Financing through friendship

Written by Joan DuRocher

Keeping the yearbook price down so that it is universally affordable can be a challenge. For my school, this required consideration of viable revenue sources beyond advertisements. The winning source for us has been buddy photos.

Each year we begin promoting the yearbook and introduce buddy photos via posters boasting that any photo taken at dances, socials and game nights will have a guaranteed spot in the yearbook. The cost is only $2 per person per photo. As an event approaches, we make sure that posters are up and announcements are made.

Our buddy photo success has grown from three pages for 92 photos generating $584 our first year, to seven pages for 203 photos clearing $1,206 this year. Doubling our buddy photo revenue was not without issue. Accounting for and ensuring that all 203 photos made it into the yearbook became a nightmare. However, after three years, I have developed a step-by-step plan.

  1. At events we set up a table and display previous yearbooks open to buddy photo pages to pique interest.
  2. Sign-up sheets are on the table and each member in a photo lists their name.
  3. All photos are taken with digital cameras to allow for viewing and and retakes if necessary.
  4. Photos are downloaded into an “Original_BPs” folder and each photo is renamed using BP and a sequential number given to that group (BPI).
  5. We create a Word document that includes the name and date of the event, a small image of each buddy photo and the new file name given to each photo. This Word document is printed and placed in a plastic folder with the sign-up sheet from the event. The folder is placed in a three-ring binder for easy reference and yearbook proofing.
  6. Later we copy our renamed photos to a second folder called “Enhanced_BPs.” The dpi is checked, adjustments for color, brightness or red eye are made, and an E is added to the file name (BP1E).
  7. Lastly, photos are moved to a “Final_BPs” folder. For every 30 buddy photos, we append the file name with an A, B, C, etc. Each letter group represents one page in the yearbook (BP1E-A). We create folders called BP-A, BP-B, etc., and upload only those files appended with the same letter into that folder. At final check, if a picture has been dropped during any step we can retrieve it from the “Original_BP” folder.

Students, teachers and chaperones love posing with their friends knowing that this fun photo will be in the yearbook. We found that our sixth graders, who had the most buddy photos taken, purchased the highest percentage of yearbooks.

Buddy photos have been a great success because of the excitement they generate for the students and by increasing revenue for the yearbook. Having a plan in place to deal with the increasing numbers of photos has helped us immensely.

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Joan DuRocher