5 Pro Tips for Using VBS Invite Cards at Your Church
If you want to maximize attendance at your church’s VBS this summer, tailored invite cards can help. Craft effective VBS invitations by following these five pro tips so you can offer your people relevant value and change more lives.
Extend a Warm Welcome
With the arrival of summer, many churches are preparing for vacation bible school (VBS). We understand that due to all the moving pieces involved with hosting a VBS, one might overlook the importance of the invitations themselves. But as it turns out, even the world’s best VBS programs aren’t as fruitful without the children there to benefit. Getting people to your events isn’t always as simple as sending out an open invitation. You will want to be sure you understand what makes your local community unique and consider how to reach them relevantly. Taking the time to do so can help extend a genuine invitation that builds trust—on top of getting them to your summer VBS program.
As you read on, you’ll learn five pro tips for crafting effective VBS invitations. We’ll also provide some examples and templates along the way. Summer is nearly here, so let’s go ahead and jump in!
Why Use Invite Cards?
We get that direct mail sounds like a thing of the past, but it still serves as one of the most effective ways to reach your audience. In fact, studies show that people actually prefer it to other methods of being reached.
According to an article written by Small Business Trends:
73% of consumers actually prefer mail over other advertising methods
59% of U.S. respondents and 65% of Canadian respondents enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products
56% of customers find print marketing to be the most trustworthy type of marketing
92% of young shoppers say they prefer direct mail for making purchasing decisions
By avoiding the white noise so often found in the digital world, direct mail cards are able to bring clear value and messaging directly to the recipients—making them ideal for invitations. But forget about the stats here, the gesture of sending someone an invitation in the mail speaks volumes on its own. Not to mention, they are highly-customizable and easily tailored to your specific audience. Children and parents alike are sure to get excited upon receiving an invitation to your church’s VBS in the mail. So without further ado, let’s talk pro tips.
Five Pro Tips
Inviting your local community to VBS isn’t rocket science, but understanding how to tailor your approach to your audience can make a big difference—both in attendance and their lives. Here are some pointers to steer you straight.
1. Tailor to the life stage of the parents.
Although VBS is geared towards the youngsters, tailoring your invite cards to the parents can increase the chances of them sending their children—after all, they’re the ones who will most likely read the invitation first. Are they a single parent? Do they attend church? These details should inform how you craft their invitation. For example, you might send an invitation that clearly mentions the time and place of your VBS so working parents can plan their schedules around dropping off or picking up their children.
2. Tailor to the life stage of the children.
Consider the age and stage of the children you’re inviting to ensure that you match the right value to the right people. If this year’s VBS has a theme, consider altering the title of the invite for different age groups. Be sure to mention age-appropriate activities that the children would get excited about. Middle school students may very likely be drawn to a different style of VBS than kindergarteners. Consider reflecting this in your invitations through both text and imagery. And remember, words aren’t the only way to convey a message. Chances are, parents will be more drawn to the words of your invitations, while children will notice the overall design. The point—make it bright, fun, and welcoming!
3. Consider demographics.
Besides characteristics such as race, ethnicity, and gender, demographics have the ability to reveal insightful information about your audience like motivations, income levels, and cultural affiliations. Tailoring your invitations to your audience based on this information is an effective way to offer value in a personal way that connects with your audience. Families that live in the city may be drawn to different marketing than a family in a farming community. To achieve relevant marketing, consider what demographics set your local community apart as unique and acknowledge them through the design and messaging of your invitation.
4. Mention your giveaways.
Many of the churches we work with include giveaways as part of their VBS. If this is the case with your church, remember to mention these inclusions on your invite cards. Mentioning your giveaways clearly states the value of attending, and can offer an incentive to parents who are considering sending their children. For example, hearing that meals or snacks and supplies are provided at your VBS may bring a peace of mind parents who are on the fence of signing their children up due to questions or concerns around logistics.
5. Follow up.
Although circling back with your community at the end of your VBS may seem like a small gesture, it can have a massive impact on the relationships you form. First and foremost, it’s an excellent way to report back on the success and outcomes of the program. But furthermore, following up with your people is an effective way to build trust, show healthy transparency, and ensure alignment. Doing so can also provide families who didn’t send their children to VBS with an idea of what they can expect next time. This might look like sharing the highlights from the week, inviting them to a small group, or letting them know about ongoing youth programs.
VBS Invite Cards That Do This Well
Below, you’ll find a few strong examples of VBS invite cards that are tailored to their specific audience.
What makes this invite so good:
This invite conveys a clear message through both the words and the imagery. By incorporating soft colors, inviting text, and a picture of a parent with their child, the message that VBS is a safe way to enhance their child’s summer is communicated clearly, and kindly.
What makes this invite so good:
The design of this invite makes it easy for parents to find necessary information. By clearly stating the church name, dates and times of the VBS, and age recommendations, parent’s are left with helpful insight to form their schedules around the program. In addition, the back of this invite provides directions to the church and a map to help registrants find their way or determine if the VBS is conveniently located near them.
What makes this invite so good:
This invite uses an effective design for capturing the attention of children. Bright colors, big letters, and depictions of other young kids convey to recipients that this church’s VBS will be a fun experience for other children their age. Parents are still given all the necessary information and can see that this experience is directed towards youth in their area.
If your church is wanting to take the guesswork out of your next invite card or direct mail campaign, we've got just the resource for you! Click here to download our free church invite card checklist and template.
The Intention Makes the Difference
Tailoring VBS invite cards to your community isn’t overly-complicated, but it can easily be overlooked amidst the other logistics required to host a summer program at your church. Taking the time to intentionally craft invitations for your specific audience is a way to bring relevant value to those who need it. Doing so not only can maximize attendance at your VBS, but help form deeper relationships with your people through establishing trust. These five pro tips can help make a difference with the impact of your VBS this summer. All it takes is knowing what makes your people unique, and reaching them in a relevant way with your message.