School Fundraising in 2021 – A Time to be Creative

December 16, 2020

The 2020 school year has been like no other we’ve experienced in our lifetime — and there’s no doubt it’ll continue its new form into 2021. As it goes, school fundraising has been disrupted as well and requires thinking outside the box to fill coffers that have been strained by increasing costs associated with the pandemic.

As we gear up and plan for 2021, fundraising will be a top priority for most schools. So, what can we do to reimagine and revitalize school fundraising in 2021?

Just in time. There’s a new and creative way to fundraise which has hit the school scene. Waldo will help ensure your school meets or beats its fundraising goals even in the face of a dramatically altered school year.

Strained budgets

How we learn, work, and play has changed dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our communities. Many schools have moved to 100% online learning, some to hybrid models, and others have remained in person — but in all cases, more funding has been needed to ensure students stay safe and connected in the face of the pandemic. Students have required new resources to successfully do distance learning and schools have been required to implement dozens of safety measures to support hybrid or in-school learning.

While schools continue to seek federal assistance to try and curb the negative effects of the pandemic, many of the costs have yet to be covered. Without more assistance, schools face a host of new cuts that no educator wants to impose.

With uncertainty surrounding federal or state support, fundraisers are taking center stage as a means of closing the funding gaps. But what is the best source of fundraising amidst a pandemic?

Will Traditional Fundraising be Effective in 2021?

Prior to the pandemic, we were all familiar with the usual school fundraising plans. 5K races, popcorn tins, auctions, coupon books, and car washes have been some of the go-to fundraisers in years past.

Many of these traditional tactics aren’t practical in a socially distanced world and others have started to get a little long in the tooth. Have you ever run to the door with excitement when you see your neighbor’s teenager stopping by to hawk another tin of popcorn? Exactly.

Schools are in need of a new way to fundraise which is safe and practical — and they need to deliver something parents actually want but allow them to support their school at the same time.

Enter Waldo, the newest, hottest way to fundraise at your school!

Waldo has taken something every school already does and turned it into your school’s next top fundraiser — Picture Day. That’s right. Parents are already going to buy their student’s Picture Day portrait, team, and individual sports photos as well as graduation photos, so why not make it a fundraiser?

Wondering how your school can plan a safe, effective, and profitable picture day?

Waldo is an advanced photo sharing platform that schools can use during Picture Day or throughout the year to deliver photos of their children at school to parents and family members. Serving as a one-stop shop for ordering prints, digital proofs, and drop shipping print orders directly to parents’ doorsteps, Waldo helps streamline the picture day process — and helps schools fundraise while doing so. It’s as easy as:

  1. You upload your Picture Day photos onto Waldo. Recruit a parent volunteer or outside photographer, hired for a fixed daily fee, to shoot your Picture Day photos, then upload them all onto Waldo’s free cloud storage.
  2. Parents text in a selfie of their child and Waldo’s facial recognition finds their proofs and sends them back to the parent’s phone for preview immediately.
  3. Parents can select and purchase their digital downloads and print packages via the Waldo app, and then Waldo delivers the prints directly to their doorsteps.
  4. Then, Waldo sends your school a check!

Waldo only charges 20% of sales to support the entire process from the time the photos are uploaded to the cloud to being delivered to your families’ doorsteps. Your school keeps all the remaining profits after actual print and shipping costs. Waldo’s DIY Picture Day Fundraiser will be your school’s easiest and most productive fundraiser in 2021!

With Waldo, our Picture Day Fundraiser is only one of the great products we offer schools. Our photo management platform also includes Photo Manager and Photo Finder for enriching the management and delivery of all of your school’s candid events photos.

Photo storage and management

The days of having photos on multiple computers, SD cards, thumb drives, Dropbox, or Drive are over. Waldo allows your school to centralize all of your content in a single secure, cloud-based solution. All photos taken by your community are directly uploaded and organized in the school’s secure, cloud-based gallery and can be reviewed and curated prior to being published.

Yearbook teaching aid

Waldo makes it easy for Yearbook Advisors to provide valuable feedback to their students. With Waldo, they’re able to gather photos from students and others via a text or an email-based contributor invite. As students add their photos to the system for review, each photo is attributed to the photographer who snapped it and your Yearbook Adviser can filter by student and provide tips and advice on how to improve their photos.

On top of that, Waldo’s AI and custom tagging makes searching for that yearbook worthy shot easy! Waldo automatically sorts photos by student. Staff can highlight the winning shots and tag photos as a spotlight of a student for future yearbook use. When it’s time to assemble the yearbook, all the tagged shots can be filtered on and exported as a batch!

Social media and amplifying your brand

Social media has quickly emerged as your school’s number one marketing asset. Have you wondered how you can take all of the amazing photos you already have and leverage them to get the most of your school’s social media presence?

Waldo provides an easy way to better engage with your community and turn them into your school’s #1 fan online through photos with custom logo overlays and auto-populated hashtags. Your parents’ reach on social media is 40 – 50 times greater on average than your schools! Waldo’s mobile delivery of branded photos increases parent engagement with your school’s content from as low as 3 to 5% to as high as 90 to 95%. Waldo lets your parents share your story through photos organically as they post to social media.

Contributors and crowdsourcing

Schools get the best of both worlds with Waldo! Waldo enables schools to allow staff and parents to contribute photos into a secure gallery, while still maintaining control over which photos are published! Contributors will receive text invites to upload into the Waldo app, enabling ease of use and fast publishing times.


Your photos are safe with us! Waldo’s security acts as the Fort Knox of photos with two-factor authorization and a required review setting that allows you to approve uploaded photos before publishing them into a gallery or album. The Do Not Publish (“DNP”) feature allows students to be tagged as DNP, removing any photos of them prior to publishing! Besides that, Waldo’s No Post to Social feature allows social sharing options to be disabled for student photos to prevent unwanted sharing and keeping those captured shots private and safe.

Waldo-fy your school!

Want to learn more about how your school can partner with Waldo and turn photos into fundraising while simplifying your school’s content management? Simply fill out the form below and one of our School Partnership Managers would be happy to show you how Waldo-fying your school can fuel your fundraising in 2021!

> Sign up now

School fundraising will be more important than ever in 2021!

With so much money going to unexpected costs this year, fundraisers will be key to getting back to a rich and full learning experience enjoyed by our children pre-pandemic. In an environment where budgets are going to be tighter than ever, we need to make sure we can fully fund the following areas:

Classroom aids

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that learning in the classroom can not be replaced by zoom calls and online classrooms. As we move back into the classroom full-time and funds have been shifted towards safety, fundraising is needed for traditional supplies, equipment, and new technology.

Extracurricular activities

We all know special outings, outside speakers and academic competitions enrich our child’s learning experience, broaden their horizons, and fuel their confidence but these programs often need fundraising support. Whether it is a field trip, spelling bee, debate competition, or science fair, these are all important activities which we must find a way to fund while cuts are being proposed across the board.


From new uniforms for the girl’s soccer team to new training equipment for the football team or nets for the tennis team, our athletes are in constant need of outside support and booster club fundraising.