August 08, 2016

Classroom Fundraising Series: Day 1- Use Donors Choose (Part 1)!

(This is the first installment in a series of posts about classroom fundraising. Several of the topics can also be applied outside of the world of teaching, as well! So sit back, grab a hot [or iced] cup of coffee, and stay awhile!)

We're starting this series off with a bang! If you recall from the introductory post, I mentioned a whose list of items that I was able to get for my classroom last year. In case you missed it-

  • 6 Kindle Fire tablets (with brightly-colored, rubber, child-proof cases)

  • a beautiful classroom rug

  • a smaller rug for our library

  • 2 bookshelves

  • 36+ National Geographic nonfiction books

  • 300 laminating pouches

  • 30 high-quality seat sacks (which will be delivered in August)

  • and guess what! I didn't even have to sell my soul (or a limb, or my firstborn cat).

    I got these things from...

    Donors Choose! 

    I'm not going to lie- I hadn't even heard about Donors Choose until July of 2015. Donors Choose is a fabulous crowdfunding website that's like GoFundMe for teachers. It allows you to set up an account and design projects where you request certain things for your classroom. Once you "shop" their venders and type up a few paragraphs about your students and the supplies you're requesting, you're all done! Projects sometimes take a couple of days to get approved but, once they do, you're halfway there! All you have left to do then is get yourself funded.

    I read about it on the Simply Kinder teacher group on Facebook, and I was so interested! I just had to get in on it, to see if it was as good as it sounded. 

    (Quick tip: IT TOTALLY IS.)

    Long story short, I have since been funded for all of the above supplies and currently have several more waiting to get funded. I really can't say enough wonderful things about Donors Choose!

    What I can do, though, is show you how to sign up and get your first project rolling!

    Are you ready? 

    Step 1. Go to the website and click on Start your first project (outlined here in yellow). Then, click the green Get Started button.

    Step 2. Set up your teacher account. 

    Step 3. Create a new project. (Note- your screen, as a first-time user, may look different than mine!) 

    Step 4. Choose your project type. (Most will be standard.)

    Step 4. Answer questions about your students and school. The writing portion will be prompted, and it's very short and simple. 

    At this point, you'll also get to choose a classroom photo. Be sure that none of your students' faces are shown, unless you have photo releases! 

    Step 5: Here's the fun part! GO SHOPPING!

    Be sure to read any fine print associated with where you choose to shop for supplies! For example, you can only shop on Amazon for items that are Prime shipping eligible. Don't worry, though, they'll tell you everything that you need to know before you shop! 

    Step 6: Tell potential donors why your students need these supplies. For example, I picked out some bookshelves for my classroom. I want to tell potential donors why my students need these! We don't have enough space for our books, our library is crammed, I want to be able to use book boxes but don't have the space... those would all be good things to include!

    Step 7: Name your project. Make it catchy! My title for our Kindle Fire project was Kindles for Kinders: On Fire for Tablets!

    Step 8: Tell potential donors about why you need these specific items. Tell them how their donations will help your students be successful! 

    Step 9: Submit your project! 

    This is a huge deal! You may have to wait a few days for your project to be approved. They'll email you if you have any additional questions. In the meantime, go ahead and check out the links they've provided (shown in the above photo). Once you get that magical email that your project is live, you can start advertising!

    Confused on how to get your project in the limelight so that it gets funded? Check back tomorrow for Use Donors Choose (Part 2)!