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Beyond Friends and Family: Techniques to Reach Your Project Goal

Teacher reads with her students

Your family has already supported your latest DonorsChoose.org project. Or maybe your best friend donated to your last three requests, and you feel funny asking her again. Or perhaps your loved ones and those of your students aren’t able to pitch in, even though they might want to. All of this leads to a question we hear a lot here at DonorsChoose.org:

“I’ve already asked close friends and family for help with my project, and it’s not funded yet. What do I do now?”


Here are a few teacher-tested methods to reach your project goal:Keep more folks in the loop. Keep your wider network of acquaintances in the know about your project by creating a Facebook post with your project link. Let folks know what you're up to in your classroom!You can also easily integrate your projects into your life online by putting your teacher page link in your social media profiles and email signatures. That way, those who want to can see what you’re up to—and possibly chip in to help!

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Widen your net. Time to expand your network! Reach out to people and organizations who care about your community. DonorsChoose.org teacher Jed Dearybury regularly reaches out to local businesses. He says they’re willing to help because “this is going to benefit our community. This is gonna make a stronger workforce. The stronger those schools are, the better their businesses will be.” One pro tip: Think about groups who might care about the focus of your project. Requesting materials for a writing workshop? Head to the local bookstore to ask for a donation. Pushing STEM? Try asking for support from a local tech or manufacturing company.

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Switch up your ask. Those who have already contributed and those who are unable to can still give your project a hand. Simply ask them to spread the word instead of donating, and provide them with your teacher page link or a stack of flyers. Many teachers in high poverty schools who feel uncomfortable asking parents for contributions use this tactic to get the word out. Says teacher Michelle Ramos, “Most parents are willing [to spread the word] because it is quick, easy, free, and effective.”

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Think outside the box. Check out this post which—in addition to the basics—has a list of out-of-the-box challenges you can try. Pick the one you like best, or create your own!

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