DonorsChoose Tips

Ever heard of
I'm sure the majority of you have, right?!
It's pretty.freakin'.awesome.
If you've never experienced this amazing site- here it is in a nutshell:
You ask for classroom goodies...
Tell the world why you need them....
Talk about your little people for a minute...
And then super kind, generous people donate!
DonorsChoose orders and ships your requested items.
You send thank you cards and smile!
It's super easy and super awesome...and can at times, super complicated.
The application isn't complicated {at all!} but the project itself can be if you don't know the tricks to getting it funded. There's nothing like seeing donations come in for your project and then go quickly away because you didn't get enough donations.
Trust me- been there, done that.
I've been lucky enough to have 5 projects granted- 3 of those just in the past 2 months!
How'd I do it?
I got extremely lucky the first time around and my classroom library project was fully funded in 4 days with just one donor!!
Like I said, it was luck.
That instant success gave me a false sense of how the site worked.
I requested 3 iPods for my second project, totaling over $400...and it sat and sat and sat on the site- eventually it expired.
Sad face.
Then I posted a third request for a white board- nearly $500.
That expired too.
It got me thinking.
Why didn't it work?
I've learned {through trial and error} a few tricks to help my projects get fully funded and fast.
I thought I'd share in hope that it helps you with your next project if you're a sad face like I was.
1. Try to request smaller dollar amounts. There are additional fees and charges that get added to your request so keep that in mind. I've had the most success with projects around the $200 range.
2. If you have a large request, break it into multiple projects. For example, instead of asking for 300 reams of printer paper- try posting 3 projects for 100 reams each. If your project says "$74 to go with 5 days left" and the next person's project says "$323 to go with 5 days left"... someone if more likely to finish off your $74!
3. Set an expiration date! I know that seems scary- you want it to stay on the site as long as possible- BUT- projects ending sooner get the most publicity on the site's main page. I only leave mine up for 2 months, max!
4. If you teach at an inner-city school, you'll often qualify for a "half-off" donation. It's not guaranteed- but I haven't posted a project yet that hasn't qualified! There are large companies out there in your corner and willing to match 50% of donations!
That's like getting half your project instantly funded!
5. Be honest. Tell people what your needs are and be open.
I don't sugar coat my reality.
6. Don't overuse teacher lingo. Put it out there in layman's terms.The average person doesn't instantly know what AVID, Title 1, ESE or ESOL mean. They don't speak our language day in and day out. However, people do understand "inner-city","economically disadvantaged", "special needs" and "second language learners".  
7. Spread the word! Use the facebook, twitter and email templates to send your project out to friends and family. Even if they can't donate, they certainly can pass along the email to their friends and co-workers!
Like I said, these are just a few tips that have helped me gain momentum with my projects lately. They aren't guaranteed to work every time-
so don't send me hate mail, pretty please.
Hope it helps turn that frown upside down!


  1. Great tips! I just posted my second project and have my fingers crossed ;)
    Fun in Room 4B

  2. I have really been wanting to try out donors choose and just haven't had the guts to try yet. That's so awesome that you've had so much success. I think I'm definitely going to try it out now.

    Saddle Up For 2nd Grade

  3. Thanks for the tips. Hoping to post something this month for the first time:)

    The Resourceful Apple

  4. Be careful setting your project to expire early. Most giving pages frown on this. Giving pages are a great resource for promoting your project.


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