Early and consistent promotion of the date, time, theme, and goals of VBS is strategic to a well-staffed and supported event. Potential workers need advanced notice to insure vacation and travel plans do not interfere with the dates of VBS. Other ministry leaders need the information to insure they do not over-schedule with competing activities.
Advanced information also helps the congregation become enthusiastic about the theme, and encourages the collection of theme related items that can be used for decorations and promotion, and resources for crafts and snacks.
Promotion has traditional been the responsibility of the VBS director, but I recommend you enlist someone to take charge of promotion. This might be a good job for someone who will not be available during the actual week of VBS, but eager to be involved and will have available time prior to the event. I promise that you, as the director, will have enough to do without also being responsible for getting the word out.
I have heard more than one VBS director lament that everyone worked hard to plan and prepare for VBS only to realize too late that promotion had been overlooked by a team busy with all the other details of VBS.
A promotion calendar and promotion team leader can insure that adequate information is distributed not only to the congregation but to the target audience you are hoping to reach.
The best promotion is released in waves. Instead of all information hitting with one big splash and then forgotten, information consistently rolls in like ocean waves. Each waves reveals more and build greater excitement for the event.
The first wave of information can be a simple announcement in the church bulletin or newsletter that provides the dates, times, and theme of VBS.
The second wave of information should be provided prior to the enlistment of workers. Along with a reminder of the dates and times, promotion should now include additional theme information, age groups being invited, and areas where workers will be needed. You want enthusiastic workers so make sure your promotion is exciting and inviting.
A third wave of information should be provided to encourage the congregation to help with the collection of craft and snack resources. Use this opportunity to not only educate the congregation about needed resources, but to increase their anticipation and enthusiasm about VBS.
By now the congregation should be well-aware of VBS, but the community and specifically your target audience hasn’t been invited. The final wave of promotion is actually a series of smaller waves that might include banners and posters, newspaper advertisements, door-to-door flyer distribution, social media, or a registration event.
There are two principles of promotion to keep in mind.
First, people need to receive the information in multiple ways. A big mistake is to assume that everyone who drives by your church will pay attention to your VBS banner. To assume that one flyer received in the mail or delivered to the door will grab and hold the desired attention is also a big mistake. People need to receive information in a variety of ways multiple times before they will act on it.
The second principle is word of mouth is still the very best form of publicity. One personal invitation is better than 100 pieces of mail.
Join the conversation. How will you be promoting VBS 2015?