When our elementary school’s yearbook advisor retired a few years ago (actually, her student just went to middle school), all the parents who volunteered to put the yearbook together were still happy to help. But none were jumping up and down to take over the big role.
It didn’t take long for me to find out why (more on that in a second), and we ended up making a switch to a new yearbook company called TreeRing because of it. So, what happened?
The software our yearbook company provided was awkward and complex. Most people were uncomfortable with it. And if they had a problem, well, the customer support wasn’t really all that helpful.
That’s when it clicked for me. Parents weren’t interested in helping more because it was too much hassle.
Think about it: If it took you a really long time and caused you a bunch of stress to work on one page for the yearbook, why would you sign up to be responsible for the whole book? You’d have to be a glutton for punishment.
So, we looked for a new company. And during that process, I learned a few lessons about what a group of PTA volunteers should look for in their yearbook company. Here are the big takeaways:
The yearbook editing tools need to be incredibly easy to use.
- Parents and students should be able to pay for yearbooks online.
- Anyone should be able to contribute photos.
- Customer support should be really, really good.
For us, TreeRing fit the bill best. They hit all four of our key criteria, they’re free to use and they plant a tree for every yearbook sold. Plus every student can customize two pages in their yearbook.
We love everything they had to offer, but, most of all, we love how easy it is to use.
And that’s important. Because this year is my last year at Elk Creek Elementary School and I’m going to need someone to take my place. Given how easy TreeRing has been to use, it’ll be easier than ever to find someone to take over our school’s awesome tradition when my son heads to middle school.
Jenny Hancey is a member of the Elk Creek PTA in Pine, Colorado. She runs the Elk Creek Elementary School yearbook with volunteer help from other PTA parents.