If you’re a yearbook advisor, you know firsthand that organizing a team of student volunteers can feel like trying to herd cats. Your students’ dedication, experience levels, effort, and skills will vary wildly. While new developments in yearbook software can greatly assist with the creation and production of your book, managing the human element of your team is still critical to the success of your project.
At Entourage Yearbooks, we have years of experience helping advisors with this process. During our yearly High School Advisors’ Conference, we share the latest yearbook techniques, technologies, and trends with advisors from all over the country. During this year’s conference, members of our Advisors’ Council – a group comprised of advisors that have volunteered to help lead the transformation of the yearbook industry for the benefit of schools and their communities – shared some approaches to organizing a yearbook team that worked best for them.
- Use cloud apps and documents. Our advisors frequently praise the advantages of online tools for yearbooks like Google docs. These collaboration tools keep everything in one place and update instantly, making the process of brainstorming, collecting and organizing content, and keeping track of tasks and timelines easier than ever.
- Specialize your students’ roles. The more specific you can be in your direction, the better. This will also help you play to your students’ strengths. Some may exhibit an aptitude for marketing; others, for using yearbook design software. In the long run, they will enjoy the process much more and cultivate a sense of ownership and accountability that will make their role on the yearbook team feel even more rewarding.
- Focus on one or two things at a time. Especially when you’re just getting started as an advisor, it can be easy to stretch yourself too thin. Start by making sure the main components of your yearbook are fully developed first, like your yearbook’s theme and a style guide.
- Be flexible. Managing a team of students will always involve an element of chaos. It’ll be difficult for you to predict how your other roles and responsibilities may interfere with keeping your yearbook. You may also find that rearranging your task schedule will help your team’s workflow. For example, one of our advisors finds that finishing the covers first never works for her because of how the book changes over time.
Have these tips helped you to keep your yearbook staff organized? Leave a reply below! To learn more about Entourage Yearbooks or our online yearbook tools, contact us online or call us today at (609) 452-2665.