Sunday, August 12, 2012

Some Donors Choose Tips

I'm thinking more about Donors Choose on this Sunday before school begins (kids start this upcoming Wednesday here). I've had some friends and readers inquire about how to get going on Donors Choose, so I wanted to share some tips. Now I'm fairly new at the Donors Choose thing, but I've already had a little success and am already trying again. You can see my Donors Choose page here.

It can be hard to know exactly what you're going to ask for the first time you login to Donors Choose and begin a new grant request. The reason for this is that you will fill your shopping cart (your request list) from their vendor list. What I've tried to do is already know which subject area I'm targeting and what kinds of materials I'm going to be asking for (books, furniture, games, technology, a combination, etc.). You're asked to name your project before you head off to the vendors sites, but remember, you can always go back and make changes after you've compiled your list.

I highly recommend taking the time to head to each vendor and see what they have. My current project, for example, is based around social studies (history and geography). I knew going in that I was going to ask for some books, games, technology, and teacher resources. So when I went to each vendor site, I was targeting those items. Also be mindful of price, don't just start filling your shopping cart with anything that seems neat.

You'll enjoy looking around, finding items that you want, and refining your shopping cart until it's just right. I've heard that the biggest things that drive donors on this site can be geographical location (for regional donors, and there's really nothing you can do to control this), and how compelling your page is. Really show your passion for teaching and your students, be able to articulate how much of an effect the items you're asking for will have on your classroom, and be genuine. I think that if you follow those tips, and then keep on it by sharing your page on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, through email, word of mouth, etc, that you'll have a greater chance of getting funded.

Of course, I'm not exactly a pro, I'm just hoping that more teachers find this great site and give it a shot. The very worst thing that can happen is that your request won't get funded. And at best, you'll get items that can revolutionize your classroom and provide you and your students with great materials that can make the classroom a great place to be (not that it isn't now, but even greater).

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