I know, I know nobody wants to talk about money. We only have a fixed amount to spend, and it’s never enough is it? Whether the budget is large or small, budgeting is critically important to VBS. It’s almost a spiritual discipline. We must be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us by our churches (or our own pockets); therefore we must have a plan in place for how funds will be allocated wisely.
Truth be told, most people tend to operate without a budget. (Eek!) But that’s really not the wisest course of action. Without a budget, it’s easy to overspend and get ourselves into trouble. It’s equally easy to get our priorities out of whack … for example, blowing over half the budget on decorations or inflatable bounce houses but neglecting to equip teachers with curriculum or the resources they need to teach and build relationships with children and families.
A budget gives structure and helps define the priorities of your event. Budget = clarity. Clarity = wise decisions. Creating a budget might not be the most exciting aspect of preparing for VBS, but it’s critically important.
- Divide the budget into three categories. From there each section can be divided into as many subdivisions as you wish. The more detailed your budget (and the more years you have been working with the budget) the more subdivisions you will most likely have. A typical VBS budget includes the expenses in the second category, but often leaves the first and third categories unfunded.
- Before VBS—include training your workers and promoting VBS in your church and community.
- During VBS—include curriculum for all age groups, craft and classroom supplies, snacks, decorations, and leader appreciation.
- After VBS—include a VBS Family Celebration and events to continue the connection you’ve made with visitors and church members.
- Compile a list of craft, snack, and classroom supplies. Ask for donations from church members. Remember, even if you are depending on donations to cover many of these costs you need to place dollar amounts in the appropriate categories.
- Print the Record of VBS Expenses Form (from the Administrative Guide CD-ROM) as an efficient way to keep track of VBS expenses.
- Partner with local churches or your association to share decorations and curriculum.
- Use the order form in the VBS catalog to plan for your curriculum needs. Curriculum includes leader guides, leader packs, student pieces, and so forth. Check the Jump Start Kit and the Kids and Preschool Starter Kits to determine which of these pieces are included and what additional pieces you will need.