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Crowdfunding your Classroom 101

Here’s why crowdfunding for your classroom is an effective way to get school supplies for your students.


crowd·fund·ing (noun): the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the internet.

Teacher Translation: the ability to get exactly the materials your students need most by connecting with a community of passionate donors who want to see your classroom succeed.

If you’ve found yourself wishing for “more” or “new” or “different” at your job, opening up your classroom to a crowdfunding request can get you exactly what you need. Though it may seem daunting to articulate your classroom needs to an unseen audience, here are a few compelling reasons to give it a try…

Reason #1: It works.

Over the past 20 years, crowdfunding has become a go-to source for offsetting the costs of everything from new product ideas to medical expenses to independent films. Small donations made by many people can create a massive impact.

And it works for classrooms! DonorsChoose was born from the belief that there were people out there who'd want to help teachers and students — if they could see where their money was going. Crowdfunding at a nonprofit like DonorsChoose tracks every dollar from donation to classroom delivery. Teachers ask for the exact materials they need, donors select the specific projects they want to fund, and our team takes care of the purchasing, shipping, and delivery. With these powers combined, classroom funding through DonorsChoose offers a highly transparent, interactive, easy-to-use option for teachers and for donors.

Today, teachers at 86% of public schools in America have posted a project on our site. Together, 5,150,359 citizen donors and dozens of generous corporate and foundation partners have given over $1 billion to make learning more engaging. The data proves it: crowdfunding works.

Reason #2: There’s a community waiting for you.

On DonorsChoose, 75% of the dollars given to classroom projects come from donors who have never met the teacher they’re supporting. These are donors who we’ve built up over time and who love to support teachers, based on a shared passion or affinity. Every day, thousands of donors come to our site — searching for everything from Shakespeare to science to racial justice to the city where they grew up — and discover classroom projects from teachers they’ve never met.

On the opposite side of the screen from these donors are teachers like you posting requests for their classroom needs. Right now there are 44,643 live projects on our site from teachers who know exactly what it’s like on the front lines of education. It’s a window into the real-time needs of classrooms across the country. As a nonprofit dedicated to public schools, that’s our crowdfunding goal: Connect teachers to our donor community and connect teachers to ideas and inspiration from their peers.

Reason #3: You’re the expert here.

Crowdfunding upends the idea that one-size-fits-all resources work for every classroom. You know your students best, so you get to pick the materials and experiences that will work for your room. Your story is a personal invitation for donors to support your unique vision. No more standard issue projector or single-catalog ordering, the DonorsChoose community will fund whatever you need, whether it’s the latest and greatest — or the weirdest and coolest.

Reason #4: It’s your classroom, delivered.

Crowdfunding through DonorsChoose removes the weight of fulfilling classroom resource needs from teachers’ already-overloaded shoulders. The DonorsChoose platform gives you access to many vendors all at once (think: an online mall just for teachers!). And because we’re honor-bound to both teachers and donors, we make the entire process as transparent as possible. Once a project is fully-funded, we take care of all the fulfillment so everything you ask for shows up right at your classroom door.

Ready to share your classroom with the DonorsChoose community? Start your project today and see how crowdfunding can help you level up your classroom. 

Founded in 2000 by a history teacher, DonorsChoose is a highly-trusted nonprofit organization 100% focused on educators. Through DonorsChoose and its network of donors and partners, you can get everything you need to be the teacher you want to be — all in one place. It’s simple: you post a request for the exact materials and experiences your students need, your friends and family lend a hand, and our community of donors takes care of the rest. We order everything for you and ship it straight to you. From books to underwater robots, if you can dream it, you can request it.

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