There are many different tasks and types of workers needed to pull off a successful VBS. That’s why we’ve listed a variety of ways for you to recruit, train, and appreciate volunteers. Be sure to consult these “Seven Steps to Recruiting Success” often!
Step 1: Pray.
Ask God to help you find leaders to teach and share God’s Word. Ask your Pastor to include prayers for recruitment in your worship time. Ask church members to pray concerning your recruitment efforts. Provide a piece like the Prayer Calendar on the Director CD to provide specific direction for their prayers.
Step 2: Determine how many volunteers you need.
Base staff needs on enrollment numbers from the past two years. Here are some suggestions for calculating the number of volunteers you will need.
- Determine Administration and Support Team needs in the areas of Volunteer Recruitment, Registration, Decorations, Setup and Teardown Crews, Publicity, Administration, Audiovisual, and any others.
- 6 Site Leaders plus 1 Site Helper as needed.
- 1 Team Leader for every 6 elementary kids.
- Early Childhood: 1 leader plus 1 helper for every 5 preschoolers plus one leader for each site.
- Registration/Check-in Day: 1 helper for every 40 children.
Step 3: Identify volunteers.
Two heads are better than one, so be sure to build a team of networkers.
- Find varied people who can help you recruit across your church population.
- Ask your Pastor, church staff, and church leaders to suggest volunteer names.
- Seek active, committed Christians from all stages of life who enjoy teaching children.
- Seek people with flexible work schedules or those who get time off for service projects,
- Members can also help with planning, prepping snack or craft resources, decorating, or other administrative tasks.
Remember to allow enough time to process background checks for your volunteers before the beginning of VBS. Also, be sure to check your church’s child-safety policies.
Step 4: Recruit volunteers.
Set a positive tone and show enthusiasm and love for your VBS. You will want to show recruitment commercials from the Farm-tastic Overview DVD in the Starter Kit before or after worship services and at church meetings. Invite volunteers through worship bulletins, parish newsletters, and a themed registration table. Use phone, email, Facebook, or a letter asking individuals to volunteer. Send a mailing to your list of possible volunteers with a Volunteer Recruitment Letter (found on your Director CD) and a job description for a position that fits what you know of them.
Step 5: Provide training and resources for volunteers.
When volunteers say yes, provide them with the information and materials they need to accomplish the role. Give volunteers their resources and supplies early so they can prepare. Be sure to provide a training event for volunteers. Share your child-safety policies at the training sessions.
Step 6: Care for your volunteers.
Let volunteers know you will help; then support them with training and resources. Pair experienced volunteers with less-experienced ones to build confidence. Provide tips and support for working with kids with special needs. Offer suggestions for effective discipline. Affirm, thank, and recognize volunteers. Provide childcare for volunteers who have infants and toddlers.
Step 7: Support, nurture, and thank volunteers.
Use the Volunteer Commissioning on the Director CD in a worship service right before VBS. See the Pastor’s Overview for more information. Be sure to acknowledge volunteers, and encourage the church to show its support. Some ways that you can support volunteers include:
- Purchase T-shirts to identify volunteers.
- Make a nametag for each volunteer.
- Connect with every volunteer at least once a day.
- Pray together each day before children arrive.
- Create a “volunteer lounge” with snacks, drinks, supplies, and posted announcements.
- Schedule breaks for all volunteers. Let Site Leaders rest during one rotation, if you can.
- Ask Site Teams to meet briefly after VBS to plan and pray for the next day.
Ways to thank your volunteers
Verbally thank volunteers in large gatherings, at the daily closings, in the Closing Program, and in the worship service immediately following VBS. If your church features VBS on its website or shares photo albums or other media, acknowledge the dedicated service of the VBS staff there, too!
- Give each volunteer a Thank-You Certificate. You’ll find one on the Director CD.
- Thank each volunteer by name in bulletins and in the next church newsletter.
- Host a thank-you lunch to celebrate the efforts of all volunteers following VBS. Ask them to share stories.
- Communicate the impact of VBS and the service of the volunteers in a follow-up thank-you letter. Share statistics on enrollment and Mission Project results. Let volunteers know about plans to follow up with nonmember VBS families.
- VBS Tote Bags from CPH make an excellent appreciation gift.
Daily encouragements and thank yous
Encourage volunteers with daily notes and small gifts. Consider using these ideas in your staff room, or distribute them to each person.
- Lesson 1: For “Jesus Cares,” paint wooden sheep shapes. Attach a note that says, “Thank you for caring for Jesus’ lambs at Barnyard Roundup!” Include John 10:14–15.
- Lesson 2: For “Jesus Provides,” provide a loaf of bread or “bread in a jar.” Attach a note like this one: “Jesus provides our daily bread for our body and food for our souls in God’s Word! P.S. Thank you for sharing God’s Word with the kids!”
- Lesson 3: For “Jesus Leads,” provide a pack of sunflower seeds. Use our Sunflower Decor shape for this note: “Thanks for sowing the seed of God’s Word at VBS today! God will provide an abundant harvest!”
- Lesson 4: For “Jesus Forgives,” provide a snack bag of chocolates with the note, “Sweetest news ever: Jesus forgives! Thanks for sharing this sweet message at VBS!”
- Lesson 5: For “Jesus is our Savior,” fill a treat bag with candy hearts. Attach this note: “Thanks for sharing the love of Jesus, our Savior, with our kids at Barnyard Roundup!”