50 tips on getting and managing VBS supplies!

Supply Acquisition

1.  January is the month most major companies plan donations. Get your request in early.
2.  Trade supplies and decorations with other churches.
3.  Use garbage cans and set up recycle areas to collect supplies (i.e.- milk just, paper towel tubes, etc.)
4.  Have a form in the room. Pick up each night and fill the request.
5.  We get donations of some items and borrow some things from our local schools.
6.  We have one person compile the entire teacher’s supply request and make on large purchase. We also check our supply closet to see what we already have that can be used.
7.  Make a creative theme-related item or bulletin board with removable tabs or die-cuts with the item needed on it. Church members take tags to purchase those items listed.
8.  Sunday School classes sponsor a department by providing the supplies for that department or age division. (i.e.- crayons, markers, scissors, pencils, etc.)
9.  Have a VBS supply shower.
10.  Have teachers/leaders prepare supply lists and them advertise them for members to donate/sponsor.
11.  Request gift cards to help teachers purchase their own supplies.
12.  Have Sunday School classes “adopt a VBS” age group.
13.  Do a bulletin board and do post-it notes with supplies needed. People pull off and purchase the items and return them to the church.
14.  Prepare envelopes made out with “$25 for 10 Bibles” or “$5 for 2 Bibles” for church members to sponsor.
15.  Make a donation tree with items listed for donations.
16.  Create a “Needs List”, a “Wish List”, and a “Dream List”. You’ll be surprised how you’re blessed!
17.  Appoint designated shoppers.
18.  Keep statistics for next year’s VBS and increase budget request annually.
19.  Do an inventory before you buy.
20.  Do a buy/borrow board.
21.  Visit local stores and get donated gift cards to acquire some craft and decorating items.
22.  When writing solicitation letters, use official church stationary.
23.  Tie donations for VBS into Missions Month at church.
24.  Publish a list of “odd” item needs and ask for folks to e-mail/call if they will provide the item and/or need pick-up of the item.
25.  Make your donation requests specific.
26.  Purchase decorations that possibly may be themed at fall festivals.
27. Leftover decorations from previous VBS themes can be easily revamped. Last year’s tiki hut is this year’s railroad station.

Supply Management

1.  We have one lady in her 80’s that is our designated “cutter”. She will cut anything for us.
2.  Provide babysitter for teachers prior to and right after class for them to prepare.
3.  Provide a meal for training session as a thank you for working VBS and as a hook to get more people to come to training.
4.  Have Sunday School classes compete in bringing supplies. (Ex. – March – juice boxes; April – cookies, etc.)
5.  Provide tubs for grades or each class in a central location on set up day for supplies.
6.  Appoint a “supply guru”. In our case, a youth serves as a supply store and drop off for the week with all supplies located in a central room.
7.  Keep a closet for supplies and have teachers go to closet before they buy.
8.  Streamline all orders for supplies to one person so supplies won’t be duplicated.
9.  Directors purchase all the supplies after the teachers fill out a needs list.
10.  At the end of VBS, each room is given two bags: 1) leftover curriculum, and 2) markers, scissors, crayons, etc. to be put away.
11.  At the conclusion of VBS week, we have boxes set up for decorations and curriculum to be deposited and sorted.
12.  Use what you already have by changing it up.
13.  Ask for donations of supplies from outside sources.
14.  Start a VBS supply closet. All supplies get turned in at the end, sorted and stored.
15.  Set up a “VBS Central” room in a spare room of the church to hold supplies and keep organized.
16.  Know what you have before you buy.
17.  Place general supplies in a central area, but place special orders in specific classroom boxes.
18.  Pre-cut and organize crafts and bag in individual zip lock bags (per project).
19.  Store each year’s VBS materials in egg boxes from the grocery store with name and year on the outside of the box.
20.  Place supplies and materials in plastic bins or boxes clearly marked and have delivered to room on set-up day.
21.  Partner each VBS class with a Sunday School class. The classes pray, help purchase supplies, build props, follow-up, etc.
22.  Enlist a donation chairperson that oversees a system for receiving donations of snacks, decorations, crafts, etc. from the church members.
23.  Use labeled tubs to store supplies for each class as you fill requests from teachers. Also, have a tub for crafts with large bags inside that hold all craft need for that specific craft – just pull out the needed bag for each night.

Add your tips and tricks to the comments section below!

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