This year is proving to be unlike any other we have seen in our lifetimes. There are challenges personally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually. One challenge many of us are facing is making decisions about hosting in-person events at church, such as Vacation Bible School. Do we host our VBS in person later in the summer? Do we switch to an all-digital platform? Or is there another answer? No matter how we decide to continue our children’s ministry through VBS another question arises: how do we stay connected and communicate our plans for VBS? The solution: come up with a simple four-step plan of who, what, how, and when!
The first step in your VBS communications plan should be to figure out who you’re communicating with.
- When you know your audience, you can tailor your message to be personal and consistent.
- You’ll want your volunteers on board and aware of your message before you send or share it. That way, they can adjust their plans accordingly.
- The three groups you should consider reaching out to are your current students and their families, people who have visited your church in the past, and those in your community.
- While some of these groups may be easier to communicate with than others, there are different ways and platforms to reach each of these audiences so you can share God’s word with as many children as possible.
Now that you have your list of who you will share your VBS information with, the next step is to come up with your message.
- Now more than ever, people are wanting as many personal touches and relationships as they can get, so make your message personal! One possible way to do this is to include photos or quotes from kids on what they like best about VBS.
- Keep your audience in mind and tailor your message to that group.
- Be sure to include dates, times, and registration information. If you are hosting a digital VBS, make sure to point your audience to your website or hub.
- Be clear about what your VBS will look like this year and what parents can expect from your event.
Now that you know your audience and have your message, it’s time to decide how to spread the word about your VBS.
- Email is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reach a specific audience and personalize the message you are sending. Remember to also send an email to all congregation members so they can help spread the word by forwarding your email as well!
- Post details about your VBS event on your church’s Facebook page, Instagram, or Twitter account. Encourage congregation members to share posts with friends and family.
- Don’t forget to create an event for VBS on Facebook so you can send invitations directly to those who are already connected with you or your church. If your church has the budget, consider boosting the event through the ads tool to reach a broader audience.
- If you’re using a page or event, send visitors a sponsored message in Facebook Messenger to keep the conversation going and to answer any specific questions they might have about VBS.
Digital avenues are not the only way to share your VBS event with families and your community.
- Consider sending handwritten cards or letters, save-the-date postcards, or a printed flyer. Kids will love getting mail with something that is just for them. (These are also a way to keep that personal feel that people are craving!)
- Adding information about your VBS into your church’s newsletter or weekly bulletin is another way to remind members of your upcoming event.
- You could also hang a outdoor banner at your church that can be seen by anyone driving or walking along the street. (Just be sure to include your website so passersby can find more information.)
The last question to answer in your communication plan is when to start sending messages and save-the-dates.
- It is a good idea to start planting the message of your VBS as soon as possible so families know the details in advance and plan around the date.
- Start small; when planning your communications, quality matters over quantity. Aim for one email and/or one social post a week to begin with, and build from there.
- Focus on short, meaningful messages to share with your congregation.
- Use a mixture of photos, videos, and written communications. A good variety of content will help capture and keep people’s attention.
With this four-step communication plan in place, you are sure to engage families and create interest in your VBS.
Explore resources for your digital VBS experience.