AASA Central | Back-to-School Crowdfunding Toolkit
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Crowdfunding Best Practices Toolkit For District Leaders

AASA Love Public Education


Charles Best, Founder & CEO DonorsChoose.org

Public schools have long used donations to enrich students’ academic experience and to fund materials that budgets cannot always afford. Historically, schools have raised such donations from their local community, often through PTO/PTA fundraisers. Teachers also spend their own money — on average $500 per year — on school supplies.

Today, online crowdfunding makes it possible for teachers to reach beyond their local community. By tapping into a wider network of donors, districts can raise funding for classroom resources regardless of socio-economic level, giving rural and low-income communities equal access.

As teachers use crowdfunding to bring additional resources into their classrooms, PreK–12 leaders are prioritizing those sites that provide transparency, integrity, and security throughout the process. We’ve captured some best practices from district leaders paving the way and the crowdfunding sites they prefer.

Founded by a public school teacher, DonorsChoose.org meets a singularly high standard of accountability and transparency. This nonprofit site is the only classroom-centered platform where teachers can reliably access a majority of funding from outside their network, providing equity for teachers in rural and low-income communities. Ask a DonorsChoose.org team member how much funding for your district’s teachers has come from outside your state — for most districts, it’s over 50%.

Table of Contents
How it Works

National Fundraising. Local Impact.

Unlike any other funding platform, 75% of the dollars given to classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org come from people and organizations outside of teachers’ personal networks, making our site especially useful for teachers in low-income communities.

DonorsChoose.org corporate and foundation partners have provided more than $300 million of classroom project funding. And by engaging a community of donors passionate about supporting classrooms, we connect teachers with individuals they would never otherwise meet through traditional fundraising efforts. That’s why Dan Domenech, executive director, AASA, calls them the “PTA equalizer.”

Teachers at verified schools request specific items. DonorsChoose.org vets every single project that teachers post. Donors and foundations contribute to these requests. DonorsChoose.org orders the items and ships them to the school. DonorsChoose.org notifies the school in advance of every shipment.
Getting Started
Custom Reporting on Your District’s Use

To see the impact of DonorsChoose.org in your district, sign up for a free report detailing the resources your teachers have received to date. You can opt to receive regular reports of all projects posted and/or funded in your district, including line-item breakdowns of every material delivered.

Get the Word out to Principals and Teachers

See tips, case studies, and email examples to help you district make the most of DonorsChoose.org in the Back to School Toolkit for District Leaders.

See tips on training teachers at the district-level or in school sites in the DonorsChoose.org Teacher Guide to Success.

Populate Your IT / Technology Guidelines in the DonorsChoose.org System

Whenever your teachers use DonorsChoose.org to request computers or tablets, we’ll remind them of your district’s technology requirements. Read more about our site’s capabilities and fill out this form to display your district’s technology guidelines when teachers from your school create a project.

Contact DonorsChoose.org