What is the Difference Between A School Vendor and A School Partner?
As a school administrator, an important part of your job includes sourcing external vendors to help keep the school running smoothly. It’s easy to understand the appeal of the lowest-cost option or continue working with the same vendor the person who had your job before you signed ten years ago.
In our experience, many schools searching for vendors are looking for true school partners. Any company can be a vendor, exchanging services or goods for money, but creating a partnership involves much more than a business transaction.
What is a school partner?
A school partner works with your school, not just for your school. When you work with a school partner, you’re both working together toward a common goal.
Ideally, your relationships with your school partners are mutually beneficial. Rather than simply providing your school with products or services in exchange for money, are they giving back in any way? Perhaps this comes in the form of help with a school fundraiser or resources to help you maintain a positive school environment.
When looking for a true partner, it’s important to find a company that holds similar values to those of your school. For example, if your school cares deeply about the environment, find out how your potential school partner is supporting the same cause. Are they using green materials and processes? Are they empowering youth to become environmental changemakers?
Beyond having similar charitable causes, a true school partner shares the same concerns as your school staff. They work with you to keep your students safe, because what’s important to you is important to them, too.
A vendor that fits these guidelines may indeed be the company your predecessor signed or the option that allows you to save the most money. However, this isn’t always the case. Every once in a while, it’s important to reevaluate your school’s needs and whether your current partner or vendor is still meeting these needs.
Your go-to school partner
At Edge Imaging, we’ve been in the school photography business for 15 years, so we know all about being a good school partner.
We want to benefit your school. As long as it’s permitted by your board, every photo day with Edge is, effectively, a school fundraiser. Every time a parent purchases their child’s photos, a percentage of that transaction goes back to you, allowing you to continue educating the next generation.
We prioritize giving back to our communities. Empowering youth and being environmentally conscious are important to us, and this is reflected in our own corporate partnerships. We’ve partnered with Tim Horton Foundation Camps to send kids from low-income backgrounds to camp to improve their leadership skills and with TELUS Wise to educate and encourage youth to be their best digital citizen and stay safe online. We also support EcoSchools Canada and have been inducted into the Burlington Hydro Hall of Fame.
We keep your students safe. After photo day, we provide each school with a number of practical products meant to keep students safe: pictorial directories so school staff have a photo identifier of each student, easy allergy and bus lists for admin, and more. We also provide parents with Child Safe cards free of charge.
In addition, we make data security a priority and invest in cyber-resiliency on an ongoing basis. We realize that, as a school photography provider, we’ve been entrusted with housing images and personal data of millions of students nationwide, and this isn’t a responsibility we take lightly. Learn more about the importance of planning for and mitigating cyber risk with your school vendors in our white paper, found here.
To top it all off, we’re 100% Canadian owned and operated.