The first step in creating the perfect yearbook is recruiting your ideal yearbook volunteers. In a perfect world, each group member will bring a unique set of strengths to the table while working cohesively with one another. We’ve identified five personality types to consider as you begin assembling your “dream team,” along with best practices for guiding them along the path to print-ready.
There may be a parent or two on campus with professional photography experience, and that’s super. It’s no longer a requirement with many smartphones. For the scale of your yearbook project, you may need a class or grade parent (think an old-school journalism beat).
These parents are taking photos already, so you’re not challenging them beyond a simple, “Please take photos of other people’s children.”
Remember, you can easily build a yearbook if you have the content.
2. The Gatekeeper
If your team is not comprised of students and fellow staff members, you need an on-campus stakeholder on the VIP list. This person will be able to get you the inside scoop on school happenings, including the best way to sneak into classrooms for academics photos or how to set up shared photo folders with the faculty.
3. The Social Maven
Part yearbook hypeman, part yearbook marketer, this person will be in the know: stories, events, and students. She will take care of your sales campaigns and make sure everyone knows how, when, and where to buy the yearbook.
4. The Type-A Virgo
Do you want your yearbook to have a cohesive look? Do you want pages proofed and copy-edited? The Type A Virgo is your go-to for organization and project management.
5. The Cruise Director
While this yearbook volunteer isn’t the captain of the proverbial ship, his role as designated fun officer is clutch. He’s collaborating with the Social Maven on your next marketing campaign and coordinating a yearbook distribution party with school staff. (More than likely, this person is also in charge of several other committees to build community and school spirit.)
Managing Yearbook Volunteers
Now that you’ve identified your dream team, here are a few tips for managing the workload.
1. Create and Communicate the Plan
Build a project plan to determine your deadlines, tasks, and roles. We love beginning with a yearbook ladder to identify coverage and determine the yearbook page count.
2. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
Monthly check-ins, volunteer work nights, and ongoing communication help ensure the job you started will be completed. We’ve heard from volunteers that they feel their work is valuable with regular communication and seeing their contributions in action. Because their time (and yours) is valuable, make sure communications
- Are timely: give yearbook volunteers what they need when they need it. Only the Type A Virgo needs her March responsibilities on September 14 (and we love her for it).
- Have a set goal: predetermine the action(s) the team should take as a result of your communication. Do you need responses for the potluck or help tagging photos?
- Demonstrate appreciation: while I’ll never grow weary of hearing I’m awesome, meaningful feedback resonates much more. In your communications, try to highlight contributions often (e.g., “Because of all the Fun Run photos Tameka and Evelyn uploaded, Javier is now designing the layout! Thanks, team!”) and show how they benefit the yearbook.
3. Celebrate Often and Address Problems Early
When pages are locked, celebrate! When portraits are uploaded, celebrate! These festivities can be as simple as meeting for coffee after drop off or a dessert night in someone’s home.
Conversely, if things aren’t working out, be like Vanilla Ice and solve it.