Wikipedia states, "Donor's Choose is a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects." I had heard of Donor's Choose and thought about doing it but to be quite honest the thought of it overwhelmed me. One of my teaching buddies got her guided reading table from Donor's Choose and another teacher got "peanut chairs" for her classroom. It amazed me that both of these projects could get funded from random donors, and I thought about doing my own project but never got around to it until now.
How Donor's Choose Works:
Think about something that would make a positive impact for your classroom and students. Something you need that can truly make a difference.
As Donor's Choose describes above, it really is as easy as 1-2-3!
It took me so long to complete my first application because I thought the process was overwhelming but really, truly there is no reason to be overwhelmed! Since all of the questions are classroom related you already know the answers if you take a moment to think about them.
Below are the questions I was asked (not exact wording from the website but hopefully you get the idea:)
What do your students need?
Describe your classroom and students.
If funded, how will you use this project?
See, those questions aren't too hard?! ) The website limits you to a certain number of characters, and seeing as I love to ramble, the hardest part for me was keeping it within its limits and not going over.
Basic Steps in Submitting your Application:
1. Fill out Project Questions and Go Shopping
The questions asked are the ones I wrote above. Nothing too difficult or time consuming. After you fill out those you eventually get to go "shopping!" There are specific stores and places for you buy from. I created an account with Amazon linked to my school email address to shop from.
2. Catchy Title and Classroom Photo
There are so many projects for donors to choose from so it makes sense to choose something catchy to grab the attention of anyone who is browsing. Also, you must have a classroom photo. I remember being told this but didn't remember and therefore my classroom picture isn't the best but will work for now. I am not the most creative person but was able to come up with a somewhat catchy title...
3. Waiting Game
Your project will get reviewed and should then get approved! I was nervous for some reason mine wouldn't but I received an email saying it did and I went to the Donor's Choose website and saw these messages below!
4. Email those you Love
You get an automated email that you can simply add names and email addresses to. I just did my parents, my hubby's parents and our siblings (I am not too comfortable with asking friends but maybe I will become better in the future?!?!) Anyways, it is incredibly enticing because anything you get donated to you that first week gets matched up to $100! So exciting!
So that is where I am in this Donor's Choose Project. I am just shy of a month in and have gotten about a quarter of my project funded thus far. I recently got my first totally random donor and let me tell you, it is so exciting for someone to choose your project (out of the gazillions of projects out there,) to donate to! This company is from a suburb of Chicago so I believe that why I got picked-but still it is exciting!
Helpful Tips and Tricks I Learned:
1. Connect it to your Facebook Account
I was hesitant to do this at first but am glad that I did because it lets me know when I got donations (without logging into Donor's Choose.) and I have had a couple of very generous friends and some of my parents' friends donate money-I didn't have to email or ask any of them for money it just showed up through their feed.
2. Be the First to Donate to your Project
If this project is important to you donate a little bit to get your project going! If you are the first to donate you can put in the code and have your money matched!
3. Under $400
Keep your first project under $400. You are more likely to get your first project funded if you keep it under $400.
4. Don't Give Up
I keep reading this whenever I read about Donor's Choose, that even if your project doesn't get funded, keep trying. Fingers are crossed that mine does get funded but if it doesn't I will stay positive and will try a different project!
I found two AMAZING resources that really helped me submit my first Donor's Choose project. The first is from Funky Fresh Firsties and it is a TPT Freebie that will walk you through all of the steps of your project. Click on the picture below to be taken directly to this freebie.
The second AMAZING resource is from a blog post by The Open Door Classroom. Click on the picture below to see Erin's tips.
Both of these ladies helped me tremendously when starting on my first application! Make sure to head on over to both their freebie and blog post before you get started with your first project!
For my first ever Donor's Choose application I am linking up with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried-It Tuesday! Don't forget to head on over to see the other projects teachers tried this week! Thanks Holly for always encouraging us to try new things!