a block out date).
Drag-and-drop Made Easy.
Once you have people on your schedule, you can drag and drop them from one week to another. This works for a single volunteer, a position, or a week.
Let Them Know.
Using the ‘Send Requests’ button, you are given a few options for how you want to send your requests. You can choose to send requests to just the ‘Selected Weeks’ loaded into the grid or all weeks in a schedule. You can also choose to send out not-yet-sent requests or reminders to volunteers still pending. Any volunteer with an email will be notified via email. Any volunteer set up to receive text messages will be notified via text.
Remember that ‘More’ menu for each week in the schedule? Hovering over a volunteer on the schedule gives you that familiar ellipsis. From here you can send a quick email to the volunteer, change their status, or remove them from that week's schedule.
You no longer have to go to another page to add files or email the volunteers. Using the ‘add files’ button allows you to attach files from your computer or from the group’s files. The paperclip icon shows how many files are attached to a week. By clicking on the paperclip, volunteers can view and download the files for the week, while people with Schedule privileges can view, download, and remove files from the schedule week. If you’d like to email all of the requested volunteers for a week, just click the envelope icon.
This is for Volunteers, too!
Volunteers can use the Grid, too. By clicking on their schedule assignments, they’ll be able to see that week in the Grid. They will be able to view all of the weeks (past and future) for that schedule if they use the ‘View More Weeks’ button.
They will also be able to hover over a fellow volunteer and send them a quick email using the ‘More’ menu.
The Grid is Smart.
We’ve added some things to make the Grid work seamlessly:
- The Grid knows who you are.
Volunteers will not have any editing privileges on the Grid, while a Schedule Organizer will only have editing privileges on the weeks they are organizing. A Schedule Organizer can only send requests for the weeks they organize, while a volunteer won’t even see the ‘Send Requests’ button.
- The Grid knows who everyone else is.
If no one in a week has a status of Accepted, Pending, or Declined, you won’t see the envelope icon, since you couldn’t email anyone anyway. You also won’t be able to send an email to a volunteer if they don’t have an email address.
- The Grid knows what day it is.
Anyone can view past weeks. You can even drag from past weeks. But you won’t be able to edit past weeks: no dragging and dropping to past weeks, no changing volunteers’ statuses, no adding or removing volunteers, and no adding new files.
Improved Serving Preference Options
We've also made some changes to how volunteers set their serving preferences. With this update, we wanted to make it easier on Schedule Organizers to find volunteers to serve, and we wanted to make a hassle-free way for volunteers to set their own availability.
Block Out Dates
We gave the Block Out Dates calendar a facelift and updated look, but we are also providing a more smooth experience.
Unable to serve one Sunday? Click the day to block it out. Change your mind? Click a blocked out day to become available again. Going on a family vacation? Click and drag over a group of days and it’ll block them all out. Change of plans? Click the gray ‘Unavailable’ bar or drag over a group of blocked out days to make them available again.
Serving preferences are now set by position rather than group. This gives your volunteers more control and flexibility over their schedule.
Volunteers will now see a list of all the positions they fill, and can drag and drop those positions to indicate their serving preference. Within each position, they can choose which services they want to serve, and then can indicate certain weeks to serve or limit their availability by maximum number of weeks per month they are available. Where previously a volunteer was limited to serving 5 times in a month, we've changed this to be a maximum of 5 weeks per month. This means a volunteer can be scheduled to serve multiple times within a week without it affecting their overall availability for that month.
How did we make this work better for volunteer organizers? New volunteers are now defaulted to ‘always available’ rather than only available once a month. We hope that by giving volunteers more granular control over their preferences they will use it more. If they use it more, organizers will have a better feel for which volunteers are available and it’ll lead to less scheduling request declines.
Accessing Your Preferences
To access your schedule, click on ‘Serve’. From there, you can click on ‘Availability to Serve’ to set your own availability.
If you’re a primary contact or spouse, you can set any of your family’s availability by clicking on the "Availability to serve" link in their profile. Certain church leaders (MA, Full Read/Write, Group Leader, Schedule Admin, Schedule Organizer) are also able to set availability for volunteers they lead.
Church Community Builder exists to help churches like yours grow disciples, and we hope that this newly improved scheduling tool will help you increase engagement and growth among your volunteers.