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The Results Are In! Funding DonorsChoose Projects Keeps Teachers in the Classroom

US public schools are experiencing a historic teacher shortage, so retaining great teachers is key to ensuring students have great learning experiences. Research shows that funding a DonorsChoose project helps keep teachers in the classroom.


The results are in: By giving to classrooms on DonorsChoose, you are measurably improving teacher retention. A groundbreaking study from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business demonstrates that funding teachers’ DonorsChoose projects reduces teacher turnover.

The Study

Dr. Samantha Keppler, Dr. Jun Li, and Dr. Andrew Wu examined data from 20,000 classroom projects posted by over 11,000 Pennsylvania teachers on DonorsChoose. They paired that dataset with Pennsylvania teacher employment records from 2013 to 2019. The researchers found that teachers funded on DonorsChoose are 2.67 percentage points less likely to leave the profession.

The Results

 In general, teachers are 22% more likely to stay in their current classroom if they have a funded DonorsChoose project within that school year. 

Why do funded DonorsChoose projects affect teacher turnover? Researchers spotted two main reasons.

1. Improving the Classroom Environment

Teachers frequently request items that improve the effectiveness, organization, and comfort of the classroom for teachers and students alike. Resources like bookshelves, classroom rugs, and storage bins address a key factor in teacher turnover: inadequate work conditions.

2. Increasing Teacher Innovation and Autonomy

DonorsChoose projects are created by teachers who are closely attuned to their students’ unique strengths and learning needs. When teachers can select innovative resources individualized to their students, they can teach more effectively and feel empowered in their expertise, making them more likely to stay in the profession.

For example Ms. McGinnis from Philadelphia says:

“I can’t thank you enough for your kind gift of the new carpet my class gets to have this year! We use this gift everyday. Our morning meetings are the gateway into our day. It's such a nice addition with a brand new space where we sit while we are learning about our day and building a community within our room.”

DonorsChoose helps teachers continue to cultivate the minds of their students, one classroom campaign at a time.

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