Monday, August 22, 2016

A Teacher's Best Friend

Who doesn't love this song?!?

Unlike a girl, a teacher's best friend is not diamonds (although I really, really wish they were).  A teacher's best friend is Donors Choose.  For those of you who don't know what DC is, get ready to have your mind blown.  It's a website where teachers write proposals for materials, trips, visitors they want for their classes, people donate money and you get your stuff.  (It's only for public school teachers in the USA, sorry everyone else!)

It really is that easy.  I have been a member since 2005.  In that time I've had over 200 projects funded.  The average project was about $200.  That's $40,000 worth of materials I've gotten for my kids!!!!!!!  What have I asked for?  It's more like what haven't I asked for.  I've gotten dozens of class sets of book (When You Reach Me, Cinder, Divergent, The Hunger Games, The Lost Hero, Oogy), hundreds of individual books for my classroom library, 30 Chromebooks, markers, pens, paper, field trips, you name it.  My biggest project was definitely the 30 Chromebooks, but many of my projects are $100-$300 projects.  

Kids on Chromebooks on (both funded by DC)

Need a book? DC has that covered.

Every kids gets their own copy of  When You Reach Me.

Another DC Double.  Colored paper for Interactive Notebooks and The Lost Hero books.
When a proposal is funded, you have a few expectations to meet.  First you confirm that you still need and want the materials by writing a quick thank you note and choosing a date to have the final thank yous done.  Then when the kids get the materials, you need to take photos of them using the materials (make sure you have permission), write a more detailed thank you note from yourself, and sometimes the kids have to write thank yous too.  I like this part the best. Some donors want them, others don't.

Who wouldn't want to get this in the mail?

Does every proposal get funded? Of course not.  One of my proposals for Kore Active Stools just expired because it didn't get fully funded.  Bummer, but not the end of the world.  The donated money goes back to the donor and you can always repost.  I recommend starting small, a $100-$150 proposal.  DC works on a point system.  Each project is so many points.  You get points for completing steps and the more you have the bigger projects, you can post.

On the serious side Donors Choose does an amazing job, especially for school hit hard by natural disasters.  The tornado that went through Moore, OK, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, even the Flint water crisis have all affected schools in those areas.  And DC was there every time to help rebuild.  Right now Louisiana  is having the worst flooding since Katrina.  If you've watched the news, you know just how bad it is.  But then again, you don't.  Unless you live there, you have no idea how truly bad it is.  Once again Donors Choose has stepped up to help.  

If you're a teacher, get onto Donors Choose immediately, open and account and start writing proposals.  And if you can, help out our fellow teachers in Louisiana.


  1. I love Donors Choose! I have gotten lots of stuff funded and totally agree that small projects are easier to get funded. I would take larger projects and break them down into small ones!

  2. What a great organisation. I do think it is sad that it is necessary in a country like the US to need donors, BUT, since it is necessary, I am glad opportunities like this are available!

    1. The founder was a former teacher, fed up with the shortages.

  3. Wow! What an amazing organisation. Good on all the donors out there!

  4. This is amazing! I have never heard of Donors Choose until this summer. I've bookmarked their page, and will look into writing a request. I would love flexible seating for my tutoring groups :)

    1. Go for it! They're havi a match offer by Target for flexible seating right now!

  5. It's like Kickstarter for Teachers! How delightful. :) So glad you're getting the word out!

  6. Thank you for sharing a wonderful resource. I will be passing this along.


  7. Thanks for this! Many teachers have heard about Donors Choose but don't know how to use it.