Setting Up // Building departments and Assigning Volunteers in Elvanto

Departments help you to manage your volunteers. This page offers some tips and things to consider when building your departments.

Elvanto separates your volunteers into sub-departments and departments to make rostering your volunteers easier. Depending on what positions an individual is assigned to, they will automatically be suggested for those positions.

Here’s how we recommend building your departments.


Departments are the broadest way to divide your church’s volunteers. This is a great way to separate the volunteers who help out during the main service from those who volunteer for children’s ministries, or those who greet people at the door.

When deciding how many departments, or what departments your church has, you should consider the structure of your church. If your church has a creative ministries head and a children’s ministries head, then the volunteers from these areas are probably best separated into two different departments. Departments should be used almost every Sunday.

Most churches will have a Creative Ministries Department (including the musicians and production team), a Children’s Ministries Department (including children’s ministry volunteers), and a Hospitality or Hosting Department (including greeters, ushers, or even people to serve morning tea).


Sub-departments are for dividing departments up into smaller groups that serve together. Your Creative Ministries Department, for example, might include sub-departments for singers, instrumentalists, sound, and drama.

You don’t have to use every sub-department every week. In many churches, the communion sub-department (within the Hospitality Department) is only used from time to time.


Positions are fairly self-explanatory. These are the roles that your volunteers need to fill within the service. Your singers sub-department, for example, might have a Worship Leader and a Back-up Singer position. However, you might split your singers more specifically, in order to avoid harmonies clashing. In this case, your singers sub-department might have Worship Leader, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass positions.

When setting your positions, think about whether you expect your volunteers to do something different depending on their position. For example, you might expect one guitarist to play a lead role, and the other to play rhythm guitar. If so, have two different positions.

If you expect volunteers to do basically the same thing (like ushers, or communion preparers), then make only one position and set the position in the Service Type to allow multiple volunteers for that position. Making one broad position to encompass multiple volunteers is also a good idea for churches with more obscure instruments. Trombone or saxophone players, for example, could be included in one sub-department position: ‘Brass’.

For more about how to build or edit your departments, visit this page.

Assigning Volunteers

In order to fill Positions, you need to allow your assign your Volunteers. Doing so will give you a list of volunteers to choose from whenever you fill a Position.

To read more about how to assign volunteers, visit this page.


For some positions, you need to give every opportunity for people to volunteer. Self-assign allows people to volunteer for things from the comfort of their own homes, without having to wonder whether their friends will think they’re nerdy for knowing how to run the multi-media.

Before turning on Self-assign, consider whether you need to check the competency of those volunteering before they do their job. For example, people need no special skills to be able to collect the offering, whereas they need substantial training to be a worship leader. Leave Self-assign on for Offering Collectors, but turn it off for Worship Leaders. For the positions in between them (such as musicians), also consider how likely someone is to put their hand up for that position if they doubt they actually have the skill.

Self-assign is on by default, but you can turn it off for Departments, Sub-departments, or individual positions.

To see how to do this, visit this page.

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