Attention Yearbook Advisors: 10 Ways to Keep Your Committee Motivated!

Students and staff work together on brainstorming.
Image source: Flickr user Jirka Matousek

The unsung heroes of any great yearbook are the dedicated members of the yearbook committee. A yearbook committee is generally comprised of students and staff alike, with an advisor to bring everyone and everything together to share ideas and make an awesome book of memories.

The main goal of the committee is to be innovative, creative, and produce a yearbook that everyone can cherish for many years to come. Okay, sure… no big deal, right? Only it’s no small feat to continuously one-up a product that has been produced for so many years!

It’s the duty of each committee member to create a unique yearbook, complete with an unforgettable theme, picturesque layout, and beautiful design, in addition to staying on budget, marketing and selling ads, attending events, taking pictures, proofing/editing content… not to mention chasing down people for materials and submissions! Phew! I’m exhausted just writing that sentence.

With all of these tasks, deadlines, and what-ifs, it’s no surprise that sometimes the committee can run out of steam. As a yearbook advisor, it’s your job to keep the committee on track, dedicated to the product, and staying positive. But fear not! You are not alone in this – here are some great ways to keep your committee, well… committed!

1. Support new ideas. Everyone is there to help and move the yearbook forward, and therefore everyone should have the opportunity to be heard. So give people a chance to explain their ideas, and hear out even the most far-fetched ones. Allowing people to share their ideas keeps them feeling involved and engaged.

2. Give equal treatment. The yearbook is a reflection of both students and staff, so don’t make the yearbook committee a hierarchy. Give everyone equal share of the responsibilities and equal say in the product, and you’ll see that it keeps everyone equally committed to the yearbook.

3. Make people comfortable. Don’t meet only in the library or classroom. Have a meeting outside in the grass or at a local coffee shop, for example. When people are relaxed, they are more willing to share their ideas, and nothing gets the brain going like a nice change of scenery.

Take your committee meeting outside of school walls.
Image source: Flickr user Tulane Public Relations

4. Make it interesting. Setting up a contest or raffle will encourage friendly competition and keep people’s eye on the prize. This is a great idea when students are making a final push for advertisement.

5. Give credit where it is due. Don’t let people bulldoze one another. If someone has a good idea, attribute that idea to that person to make sure everyone stays eager to share and participate. Nothing kills motivation like seeing your ideas appropriated by someone else.

6. Boost morale. Host a group-bonding outing – go bowling, take a cooking class, or do some volunteer work. Having fun in a group activity will not only make people feel good and appreciated, but will also get the creative juices flowing. Not to mention, it can help participants get to know each better, which allows for everyone to work together more smoothly.

Student group participating in some volunteer work.

Group bonding boosts morale and promotes teamwork.
Image source:Flickr user University of Exeter.

7. Be flexible. Yearbook guidelines and deadlines can be stressful, and don’t always go as planned. Staying positive and going with the flow will keep stress levels down, so students can stay focused on their goals without feeling too overwhelmed.

8. Keep everyone in the loop. No matter what happens – good or bad – let everyone know. Open communication will make everyone feel valued, and help the yearbook overall. Additionally, people do their best work when they’re aware of everything that’s going on.

9. Get creative. Encourage people to bring in their favorite music, movies, books, art, etc. Sharing interests will help boost creativity, bring fresh perspectives, and allow people to bounce ideas off one another.

10. Bring snacks! Simply put, people are happier when they are fed, and they’re more productive on a full stomach!

Committee enjoying some well-deserved snacks.

A committee enjoying the fruits of their labor with some well-deserved snacks.
Image source: Flickr user COD Newsroom

Most importantly, remember that a yearbook is a reflection of the year, the committee, and the school overall. Keep the energy high and the ideas flowing, because a happy committee will produce a fantastic yearbook. And of course, TreeRing’s amazing tools will transform those ideas into a collection of fond memories for years to come!