I'm thinking I might be preaching to the choir here, but for the 3 people who have never used Donor's Choose, this Tried it Tuesday is for you!
At the end of the summer, I mustered the courage to post my first project on Donor's Choose. If your not familiar with the site, it allows you to request items for your students and kind donors can choose to contribute to your project. I will say that the end of the summer is not an optimal time to post because you have to wait for your school to officially open before they'll ship your goods. No amount of "but it is open, I'm up there every week" or "listen, the floors are all waxed and we all know that marks the official opening of any school" would change their mind.
For my first project, I started small. I requested copies of three novels to give to my students to take home. Allow me to have a "moment". There are statistics somewhere that show that the number of books in your home is a predictor of future academic success. I don't know about you, but I work in a school where, for a significant percentage of students, the only book in their home is the phonebook. I chose Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom (has he been to my house?!), a novel/graphic novel hybrid that is the first book in a series to pique interest at the start of the school year. They will go home with their second title, White Fur Flying, before Christmas break. And at the end of the year, they will take home Sharon Draper's Out of My Mind as a summer read because I have fallen in love with that book and want to bring others with me. I love that these titles will live at their house- within reach of nosy little brothers and sisters, able to be loaned to friends and cousins. Three books doesn't dramatically alter their stats, but it's a start.
To start your project, you can shop with their approved vendors and select the items you're requesting. You can also request help for field trip help, funds for a speaker, or items from a non-pre-approved vendor, but they require more points. Essentially, the more projects you have funded and complete the necessary follow through for, the more points you have.
After shopping, you get to the best part! You get to tell the story of the students in your classroom and write about how these requested resources would be used to help them.
Funding: After everything is complete, someone looks over and approves your project. Then, it goes "live". You will receive an email telling you that your project is now active, and they have an email that you can forward to friends and family to notify them of your project. For the first 10 or 15 days that your project is active, your project receives corporate matching. For every donation from a friend, family member or colleague, a kind company will match that donation. Through this opportunity, my project was able to be funded and FAST! Full disclosure: I'm pretty sure my project was funded by my mom, dad, and my parent's neighbor. What can I say? I've got good peeps in my corner.
After your project is funded, it takes several weeks to be processed and shipped. In the mean time, you are asked to write a follow-up email thanking your donors and provide pictures of your students using the requested items. Some donors ask for letters from the students but mine did not.
Overall, I was so pleased with my Donor's Choose experience! It was easy to use and straightforward. In education, ask and ye shall receive. We are quick to purchase items ourselves or do without, but the truth is there are lots of people out there that would love to make your classroom dreams come true. I've also donated on the site, and that was super easy too. Maybe you and your family are thinking about some charitable giving this holiday season. Make an impact in classrooms across the nation.
So what about you? Have you completed a project on Donor's Choose? What was your experience?