When I first started teaching five years ago, I knew I didn’t want to spend a gazillion dollars getting certain projects up and running (classroom library, technology in the classroom, etc.) I learned about Donorschoose.org and set up an account right away! A few weeks later, a huge box filled with over 100 books was sitting in my school’s office, with my name on it.
Creating your Account
Donors Choose is all about the points. You start with 3 points when you sign up. Each time you post a project, you spend your points based on how expensive your project is. The goal is to never drop to 0 points. Whenever a project is funded and you complete the thank you package, you earn back your points.
Set up your Project
Once you have an account, it’s time to create your project. This is the most time consuming part. Donors Choose will walk you through creating a catchy title, and writing your overview, description, and need/benefit. This is your grant proposal. Take your time and make sure you’ve detailed exactly why you need this project funded and how it will benefit your students.
Time to Shop
Donors Choose is linked to a ton of different vendors, including Amazon and Lakeshore! Once your proposal is done, you get to fill up your shopping cart from the affiliated vendor’s websites. And then you don’t have to pay for it at checkout. It’s glorious. Donors Choose will review your proposal and cart items within a few days and then notify you when it’s approved, or let you know what to revise in order for it to go live.
Once your project has been reviewed by a Donors Choose minion, it goes live. Post that bad boy on all your social media platforms so friends and family can donate! Depending on what your project is asking for, you may have the opportunity for SEVEN days of AWESOME! Donors Choose will send you a code that people can enter at checkout when they are donating, and the code makes it so that the donation gets MATCHED, 100%! This code can be used for any donation and as many times as possible for seven days. Almost all my projects have been funded within a week because of this!!!
What to do After you get your Items
Take pictures!! Take pictures of the kids opening the package and using the items! Then, have your kids write thank you notes to all your donors and send that off as soon as possible. This way you get your points back. Donors Choose will have you set up a due date for your thank you package which will give you up to 6 months to complete it. It’s more than enough time. Just do it right away while the kids are still super excited about it.