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Crowdsourcing to Make Your Classroom Dreams Come True

By Kait Krolik

The average teacher spends about $500 out of pocket on their class each year. One in 10 teachers spend over $1,000. However, some teachers are beginning to curtail these costs by using crowd-sourcing sites like Donor’s Choose or Go Fund Me to bring their classroom dreams alive.

Crowdsourcing As you get back in the swing of things this school year, you likely have creative ideas on how to enhance your classroom, provide more stimulation or comfort for your students, or fun, engaging lessons you would like to try. Likely, the biggest deterrent from making these ideas reality is money.

Teachers across the country use Donor’s Choose as their preferred crowdfunding source and report receiving flexible seating, robots, iPads, laptops, ELMOs, books, audio equipment, furniture, curriculum, supplies, gardening equipment, subscriptions and more! Other teachers who rely on alternative funding take advantage of grants from Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Dicks Sporting Goods to name a few.

With these alternative funding sources, you can add to your classroom in ways you cannot using state funding.

As you get back in the swing of things this school year, you likely have creative ideas on how to enhance your classroom, provide more stimulation or comfort for your students, or fun, engaging lessons you would like to try. Likely, the biggest deterrent from making these ideas reality is money.

The Process

The first step on Donor’s Choose is building your account. To create an account, you will need to verify that you are a public school teacher and fill out your general teacher profile page. They will create an individual webpage for you, which will make publicizing and sharing your awesome projects much easier.

Once your account is set up, the fun part begins! To create a project, write up your goals for the project. Before you do this, check to see if your project qualifies for any of the national or state matching offers. If they do, you will enter the campaign code into your standard project application. After completing this prep work, you get to go shopping!

After you submit your project, your work is not done. You need to promote your project through social media or other platforms to get your project out there. If your project is fully funded, you will be required to take photos and thank your donors. The website provides consent forms for your class. If you cannot get consent from parents, it offers guidance on how to take appropriate pictures.

Tips

  1. Double check to see if your project qualifies for matching funds.
    • Matching funds cuts the amount you need to raise. Sometimes companies will pay all but the last $100. Raising $100 instead of $1,500 is a lot more manageable and easier to promote to your community.
  2. Break up expensive projects into a couple of projects.
    • If you have a large project that will need over $1,000 to achieve and you cannot find matching funds, break your project into increments and work toward one goal at a time.
  3. Share your projects on social media.
    • Post your projects on your Facebook page, local community pages and any school community groups that you are a part of. Ask your community to donate to your project and urge them to share this with their family and friends, as well. When you do all this and stay diligent, your project’s reach will raise the likelihood that it gets fully funded.