Thursday, January 17, 2013

Her Donors Choose Success

How many teachers out there have ever thought, "I could really use ___ for my classroom, but I just don't have the money to buy it myself"? Well fret no more! There is a site out there where individuals and businesses are ready and willing to help you create the classroom you want, regardless of your budget or the budget of the school system you work for. Enter --- 

I will be honest - I was skeptical at first. I didn't think the site could work as well or as easy as people said. I was so wrong, so very, very wrong!

Donors Choose makes everything simple and easy. Once you set up an account, you can personalize your page however you choose. You choose a photo, connect to Facebook (if you want - you don't have to), add a link to your email signature (again, only if you want to), then you can make your first project.  

Click to see my DC page
There are ten steps - but don't let that number overwhelm you. You start by choosing the type of project - if you are just beginning you will shop at their eSchoolMall (which are stores they are connected with). Then you shop! They have everything from books to whiteboards to electronics. One of the teachers in my school system got a SMART board using Donors Choose! 

Once you have chosen what you want/need for your classroom, you write your request. They give you four prompts with character limits and you make your plea for why you and your students need the materials. At first I was nervous about this part, but the words flowed easily enough once I got started. 

Set your expiration date, proofread everything, and you are done! It is as simple as that. They provide sample emails to send to your students' parents if you would like also. The hardest part is the waiting to see if your project will be funded. It took less than a month for mine to be funded - I cried a little when I found out, I'll be honest!

When your project is funded, Donors Choose buys the materials and ships them to you. When they arrive you put together the "Thank You Package" which includes pictures of the students using the materials, a thank you letter from you, and - depending on whether the donors want them - thank you notes from the students.

The materials purchased for my classroom - well, one of each
My first project was a request for white board paddles, dry erase markers, and erasers. It was fully funded at $282. You can see the page here which gives you an idea of what a completed project looks like. My next project is already submitted - sets of books to use in my English classes. My fingers are crossed again that we will be funded. 

If you are a teacher and you are in need of supplies (and let's be honest - who isn't??), I highly recommend Donors Choose. Check it out and if you need any help or advice, I am happy to do what I can. 

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