Publicize, Advertise, and Promote – Religious Education



A little sparkle and shine for materials and promotional channels

We know that the foundation of a solid marketing plan includes defining your target audience, reaching them using your ParishSOFT tools, and engaging people through relationships. Once your plan is established, the next step is to get the message out. Let’s talk about marketing materials, tips for written and email communications, and determining the most appropriate channels to promote VBS.

Mom, PLEASE sign me up for VBS!

During a gathering for parents at my church, the speaker mentioned that as Catholics, we have a superpower in Our Lady. “Pray the rosary for your kids,” she said. Hearing it put that way lit a fire in me. How could I say no to what Mary is offering? Years later, my rosary beads get a lot of use, and I find myself meditating on the Hail Mary over my morning coffee, in my car, and all sorts of places. I pray for family, friends, neighbors, the women in my exercise class. Why did I buy in?

That one simple statement pray the rosary for your kids was perfect marketing: targeted, meaningful, emotionally appealing, relational, shiny and sparkling in its beautiful simplicity and heartfelt honesty. This is your goal with marketing VBS. Understand what will appeal to kids and parents. Then create a message that lights the fire and has them rushing to sign up!

Visually inviting marketing materials

Kids are captivated by visual marketing. Colorful posters should be so awesome that children stop to look and call their parents over and ask, Dad, can I do THIS!? Purchase or create your own promotional materials such as business cards, postcards, flyers, and lawn signs that can be handed out to parishioners, local businesses, community centers and more. The goal? Clarity and simplicity with kid appeal. Emphasis will be on the visual aspect (colors, bold graphics, etc.) and the basic information necessary to grab attention, pointing to resources where they can find out more details.

You don’t need to be a graphic design expert – look for programs that offer ready-made materials that you can easily customize. Graphic designers are a great asset, and you probably have one in your midst who would love to share his or her talent. Be sure to get images for your email marketing, website, and social media communications – a consistently branded VBS makes your message even more powerful across all of those channels.


“Show” don’t tell. When possible, use images, stories from previous years, and personal testimonials and quotes. These are far more memorable than lengthy descriptions or explanations. Images have a place in every marketing channel, and they’re a must in today’s digital age.

Communicate like it’s your child. What are the needs, questions, and concerns that your marketing materials and communications can address? You don’t have to communicate every detail every time you send a marketing piece out to the world. Instead, keep your communications short and compelling. Always include a link to your dedicated VBS web page (e.g., where they can learn more in every communication. Your VBS web page is the perfect place to organize all the details of your program and point parents to your online VBS registration and volunteer signups in My Own Church.

These communications are designed to convince your audience of the value of VBS. They will appeal to your kid audience, and address parents, as well. An email and/or mailer that includes testimonials or quotes, pictures, and basic information about this year’s program is perfect!

Marketing channels

How will you focus your efforts? Common marketing channels are: website, print, email, and social media. With so many options, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, which is why an established content calendar[1] and clear strategy are invaluable tools to keep you on track.

Social media continued

Decide what social media avenues you would like to use to promote this event. Are you going to be using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…? If limited to only one or two platforms, ask yourself: which will lend themselves most readily to promoting VBS? Consider appointing a dedicated leader to help keep these channels open and filled with relevant content. Don’t forget to link to your dedicated VBS web page, where they can learn more and register online. Get the word out, where it can be shared and those relationship-based invitations can happen.

YOU are the most compelling advertisement, Missionary disciples

There is no replacing your personal witness of faith, joy and love to your neighbors, in your daily encounters, with your friends and family. Be assured that you are not on this profoundly important mission alone.[2]

May this Pentecost be a season of deep joy and renewed courage as your parish joins the missionary action of the Church to evangelize and revitalize our communities – beginning with our children!

We’d love to hear about your experience, how has your parish involved the community in VBS? Leave us a comment below!

ParishSOFT is committed to partnering with you for the success of your parish. To find out more about how ParishSOFT Family Suite can benefit your parish, please contact us at 866.930.4774 x 7, or sign up for a free demo.

[1] A content calendar is a simple tool to help you plan and stay on top of your marketing and social media content (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Check out this article and free downloadable content calendar template from HubSpot for more information.

[2] John 14: 15-18: 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

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