You know what your students need and you're determined to bring those resources into your classroom. Sounds like you're ready to submit a DonorsChoose request! But how can you be sure it'll get funded? Below are the three essential steps to give your request a leg up... before you create your project, while you're in the process, and after you hit "submit".
1. Before you post:
Funding is a collaboration between teachers and our team. We raise just over half the funds on our site from our corporate and foundation partners; you let your own network know about your request. Before you create your project, check in with us to see what funds may be available for you. Most often, this funding comes in the form of match offers—when every donation you receive is doubled. We keep this handy list of funding opportunities for you, including all of the guidelines to make sure your request qualifies.
2. While you post:
You've checked the funding opportunities and started creating your project. Now it's time to shop for your students! During this process, it's important to keep your project cost low. For example, a project under $600 is more likely to be fully funded than a project for $2000. But how do you keep your total down when you really need those resources? Here are some teacher-tested tips:
a. Focus on the big stuff
If you need a "big ticket" item, only request that item. Need an iPad? A classroom rug? A SMART board? Make sure it's the only item in your cart. If you need other resources, create a second project for those.
b. Shop around.
Before you commit to one vendor for an item, peruse a couple of others to compare prices. Not sure where to look? Check out this guide to commonly requested items and where to find them.
c. Break your project up.
If you're creating a project with lots of "smaller" items, divide the items from that one big project into three smaller projects. For example, you may need to fill your empty classroom with leveled readers and engaging picture books. Instead of creating one $1200 project, divide the books up and create two $600 projects. The projects will have a higher likelihood of success and you'll give three happy donors—instead of just one—the chance to finish off your request. Many donors love making that final donation on a project. They tell us there's nothing quite like it!
3. After you post:
Reach out to friends, family, and others who care about you, your school, and students. First, send an email with your project link to five people who would be keen to get a glimpse into your classroom. (For more on email, check out this post.) Then, create a post about your project for your Facebook page. Email and social media are the perfect combination for advocating for your classroom!