Planning Your VBS on a Budget

VBS Budget

As you approach your 2020 planning season for Vacation Bible School, it’s important to establish a budget early on. Working with your VBS and church leadership teams 6 to 9 months in advance to create a budget will enable you to plan to succeed. Nothing is worse than having a grand idea but not having the budget to see it to fruition because you didn’t plan well. So, plan – plan – plan!

One thing I know from church ministry is you could always use more money to carry out the mission! While that may seem discouraging, it doesn’t have to be. One of the beautiful things about KidMin is you get the opportunity to partner with God to be creative, think outside the box, collaborate with others, and have fun doing it.

If you find yourself in 2020 needing to plan your VBS on a shoestring budget, take heart! You can do it! As you think about your budget I encourage you to…

begin with the end in mind!

Gather with your VBS leadership team and start your VBS planning by thinking of the end. When VBS 2020 is over, what do you hope to have accomplished? Are you looking to increase attendance? Do you hope to decorate your space more? Is your target demographic church families or unchurched families?

After you’ve spent some time praying about and thinking through the end goal, plan for the non-negotiables, meaning – what are the must have items in order to accomplish your end goal? If increased attendance is a priority, you need to plan to allocate more money toward marketing. If creating a more aesthetically pleasing environment is a goal, plan to allocate more money toward décor. You get the picture – build your budget with the end in mind. Plan for the big purchases first. Once you have done that, here are a few ideas to help you cut costs.

Download our FREE VBS Budget Spreadsheet!

This VBS budget spreadsheet includes three sections – a top level budget; a detailed level that also calculates over/under budget; plus a donations tracking list.

1. Partner with another church

Do other churches in your community host a VBS? Perhaps you could partner with one by offering the same theme and sharing some of your resources. Not only is this a way to save money, it is also a great opportunity to build relationship with other faith based organizations in your city. While you may work at different churches, you are all on one team loving people with the love of Jesus.

2. Pinterest is your best friend!

I’m convinced there is nothing new under the sun. And when it comes to decorating a kid space around a theme, there are so many ideas to give you inspiration! Did you know we have Pinterest boards for each of the VBS theme that are full of ideas to decorate your space? VBS_TopLevelBudget_2019Many of the curriculums also offer very affordable backdrops for you to start with and build on. Here’s the deal with KidMin & Pinterest… you’ll find many DIY projects that, while they may be cost-effective, will be time consuming. If you plan for time consuming projects, no big deal. If you don’t, bring some ibuprofen and coffee!

3. Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose

Get creative! Think about what you want your space to look like. Now, think about how to make that happen with what you already have, what a friend already has, or what you might be able to purchase second hand for cheap (think yard sales, Goodwill, Savers, etc). Maybe you struggle because you feel you aren’t creative enough? Recruit to your weakness and look for a volunteer that has that crafty eye. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

4. Ask for donations

Ask for help from both those in your church and outside your church. Is there a local bakery that gets rid of products at the end of the day?  Perhaps they would consider donating those to you the week of VBS to use for snacks. Another idea is to make a list of supplies needed, cut out handprints with those supplies written on them and post those at the door of your Sunday School classrooms. Then you can ask parents to ‘lend a hand by taking a hand’ and purchasing the item they select. Finally, many businesses donate a certain amount of money each year to non-profits, look into those resources locally. When you’re working on a budget, every little bit helps. Don’t forget, if you ask for help – say thank you! Take the time send a thank you card, tag the donors on social media and give them a shout out, or follow up after the event letting them know what their contribution helped you accomplish.

Click here for a handy (and free!) VBS Budget Spreadsheet

This VBS budget spreadsheet includes three sections – a top level budget; a detailed level that also calculates over/under budget; plus a donations tracking list.

5. Keep the main things the main things

This is huge. Think back to begin with the end in mind. I hope for each of you one of your main end goals is to love children well! With that in mind, think about what it takes to love a child with the love of Christ. The décor, the fun crafts, the delicious snacks are good but they will never replace an environment that has been prayed over and leaders that are walking in the fruit of the Spirit and caring about a child’s heart. Keep the main things the main things. Kids will remember how you make them feel more than how cool the decorations and crafts were.

Good luck, friends! We pray VBS 2020 is a year where you see your vision come to life. Tag @christianbook on social media and show us what your VBS program is up to. We want to see your creativity in action!

To shop all things VBS 2020 click here! 

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