Here are some of my favorite Artsonia features.
Fan Club & Comments
Parents can invite family members and friends to join their student's "fan club". When you are a fan club member, Artsonia sends you a message whenever that student has new artwork uploaded, inviting you to look and leave a comment. When someone leaves a comment on a student's artwork, their parent will get an email so they can approve it. I've been told my students really enjoy getting praise and encouragement from their family members on their artwork, especially when those family members don't get to see the student that often. It gives them a way to still be involved.
Artsonia has a gift shop with tons of different items that can be ordered with the child's artwork printed on it. T-shirts, ornaments, cutting boards, keychains, even temporary tattoos at one point! The parent or family member selects the artwork and the product, pays for it, and then 20% of their purchase goes into an account for your school. You can even view a fundraising report that shows you which artwork was used for an item and how much money is going into your school account. When I started doing more choice based projects, the gift shop orders started going up. One of my schools earned around $500 last year through Artsonia. You can request payment in several forms. I've gotten a check to my school and told the secretary it was for art supplies, and gotten e-gift certificates to Dick Blick and Amazon. Yet another option is to use funds to pay for NAEA membership as students benefit from their teacher's professional development.
I like fundraising through Artsonia because it doesn't require any extra effort from me- I don't have to plan art projects that fit certain parameters, I don't have to collect any money, and I don't have to sort and pass out any products. If you WANT to do a little extra work, you can print off slips before holidays to send home reminding parents about the gift shop or even do a seasonal project a bit early in time for orders.
I think there is a lot of value in students writing artist statements about their work. You can either type or copy/paste them yourself or give students the option or assignment of entering them on their own. The artist statements will show up with the artwork.