One of the most challenging tasks regarding VBS or Summer Programming is recruiting, coordinating, and communicating with all your volunteers. Here are some best-practice as well as tools within your ChMS database that will save you some stress.
Register volunteers separately from participants.
Recruiting volunteers through your main event registration form will increase clutter and confusion. Create a separate form to keep things simple. A long or complex form will decrease sign-up rate.
Create groups for optimized coordination and communication.
Consider how you plan to communicate with your volunteers and how they'll need to communicate with each other. If your needs are simple, placing all your volunteers into a single large group may suffice. If you need to communicate different information to different people, or if volunteer teams will often need to connect with each other, consider creating separate groups for each volunteer team.
Later, this will allow you to easily select just the individuals you need to connect with. It will also allow your volunteers to easily connect with each other though the mobile app, or simply through logging in online.
PRO-TIP: Take advantage of Workflows to automate group placement & communication as volunteers sign up. Learn More...
Registration Methods: Forms vs. the Group Finder. What's best for me?
We offer two distinct ways to register your volunteers.
Group Finder: No-hassle signup with the ability to 'cap' registration.
- Groups can be given a maximum number of members, making it easy to sign up only as many as you need.
- In one click an individual is signed up! Find a group, choose “Join,” and they're registered to help.
- Upon sign-up, the group leader will automatically get an email with the name of the person that signed up for their area/group.
- This does not give you an opportunity to request additional information such as T-shirt size, a preferred method of contact, etc.
- It also assumes people have read and understood the commitment for the area that they are serving, including their availability.
Using a Registration Form
- Allows you to ask for as much information as you need, such as availability to serve.
- Allows you to add add-on items with cost. (Note: Giving Integration is required for form payment).
- Workflows based on form submission allow for more robust automation, such as immediate email/SMS communication, assigned interactions, etc.
- Requires additional up-front setup time (ex: for workflows), but this may reap time-savings later.
Communicate early and often.
People seem busier and more side-tracked each year, despite our 'time-saving' devices. Consistent (and concise) communication will help keep everyone aware and moving in the same direction. Take advantage of mass email or SMS and the ability to schedule messages in advance. Here are a few tips on what to include and when...
- Before the event:
- Ensure volunteers are aware of their responsibilities, arrival times, and any other important information.
- Remember to always add contact information of a 'point' person who can answer questions.
- Most of all, thank them for taking their time to invest in the children and remind them to be praying in advance of your event.
- During the event:
- Schedule emails reminders the day before a volunteer is set to serve.
- Send (or schedule) communication with encouraging scripture or simple words appreciation mid-week.
- After the event:
- Thank them for serving. Show them some love. You could not have done this without their help.
PRO-TIP: Use the ChMS mass text (SMS) service for serving reminders or last-minute changes. While people are busy and may miss an email, they typically ALWAYS check their phones.
Security & Background Checks:
Don’t let safety slip your mind as you prepare for a great week of VBS. Ensure those who are serving have gotten the necessary background checks. Take advantage of the integration with Protect My Ministry to not only manage this process but educate you and your church on general child safety best practices.