How to Build and Manage the Best Yearbook Committee

guide to yearbook project management-yearbook committee banner

Making a yearbook can feel like riding a bike… But the bike is on fire. And the ground is on fire. And everything is on fire…because you’re in hell.

There’s just so much that you need to do, right?

Find a team. Assemble them. Get them to play nice. Try to create an original idea. Get the perfect picture(s). And, try not to upset anyone. All while keeping a tight schedule.

Plus the other clubs keep getting all the attention.

Heck you find yourself asking, “Can it even be done?” on a daily basis.

Well, in this article, you’ll find out that you definitely can build an excellent yearbook committee. All you need are some tips from the pros that will give you 100% control over your yearbook creation.

You’re going to learn…
– How to recruit an Avengers worthy yearbook staff
– How to prepare your superheros for the tough task ahead
– What project tools you need
– Top tips for epic team collaboration
– How to keep on top of timelines and deadlines

If you’re ready to create the yearbook to end all yearbooks, it’s time to read on…

How To Recruit A Crack Team Of Yearbook Creators

Your first step? To choose your super, avengers-esque, team who will help you save the world create your yearbook.

Let’s take a look at who you’re going to need…
– The Mentor
– The Writer
– The Editor
– The Photographer
– The Designer
– The Marketer
– The Numbers
– The Voice

In the next few paragraphs, you’ll find a job description for each of these roles to help you choose the right person for the job.

01. A Mentor: Your Spiritual Guide

Your mentor will have wisdom and be all kinds of namaste. Or, you know, at least be able to swindle you access to the teacher’s lounge.

They’re here to guide you through making your yearbook. To steady the ship, as it were. And give you help with the tasks you really struggle with.

What they’ll do for you?
– They’ll help you with the admin stuff (budget, deadlines, final approval, delivery, etc.)
– They’ll support you in all kinds of situation (team conflicts, missed deadlines, etc.).

Where To Find Them?
Ask your favorite teacher to help you out, I’m sure they’ll say yes.

02. Writers: Your Grammatical Heroes

Your writers need to have an ability with the written word. Creative, funny and able to tell a good story. They also need to be the kind of person who always brings their homework in on the right day. Remember, you’ve got deadlines to keep!

What they’ll do for you?
– They’ll cover the events and stories they’ve been allocated to.
– They’ll provide you with quality articles that fit your editorial guidelines (perfect word count, credited sources, photo captions, etc.).
– They’ll work with photographers and designers to give the best chances to theirs stories.

Where To Find Them?
Head over to the English department and ask a teacher. Or, if you have a school newspaper, find someone who’s written an article you like and ask them. Oh, and if they need some help, we’ve recently published the Journalist’s guide to yearbook writing.

Helpful Tool
Have a look at the excellent Lists for Writers. It helps you brainstorm and come up with lots of different ideas – the good, the bad and the ugly – Just create a list and it’ll prompt your team into action.

yearbook committee - lists for writers

03. Editors: Your Unsung Heroes

Your editor(s) will be someone with a keen eye for detail. They’ll be the most organised person(s) on the team (after you, of course). And, they’ll probably have a grammar police badge, too.

They can be students or teachers. It depends on who you think is best suited to this role.

What they’ll do for you?
– Grammar and spelling specialists, they’ll review all the texts before the final approval.
– If needed, they’ll get in touch with interviewees or sources to make sure that every fact or pull quote is accurate.

Where to find them?
Can you think of someone who is really organised, and has a good eye for art or english? That’s an Editor!

Helpful Tools
Organize your to-do lists with Meistertask or Wunderlist.  You can add as many team members as you want, edit a piece of work, tick it off and send it back. All in one place. No more endless pieces of paper in random files you completely forgot where you left.

yearbook committee - meistertask

yearbook committee - wunderlist

04. Photographers: They Find Beauty in Everything

Your Photographers will be the kings or queens of Instagram and Snapchat. Where there’s a sunset to be snapped, food to be photographed or a view to be videod, they’ll be there. An interest in art and design won’t hurt them, either.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy camera. You can borrow one, use your smartphone and your school may even have one you can use.

You don’t need to be an expert photographer, either. Here are some simple ways to get a great photo:
– Get in close…not so close it’s creepy, but close enough to capture a great smile
– Make sure you’ve got enough light
– Get all sorts of angles (high, low, mid)
– Think about the rule of thirds to get a great shot

What they’ll do for you?
– They’ll cover all the events and stories they’ve been allocated to.
– They’ll make sure their photos are relevant to the story.
– They’ll provide you with high-quality printable photos, well named and organized as you asked them to be.

Where to find them?
Ask around to find who in your class has the best social media photography accounts. Or, see if there is anyone with stand out photography skills in the arts department.

Looking for actionable yearbook photo tips?
Have a look at our complete guide to yearbook photography. We cover some of the best yearbook photo tips such as knowing your camera settings, what makes a good/bad yearbook photo, a checklist for the photoshoot day, and how to collect, organize and use your photos correctly.

05. Designers: Your Continuity Experts

Designers like making things look perfect. They like straight lines, creative flows and telling stories through how things look.

What they’ll do for you?
– They’ll do some research on Pinterest, at the library or anywhere else to provide you with inspiring ideas for the project.
– They’ll help you set up a style guide for the yearbook to make sure every decision they make is logical, efficient and time-saving.
– They’ll design your yearbook pages according to what has been decided and will make any required amendments before the final approval.

Where to find them?
Find students with a keen eye for detail who loves a visual story. Perhaps a budding filmmakers may be a good place to start.

The most creative online yearbook builder
With Fusion Yearbooks you have a whole host of layouts at your fingertips. All you have to do is drag and drop your designs and edit as you go. Millions of images, loads of filters, and hundreds of fonts are available for you to play with.

06. Marketers: Your Key to the Outside World

Marketers love connections. Talking to people, making friends, telling everyone about the latest and greatest new purchase. Or about that amazing show they saw.

A bubbling personality and the ability to talk for days is always a plus.

What they’ll do for you?
– They’ll take care of all the marketing and sales campaigns (social media accounts management, flyers, posters, etc.).
– They’ll help you with raising funds for the project (selling ads to sponsors, organizing sausage sizzles or car wash day, etc.).
– They’ll help you spread the word at the right time and in the right place (press, sales table, audio announcements, email campaigns, etc.).

Where to find them?
Know someone who has a lot of friends or followers on Social Media? That’d be a great place to start looking.

All about yearbook marketing
Have a look at our guide to yearbook marketing. You’ll find everything you need to make your yearbook a sell-out success.

07. Numbers: Your Money Guys

This one’s pretty simple. Good at maths. Like to keep money. Don’t like losing money. Need to be firm in telling you what you can and can’t do with the pennies as well.

What they’ll do for you?
– They’ll help you to build a realistic project (they can survey students to know how much they’re willing to spend and the kind of final product they prefer)
– They’ll help you with sales, fundraising, getting quotes, paying invoices, collecting money form the students.

Where to find them?
I’d start with the Math Department. But, you may need a teacher to handle the money side, depending on your school policy.

Helpful tool
Keeping on top of the figures is a pretty important job. Lucky for you there are some awesome tools out there to help. Being a spreadsheet ninja is all well and good, but using a programme like Tick (from the guys at Basecamp) will help keep your project running on time and on budget.

yearbook committee - tick

08. The Leader: Your Voice of an Angel

If you’re reading this article, that person is probably you, right? If not, it’s the person who’s going to take charge. Create tasks and have a big vision for this yearbook.

What they’ll do (or what you’ll have to do if this is you)?
– They’ll need to build and carry the project vision (and to make sure everyone stays on track).
– They’ll need to make sure everyone in the yearbook committee is happy.
– They’ll be the problem-solver and the go-to person.

Where to find them?
If this isn’t you, a person may emerge within the staff as you work together. Or you could maybe find a big voice from the drama department.

Helpful tool
As the voice
of the project you/they’re going to like to talk. So using a voice recognition app like Dragon Dictation is going to make things super easy. You speak, it listens and dictates. It’s that simple, and you can link it up to other devices so you have your text available whenever you need it.

yearbook committee - dragon

Your team can be as big, or as small, as you need it to be. Every yearbook is different and you might even have two people doing one or two roles of the whole team. Work with what you’ve got, and make the best of what you can.

How To Manage Your Time (And Your Team)

09. Set a Timeline

This is where you decide what you need to do and when you need to do it by. And, by having a clear timeline in place you’re able to keep a schedule or know when you’re behind and you need to catch up.

The best way to approach this is to break your project down into manageable chunks. For example if your goal is To have the yearbook complete by April 21st, you can work backwards and ask yourself:
– When do we need to have the 2nd draft by?
– When do we need to have the 1st draft by?
– When do we need to have the Editor looking at it?

And the further you get into the project, the more you can break this down again. You can create daily, weekly or monthly to-do lists that allow you to tick small boxes every day.

Also, give yourself a buffer. This type of work takes time and you have your schoolwork and the rest of your life to worry about. Giving yourself some room to breathe – from a few days to a couple of weeks – can relax you and stop you from getting stressed.

And you can now create your entire yearbook online. For that, Fusion Yearbooks gives you:
– Free yearbook designs
– Beautiful fonts and templates
– Storage for all of your valuable images
– The peace of mind that you can change anything up to the last minute

As a project manager this is your one-stop hub to see and manage your project progress.

10. Gather Ideas From Your Team Mates

It’s important to let everyone have their say and contribute ideas. While you, or your editor, or your designer may have a vision for what the yearbook should look like, you need to listen to all ideas and then, work with the best you have available.

You can take this approach every time you encounter a problem. And, if all parts of the team feel like they’re contributing, they’ll make a much better finished yearbook for you.

One great way to get ideas from people is to brainstorm. You can use mind-maps or lists or whatever it is that works for you and your team. But getting all the ideas down – yes, the good and the bad – can help you see everything clearly.

The best way to collaborate your ideas? Use a programme like Trello to create different boards that your team can add to, edit and manage tasks throughout the process. You can manage who has access to what board and prioritize each project along the way.

yearbook committee - trello

You can also use cloud storage like Google Drive to keep all your files and photos together.

yearbook committee - google drive

You can compile, organise and be sure you remember everything you have going on in your project, too.

11. Listen Out For Feedback

Listen to people’s problems and comments about what you’re doing. And, then take action or advice where you can. Having your Mentor there is also great for this.

For example, if a team member feels like they’ve got too much of a workload, reduce it. Think about handing out jobs to those who are flying ahead. Listen to your team as you go, be flexible and make changes when you need to.

12. Make Your Team Meetings Worthwhile

Whenever you have a meeting make sure there’s a reason for it, and you take note of everything that’s been said. People are busy, they have lives and they’ll really appreciate it if you make meetings quicker and easier to digest.

13. Keep Calm Under Pressure

You’re going to hit a few bumps in the road along this journey. There will be arguments, things that don’t go to plan and what you thought could happen may have to change.

But, don’t worry:
– Stay cool
– Listen to people’s problems
– Be diplomatic
– Keep a smile on your face

There’s no problem too big, or too small, that you can’t fix.

14. Play Around And Get Creative

Let people work together, collaborate and come up with ideas. Play with filters and buttons and widgets to see what works well for you. You might just create something new that nobody has ever done before.

Think about what jobs need to be done and have a go. Maybe try doing them differently.

This also helps you learn your tools inside and out. Making you the go-to person when someone has a problem, and letting you feel a little more like you’re at the helm.

Have a play with Canva’s new iPhone app or Photo Editor. It’s easy, fun and you’ll get inspiring results.

yearbook committee - canva iphone

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere – let’s look at what you’ll need to be the best leader ever, right?

How To Stay On Target And Meet Your Deadlines

Your time may run like a well oiled machine to begin with, but that can soon change. So how can you be sure that you stay on track and get everything done on time?

Here’re some tips we recommend…

15. Plan Ahead (Like, Really Far)

Planning in advance allows you to react a lot more effectively to any problems. Because it doesn’t feel like your whole life has just been ruined, and you can see that you only need to move a little bit of work to get back on track.

And, as I mentioned earlier, giving yourself that buffer for setbacks can really make all the difference.

Set your timeline in place, but don’t set it in stone, everything can be moved and hustled if you keep an open mind and a little wiggle room.

16. Be Proactive

Preparation is key, so if you’ve taken all the steps you need as the leader of your team you’ll be ready.

– Listen to the concerns and thoughts of your team
– Have regular, informal and fun meetings
– Delegate tasks evenly
– Make each member of your team feel valued and appreciated

Have an email chain, Whatsapp or Facebook group to check in at the end of every week.
This way you all know what’s going on, and you’ve always got an excuse to share the odd motivational cat meme.

Wrapping It All Up…

The formula for your yearbook success? Superhero team + planning + getting the work done = one epic yearbook. Here’s a recap of the main points for you again…

  • Once you have your team in place start from the end point and work backwards
  • Give yourself little buffers of time along the way
  • You can never be too prepared and have too many good ideas
  • Have a list of tools, know them inside out and upside down
  • Find your own ways to keep the team working like a well oiled machine
  • Stay on top of targets by having regular (fun filled) meetings

I wish I could tell you that picking a handful of points from this article will give you the best yearbook you’ve ever seen. Unfortunately, I can’t. It’s kind of a package deal.

But, if you keep on top of your ‘key objectives’ I have no doubt that by the end of this year you’ll be riding that bike down the street, yearbook in hand, no fire in sight.

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James is a Freelance Writer from England. Although his main exposure to design comes from being comic-book obsessed, he wants to show writers how visual content can make their work so much better. And, who doesn't like looking at pretty things while drinking coffee?

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