Distribution Day should be one of the major events of the entire school year...
As we cross into May it means the end of the school year is approaching. YAYYYYYY!
And especially THIS year, right? Summer break is always anticipated but maybe no more so than this historic school year 2021.
But for spring book schools you have at least one more upcoming task for your yearbook staff: your big Distribution Day. And the key word should always be BIG. The same goes for summer and fall delivery schools - how to handle the big day? Here are some thoughts...
MAKE IT AN EVENT: You've worked hard all year long to create a memorable yearbook. Don't just open the boxes, hand them out and say "hope you enjoy it." That's like winning a sports championship and then just moving on to the next season. YAAAWWWNNN.
Yet that's what many schools do - no excitement, no hoopla, just "here it is" and that's it. If that's you let's CHANGE that this year.
Your Distribution Day should be a red letter day at school, one anticipated the entire year. What are some key elements to consider?
If in-school, any chance to make this a school assembly? I know, assemblies THIS year might be frowned upon but check with your authorities for any possibility. And if not, keep this idea for next year.
Somehow there needs to be some music involved, either from a student DJ or why not ask your band members to whip up some pop tunes to play? Maybe even allow for students to audition to sign or play at the event, turn this into a talent show!
Some schools have slide shows running to display images used in the book this year. People love to see themselves on the big screen. You could divide it like the book is divided (sports, seniors, student life, etc.) or just have a mass slide show of images mixed together.
If possible even consider a snack bar, sell popcorn or drinks or candy and make a few bucks on the side for people to enjoy while they are signing the books of other students.
HANDING OUT THE BOOKS: Good organization is the key. Many schools break up their shipment by letters of the alphabet - kids whose last name starts with A to F go to one table, G to L at another table, etc. Or you could do it by class - a seniors table, juniors, etc.
Each table should have a print out of the students who have bought a book in their grouping. Just mark off students there as they claim their book.
Jostens does a great job of sorting the personalized books separately, and our cool book bands easily show you whose book this is in the box. Just see the name, grab the book and hand out. Bank books don't need much organization, just make sure each table has enough to satisfy the list at that table.
EVERYONE LIKES THOSE MESSAGES: For schools that allow students to sign each other's books during the event, nothing is more important than those messages. Those are treasured for a lifetime, and even teachers get into the act by signing remembrances for their current or former students.
Make time and space for this - if the weather cooperates, doing this outside is perfect. Sitting on the lawn or at your school stadium is a great way to spend an afternoon remembering the year, and especially THIS year.
See if you can give up to an hour for yearbook signing, don't rush it. If this is a spring book and it's during the school day don't cram signing into a half hour or less, remember the importance of this event to students. And if it's a summer event - hey, all the time in the world, right?
CAN ONLY DO A DRIVE THRU EVENT?: Unfortunately due to circumstances this year, some schools may again have to go with a drive thru distribution. But that doesn't mean it can't be an event.
See above - have some music from a DJ or ask band members to play some tunes as people drive up. Still consider snacks or drinks, people always love those. It's a rolling PARTY!
Don't ask everyone to come at once, that would make for quite a traffic jam. Break up your group either by class or alphabetically and assign arrival times for each group. Promote that to everyone beforehand to eliminate confusion.
And of course this is outdoors - why not offer the chance to pull into the parking lot and sign the books of other students? Make some dedicated space in the lot for this function.
WHAT ABOUT A SUMMER DISTRIBUTION EVENT?: Sadly, many summer delivery books just announce for students or parents to drop by school to pick up the student's book, and that's it. Again no excitement, no fun.
Instead make this an event, a summer party where students can get together to catch up on what's been happening or maybe see some folks for the last time before they head off for college, military or the like.
For graduated seniors this is a great Good Bye event before heading off to wherever. And for underclassmen it's a chance to see everyone again weeks before the new school year begins.
What about timing? A lot of this may depend on when you finish your book. Anywhere from mid July to early August is a good time - people are free to come and go, and it's before the start of fall sports practices or band camp when students begin to again get busy.
CONSIDER USING THE JOSTENS DISTRIBUTION TICKETS: This is a great feature through your Yearbook Avenue website that many schools have taken advantage of. Simply print them out from YBA - the ticket should feature a picture of the student, what they ordered and what their personalization looks like if they ordered that.
For your buyers simply print out the statements from YBA and distribute a few days before your distribution event. Didn't get a ticket? That means we don't have a book reserved for you - better hurry and purchase one of the remaining copies ordered.
Then students can bring their statement to Distribution Day and use it as a ticket to claim their book. There shouldn't be any confusion in handing out the books now - present your ticket, get your book.
DON'T FORGET THOSE LATE SALES: Definitely promote to everyone that you'll have some extra copies for sale at the event. It might just be the extra overrun copies that Jostens sends you, or any extra allotment you ordered. Let people know how much you are charging for these and how to pay.
Then at Distribution Day have a separate table for these late sales. Every school has procrastinators who somehow missed ALL of the announcements during the year, or who suddenly now want a book. Let's sell one to them!
NEED HELP?: Reach out to your Jostens representative for more ideas for a successful Distribution Day. And check the amazing YBA Digital Classroom - just enter "distribution" in the search bar there and watch the ideas pop on the screen.
Again this should be one of the biggest days of the entire school year. Have FUN with this event and increase the interest in your yearbook!