Monday, April 12, 2010

Hot topic: How much to charge for a yearbook?

This from a reader:

I’m an Alvarado parent and getting ready to take on a school yearbook and I have a question I’d like to propose to you or your readers.

We’re going to use a service called www.treering.com that allows you had add an additional fee to the cost of the yearbook to apply to fundraising. The cost of the yearbooks are about $15 bucks, or so, and each kid’s yearbook is customized.

What do you think is an appropriate additional charge on top of the yearbook cost? I’m wavering from anywhere from not using it as a fundraising tool up to $10 bucks on top of each book.

Any thoughts, or any way to survey your followers? I’d love some other opinions on this.

29 comments:

  1. Not sure. I'd pay $25 for a year book for my kid but lots won't or can't. How will you ensure, or will you ensure, that all the kids that want one get one?

    This is not a slam but a question. I really don't have any answers but I know that one day I may have to face this reality too. So I ask and see what others can and will do.

    I think it also depends on what the year books look like. Are they bound or just some pages staple together? Are there color pictures or only black and white? Do the kids contribute to the year book (i.e. write commentary or have drawings published)?

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  2. $25 for a yearbook is pretty cheap imo (and cheaper than any I've heard of before). I'd go for at least $30 (prefer $40) and expressly state that the cost of production is $15 so that each buyer can write off the donation portion of the payment.

    ***

    If a parent won't purchase a yearbook in the price ranges being discussed then the parent and his/her kid doesn't get one. Welcome to reality.

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  3. Oh that's awful that the poor kids wouldn't get one. Can some of the funds raised go towards getting yearbooks for the poor kids.

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  4. 2:02 : that's so harsh. What a humanitarian you must be.(sarcasm)

    kids were crying in my son's class last year, because their families couldn't afford to buy them a yearbook ... the other kids are running around getting signatures and the low income kids are just left out ... so I bought a few extras for those kids.

    20 bucks should be the top cost, with please to buy a few extras for some other kids, if needed. Not everything has to be a fundraiser.

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  5. Is there any way to make the fundraising piece optional? So, families who can only afford base price of the book pay that and those who can afford more can contribute a suggested donation amount in addition?

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  6. I'm sure you've thought of this but perhaps one of the Noe Valley merchants or Whole Foods or one of the families with means in your community would be willing to pay for your yearbook. Then no one would be left out. That would be the nicest!

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  7. I've learned a tremendous amount being in a school where a chunk of the kids are low income. While $25is not much money to me, I've realized that for some families - that amount is equal to a 1/2 week's groceries. There isn't a whole lot of leeway in their budget to accomodate something like that.

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  8. I'm with the people who say tiered pricing, not fundraising. The reason kids cry when they can't have a yearbook is that they write in each other's yearbooks. Not making it available to everyone means leaving some kids out of a social scene. Kids do that to one another, but it's not cool for an institution to do -- it should be everyone, or no one.

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  9. sesing
    make sure every child gets one or don't do it.

    same with t-shirts.

    kids from lower-income households already have to see others get school pictures, scholastic book orders and brought-from-home lunches.

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  10. Can you have local merchants, or one larger company "sponsor" the yearbook - give them a full page ad - a "thank you" page in the back, and maybe even send them back a framed large photo to the company showing all the kids on the playground holding up their yearbook) in order to pay for a yearbook for every child? Maybe have one sponsor for each grade or for each class?

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  11. More than 40 percent of your school's families can't afford the 2 dollars a day it would cost to buy the school lunch.

    You really expect them to dish out for a yearbook?

    And you expect them to chime in on a blog they don't know about, in a language they do not speak?

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  12. $1.00 added to the actual cost, making it $16.00

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  13. I'm with @4:53 p.m. Noe Valley merchants are usually very supportive of neighborhood schools and kids. Also, consider making yearbook space available for on a size/price ratio to school parents and families as well. This way parents can advertise their business, friends and family can offer congratulations and the year book costs get paid for. I know I'm more likely to support vendors who supports my kids school. It's win win all round.

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  14. I'm another Alvarado parent of many years, not involved with this yearbook project (first I heard of it), and I just want to say, please find a way to make it affordable / accessible to all. A voluntary sliding scale sounds good, in order to subsidize lower costs/no costs for some. The teachers know who this would be....just as many of us kick in extra for the bigger field trips to cover the kids whose families can't pay.

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  15. The yearbook should be free to every child. You need to find "underwriters" -- parents, people, or businesses who will contribute the cost of yearbook production -- to pay for them. Print their names in the yearbook as sponsors and/or offer them ad space.

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  16. Not sure I love the idea of advertising in a childrens school yearbook.

    But, I do think that is is very important that if something like a yearbook is produced then it should be available to all children in the school. And not just to those whose parents can afford it.

    So, how about setting something up where you have a target number of yearbooks which need to be purchased.

    Parents/grandparents/anyone can then purchase as many or as few as they can afford - not for a specific child, but with the goal of reaching your target number. And the yearbooks don't go out to anyone until you have hit your target number of one yearbook per child.

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  17. Our yearbooks growing up always had adds in the back. And for that matter so do little league shirts. I think the books should be available to everyone, just hand them out. Get sponsors, I know, more work for the parents, but that's how it should be. You an ask parents for a donation for the book $20 or so, but make it a suggested donation, not a requirement.

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  18. I'm just wondering who is going to pay for the Elementary School prom! I hear it's going to be a Big Night Out!

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  19. Uh, your point?

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  20. I'm not 7:47, but I was thinking the same thing: elementary school is a little young for year books.

    One school where I worked tried it; interest was high among the fifth grade families, not so much among the younger kids. I'd rather see kids buy books they want to read. As for fund raising? It was a negative fund raiser: we wound up giving most of the year books away.

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  21. I don't even know what's the point of year books per year. At the end of the HS, who would keep 12 years of big heavy books?

    It makes sense to have one for the graduation class. However, it is overkill to expect parents/kids to have one every year.

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  22. The amount should be whatever the cost of producing the yearbook + $5 profit per book (I think everyone can afford $5).

    If it turns out to be a relatively small amount like $10, then the disadvantaged families can manage. Also, suggest the better-off families to buy it for $20, $30, $40 or $50 as fundraising (whatever you want the cap to be).

    Keep in mind that regardless of the price, some people may not want a yearbook or some people just feel entitled to free stuff.

    Regarding using the donated funds on buying yearbooks for those who can't afford it...etc. It's tricky because with such a diverse population, people can get pretty smart about working the system. I think the donated funds should be used for the school (which will benefit all the students) rather than individuals.

    It always amazes me how some families can't seem to afford anything but can somehow manage to spend $2 - $5 at a corner store on chips & soda everyday or even have a Nintendo DS in their backpack. It could be that the kid is really hungry or deserves a treat or the Nintendo was a gift... True, but it could just be that they're not as limited as we think.

    Whatever the outcome is, using this opportunity for fundraising is a good idea. Good luck!

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  23. 10:43
    your post is very offensive.

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  24. oh please! Some human beings scam the system. Really? That's offensive? Sounds realistic to me.

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  25. I'm the one who wrote about the prom. Sorry for my sarcasm, it just seems odd to me to have a yearbook in Elementary School. What ever happened to class photos? Isn't that enough of a memento? I agree with an earlier post - 12, or 13 books (if you count kindergarten) is a lot to keep up with over the years. Maybe a modest paperback 5th grade yearbook to celebrate moving on. Do others agree?

    Regarding ads, we always had sponsors in the back of our yearbook. It was how we got the books funded. (At least it helped defray costs.) It was a way for local merchants to support the school. I never viewed it as advertising, per se, just part of supporting the community.

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  26. I think $25 is a little steep for a public ES yearbook. Any other way to get costs down? Do softcover books w/Shutterfly or something? An optional, additional fundraising donation is a lovely idea.

    I had softcover yearbooks from my ES. It was loads of fun seeing me and my friends and others we knew in a published book! Can't say I know where it's packed away now, but it was fun at the time.

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  27. Just fyi -- I don't think you can just "write off" the donation portion, as one early poster suggested. The donation has to be to a real tax exempt non-profit organization in order to be able to qualify for a tax deduction.

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  28. I'm the Alvarado parent that originally posted the question. Thanks for all the input. I think we're not going to look at this year's yearbook for fundraising dollars, but might next year.

    In fact, talked to the company that produces them, TreeRing, and they are going to try to add something to the process that makes an extra fundraising donation an option. That way, each parent can decide what to pay and those that aren't in a position to donate extra get the yearbook at teh lowest possible price.

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  29. Kids whose parents can't swing $2 for lunch, probably aren't going to pay 10X that for a yearbook.

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