Have you tried getting a funded Donors Choose project in hopes of getting some much needed resources for your classroom? You may have found out that it can be difficult to get your project fully funded.
I will go over some tips that have helped me get over 20 Donors Choose projects funded to get those resources in your classroom!
Choose Quality Items to Purchase
Donors Choose has select vendors they work with that are preapproved, but that doesn’t mean everything from them is quality.
Potential donors considering your project can see everything you are wanting for your classroom. If they see materials they think look cheap or not suitable for a classroom, they may look elsewhere.
When I needed help getting flexible seating for my classroom (see how to implement it here) I made sure I chose quality materials I knew would hold up in my class. I personally have skipped donating to projects based on what items they decided to get.
Remember you’re trying to persuade potential donors to give their hard-earned money to your classroom. The items you choose can affect their willingness to donate.
Eye-Catching Title, Snippet, and Picture
When potential donors are searching for projects to donate to, they see three things when going over a project.
- Your Project Title
- Project Snippet
- Classroom Picture
All of these need to try and be eye-catching to grab their attention and stopping them from scrolling away.
Make your project title clever or humorous while still giving insight into what your classroom needs.
Your snippet is where you want to tell the donors what your class needs, why they need it, and what the outcome will be if you receive it.
Make sure you have a classroom picture uploaded to your Donors Choose profile. If it’s colorful and gives some insight into your classroom, even better. This is the only visual we get to present potential donors.
Funded Donors Choose Projects have a Detailed Classroom Description
In the section where you get to describe your classroom and students. Describe the challenges your classroom faces and how resilient they have been.
Detail what makes your classroom and students special. Donors want to make connections with your classroom and get to know who they’ll be donating to.
You’ll also want to give information about your school and maybe even the community. If you teach at a Title 1 school, describe the needs your students have and how any donation made would benefit them.
For visual learners, I also created a video version of this post on my YouTube Channel:
Sell the Resources You Need
The project description is where you need to convince potential donors that the materials you are trying to get will make a great impact on your classroom. Donors especially love if they know their donation will impact many students to come.
Give specific examples of what that exact resource is needed for, how it will be used in the classroom, and what outcomes will occur because of it. Paint a picture for donors.
Here is an example of a description I wrote for a recent project for phonemic awareness center activities.
“Phonemic awareness is the foundational skill students need to read. These phonemic awareness center activities from Lakeshore Learning will give my students many different opportunities to practice this essential skill.
These activities are engaging, explicit, and directed towards helping my students become strong readers. I will be using this in my small groups to build this foundational reading skill so that my students can eventually start blending CVC words. Without phonemic awareness mastery that this resource builds up, my students will not be able to do that.
I want to make a great impact for my students by giving them fun and engaging instruction that this resource provides. My goal is to provide targeted lessons that will have my students reach their academic success. Your donation will help me reach that goal.”
Check for Match Offers
Donors Choose has lots of organizations and corporations that will offer donation matches to projects.
These can be seasonal or at random times. They can also be specific to a certain subject, need, or for all projects.
There’s been numerous projects I’ve had where out of nowhere, a corporation will do 2x match.
Be sure to check if any are currently being offered by checking on the right-side bar on the Donors Choose Teacher Homepage.
Make a Small Donation of Your Own
A great way to get the energy going for a project is to have a donation already on it. Donors want to know that the project they’re donating to will be fully funded and used in a classroom.
If you have a project without any donations yet, it can make potential donors question whether your project will be funded and move on.
Also keep your project under $300 if possible. It is harder to get a project fully funded if it has a high cost for the reasons listed above. If you have a large number of items you need, split them up into multiple projects for a greater chance for success.
Promote on Social Media
I tell everyone I know about these great resources I need in my classroom and how they can help if they’d like.
It is easy to feel like you’re begging, but a lot of friends and family would love to help. They can’t if they don’t know about it!
Due to this, I post my Donors Choose project on Facebook and tell family and friends what the project is about. I express how any sized donation would greatly impact the students in my classroom for years to come.
If my project is currently having donations matched, I stress this! People love to see their donation go even further.
Many times, my project gets fully funded within a day or two by just doing this! The people that care about you seriously want to help if you tell them about it.
Spread Your Donors Choose Link
One other thing I do to help get my projects funded is putting my Donors Choose link in anything I can where my students’ parents can see it.
Here are some places to put the link:
- Email Signature
- Class Facebook Group
- Class Dojo Story
- Google Classroom Pinned Post
- Back To School Flyer
- Parent Conference Notes
- Classroom Monthly Flyer
Many parents are happy to donate to their student’s classroom, as it will affect their own child. Don’t be scared to ask for help from parents, as there’s always someone willing to help.
I hope these tips helped you in creating a Donors Choose project that you will get fully funded. It’s exciting to receive materials for your students that you would not have been able to get otherwise.
It’s important to remember that you’re trying to convince someone why your project is important and the impact their money can make in your classroom. Know your audience and zone in on what makes them take action.