5 min read

Raise Funds for Classroom Supplies with This Cool Tool for Teachers

Featured Image

DonorsChoose helps public school educators get the classroom supplies they need to deliver exceptional education. Read on to find out if you’re eligible to use this incredible crowd-sourcing tool.

Want more funding for your classroom?

Of course you do. You’re a teacher with a limited budget. 

You care about delivering out-of-this-world education to your students, but getting the right supplies to make learning fun and engaging can be a challenge.

That’s where DonorsChoose comes in

DonorsChoose (DonorsChoose.org) is a free, non-profit website that allows educators and teachers to easily fundraise for classroom supplies or projects. It’s similar to go-fund-me but specifically for teachers.

 

Crowdsourcing for public schools comes with a few rules…

This cool fundraising tool is built for public school educators. Not just anyone can submit a project to fundraise.

So, how do you find out if you can get funding? DonorsChoose has a comprehensive list of eligibility requirements on their website.

Here’s the quick answer:

  • You must work at an eligible public school in the U.S.
  • You’re employed full-time (or considered at least 0.75 FTE) by a public school, public charter school, or the Office of Head Start.
  • You’re a front-line educator or other faculty member (teacher, librarian, therapist, counselor, school nurse, etc.) whose main responsibility is to directly teach or counsel students.
  • You’re in charge of creating your own lesson plans (or equivalent in a non-classroom role), and not primarily assisting another lead teacher.

What kind of projects can you fund on DonorsChoose?

If you’re eligible, that’s great news. Now, how do you turn those lesson plans into lesson cans?

Before you submit to Donors Choose, review the guidelines below. Requesting classroom supplies for projects that fit these criteria are most likely to get approved and funded.

  • All requested resources must be used by students or directly provide a student experience.
  • The request must be appropriate for your school (i.e., if your school can only service PC computers, you should request that type of resource).
  • The project must not provide a financial benefit (eg. commission, profit, dividends) to the teacher or their network of family and friends, or demonstrate a conflict of interest between a teacher and the vendor.
  • The project cannot foster discrimination or proselytize a religious or political viewpoint.
  • Any project that infringes upon a student’s safety or right to privacy is not eligible.
  • The project essay cannot include legal disclaimers, promises of rewards, or other promotional languages.

You can submit projects that can be carried out at any time during the school year, as it can take anywhere from four minutes to four months for a project to be fully funded.

Every project created on Donors Choose is reviewed and vetted by teacher volunteers to make sure they meet eligibility requirements. When a project is funded, Donors Choose purchases the materials directly from the vendor and has them shipped directly to the school.

What if I’m not eligible?

Unfortunately administrators, trainers, parents, aides, after school coaches, substitutes, part-time teachers, Early Head Start educators, and supporting school staff like cafeteria workers and bus drivers are not eligible to use Donors Choose. If you fall into this category, please forward this article to a FTE teacher who might be able to get funding for their projects.

If you teach at a private, parochial or non-profit school, you’re in luck. Adopt a Classroom and Good360 are great alternatives to Donors Choose.

How to Use DonorsChoose to Purchase Classroom Supplies

I bet you’re wondering how funding a project works on DonorsChoose. It’s actually pretty clever.

The whole Donors Choose system works on a point system. When you first sign up for a Donors Choose account, you will be given 3 points to use. Every time you submit a project, you spend one of these points.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Materials found in the vendor directory cost 1 point.
  • Virtual class trips or class visitor projects cost 1 point.
  • A “Special Request” for materials not found in the vendor directory costs 6 points.

You may be thinking, “That’s great I can submit up to three projects from the start, but what if I have one of those special requests?”

The good news is that you can also earn points (and it’s actually pretty easy).

Each of these items will get you 1 additional point:

  • Get your project funded and confirm you still want the materials within 6 days.
  • Upload an impact letter that describes how your project was implemented and how your students benefited on or before its due date.
  • Upload student thank-yous on or before their due date.

Once you fund your first two projects, all you have to do is upload your impact letter and student thank-yous, and — there you go — you have the 6 points you need for that special project you’ve been dreaming about.

What’s PocketLab’s role in all of this?

Some PocketLab products can be added to a project through our approved vendor, Nasco. If you don’t see the PocketLab product you’re looking for, don’t fret. Simply create a “special request” on DonorsChoose, then get in touch with us to help with the process.

After earning enough points to create a “special request,” add a PocketLab sensor to your wish list to get it funded. Easy as that.

P.S. We also contribute to any project that features PocketLab. Email us at contact@thepocketlab.com to let us know about your project to get your contribution.


Written by Scott Kiessig and Michael Doane

 

5 min read

Raise Funds for Classroom Supplies with This Cool Tool for Teachers

DonorsChoose helps public school educators get the classroom supplies they need to deliver exceptional education. Read...

4 min read

Have you heard? Science is Cool.

Science is Cool (ScIC) is the largest online science conference in the world, reaching over 59,000 educators...

5 min read

Georgia Tech is Mapping Urban Heat Islands in Atlanta With PocketLabs

#UrbanHeatATL

Get involved: urbanheatatl.org 

"We're mapping Atlanta's urban heat islands with community science."

...