As Susan Doherty and her neighbor Larry Jacobs found themselves talking about all the fundraisers they’d endured with their school-aged children, they started dreaming about something better. They wanted a fundraiser that would be useful to parents, would not send kids door-to-door and would still make money for schools.
From that fundraiser fatigue, Picateers was born. Picateers is an online photo storage and sharing site that also offers a portrait fundraiser package.
“We were talking about the school portraits and how they can be so disappointing,” Doherty says."So we came up with a different model where we help schools come up with a teacher or parent volunteer to take the photos.”
To help the photo volunteer get started, Picateers offers a basic lighting kit with a mat that indicates placement for the lights, the child and the camera. They also offer guidelines for outdoor photos. The photographer takes test photos and works with a Picateer staff member to ensure the portraits are professional quality before they begin shooting.
“We hold their hands all steps of the way,” Doherty says. Once school photographers take the photo, they’re uploaded to Picateers Web site where parents can select their photos, pay online and get prints sent to them. Schools receive 50 percent of the cash from each sale.
For schools that want another way to fundraise without taking photos themselves, families can upload their photos and order prints much in the same way they would through a photo Web site such as Snapfish. By typing in their school’s name, the school receives 25 percent of the sale.
Both the portrait package and the online photo gallery are available to other organizations such as sports teams and scout troops.
There are no additional fees for any of the services and if a school orders the Picateer studio light kit ($499), the cost can be taken out of any cashback the school earns so there’s no upfront cost, Doherty said. The earnings per school depend on the number of purchases, but Doherty said it averages about $15-$25 per purchasing family.
For more information, go to www.picateers.com or call (877) 331-2999.