how does donors choose work? - ProTeacher Community


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how does donors choose work?
Old 04-25-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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I have seen people on here talk about this website before. I am teaching 2 sets of reading and writing next year, and I was wondering if I could get some supplies through this website. Normally I just purchase what I need for about 25 kids, but now it will be double! I feel like I need some more books for my classroom library, book boxes for each student, and writing/reading binders for each kid. If your project gets funded with this website how/when do you get the $...is it one of those things where I could go to the dollar store with the money and buy the materials (I have to buy 50 book boxes and 50 binders so even those would cost me $100 if they had something at the dollar store.) I am just not sure how it works, but I could definitely use some help getting materials that would really benefit my students. Thank you!


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It's easy :)
Old 04-25-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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You go on the site and write a proposal. Essentially, you talk about your classroom and students, then about your need. Then you use the site (it redirects you) to about 30 different vendors, commonly used by teachers. You then shop by putting things in your cart. When you get what you need, it takes you back to Donor's Choose. Then you wait. My last proposal took about 2 months to get funded (appox. $200). It stays on the site for about 6 months. Once funded, you write a thank you note. My materials arrived in less than a month. Then, you take photos of your students using the materials and write an impact letter describing how these materials have benefitted you class. It took me about an hour to write the proposal (very easy- they give you samples) & shop.

I'm working on my impact letter this week. I cried the first time I was funded. Good luck!
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How It Works
Old 04-25-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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You don't actually get any money. As you start your proposal you tell what items you need and choose them from the School Mall of preselected vendors. (I suggest keeping a note pad close by and jotting down vendor names and items--my computer kept freezing and I had to keep starting over.)

You also write a few paragraphs about why your students need the items and describe the demographics, economics, or difficulties of the students but in a way that doesn't make them seem pitable (just deserving of better experiences as all children are.) You can also get funding for enrichment items, which was my situation. Math and Technology items sometimes qualify for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matching funds so you might think of a project that will qualify for funding there--they pay 1/2 the cost of a proposal.

After it's submitted online, Donor's Choose will look over your project for meeting their guidelines and send you an email telling you it is posted on the site. You will also get a link for a letter to forward to friends, family, and others soliciting their support or asking them to pass the email on to others who may fund it. (You don't have to send the letter, they just suggest it.)

As donations are made you will receive email updates. When you are funded they email you the link to thank your donors with a few lines on their site. Items for completely funded projects are purchased and sent within 3-4 weeks, but not between April 15 and September 1st, nor over the Christmas/Winter break.

You earn points for completing each step of the process in a timely manner, which can be used to write/submit additional projects. It's a win-win situation in my opinon. I signed up last year in the spring and didn't understand it enough to write anything, but Mrs.Croak on PT posted a list of do's and don'ts which helped me tremendously. I wrote my first proposal on Feb 22 and is was fully funded on April 12 and now my stuff is on the way!! And my second proposal is only a few dollars away from funding, so I say go for it, you can always get help/advice from PT! I think lynnylubber had has about 18 projects funded, you might PM her for advice. Good luck!!
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Who does the funding?
Old 04-25-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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Who exactly is funding these projects? Is it the friends and families that you are sending the e-mails to, and the other people who are also receiving the forwards? Or is it the vendors themselves of the site as well listed on Donors Choose?
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Donors
Old 04-25-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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Not your friends and family--in fact they are not likely going to fund your project without prompting from you-- but private citizens, corporations, foundations, small businesses, etc. I don't know if the vendors give them a price break or not when we shop through their School Mall sites. When Donor's Choose started there were many very prominent people from Fortune 500 companies at their kickoff. The founder has done a great job of letting people know about this program. The guy, a former teacher, was even on Oprah. The site is listed on our district webpage, and because items go directly to classroom teachers for students' immediate and ongoing benefit people find it to be a good cause. My final two donations were memorials given on Easter Sunday in behalf of special people in their lives~sometimes it is given to honor a special teacher or school memory.


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