My name is Nicole, and I am a past K/1st teacher and Reading Specialist. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom and a TpT seller at the Teacherof20 shop. In the past, I’ve written three successful Donor choose projects that have gotten funded by anonymous donors within months of being written. Here are a few tips on how to write a stellar project.
- Stay within the $100 to $300 range. The Donors Choose website itself will tell you that projects that are overly expensive rarely get funded. Not all projects are fully funded by a single donor. In the event that yours isn’t, it will take longer to fund if you have to wait for multiple donors.
- Pick items and a theme for your project that aren’t an immediate necessity. If you need the items right away, then you probably don’t want to rely on Donors Choose, because it will more than likely take months for someone to fund your project. The three times my projects got funded, it took at least 2-3 months. If you absolutely need the materials right away, then it’s best to find another way to purchase them. But all teachers have dream wish lists or things they can do with their students if only they had the money. This is what Donors Choose is best used for.
- Be explicit in how you’ll use the items and how they will benefit the students. Even if it is office supplies (which are indirectly tied to student performance), always reference back to how these items will benefit pupils. For example, a paper cutter will benefit students by allowing you to cut and ready the materials faster than if you had to wait until you get around to going in the teacher’s lounge. This will enable students to use them faster or help the teacher ready the lesson more efficiently.
- Proofread. Make sure your project write-up makes sense, is grammatically correct, and addresses your audience. Just like being a TpT seller, if your product doesn’t look great, then no one will buy it. The same goes for Donors Choose. If your project isn’t written in the best possible way, then it will likely not get funded.
- Lastly, once your project does get funded, be sure to write your thank you notes and upload pictures in a timely manner. Donors Choose will write you to tell you when the deadline is. If you don’t meet this deadline, then it could limit your ability to write future projects. Also remember that if you want to have pictures of students in your thank you package, then you will have to have signed permission from parents. Make sure you allow time to get the permission slips signed and to get the pictures taken and uploaded by the deadline.
Follow these steps, and you’ll likely have your project funded within months. I was able to get two tablets for my classroom, which helped my Kinder students use phonics learning apps. It was very beneficial for them to have this immediate feedback that the tablet provided in their literacy station. It was like having a second teacher in the room providing intervention while I met with reading groups! Another project I wrote enabled me, as a reading specialist, to have tools (such as shower buckets to fill with materials and take to classrooms and mini-erasers for students to erase their whiteboard answers) with which to provide intervention. Every project I’ve written was well worth the time and effort it took to write the project and send out the thank you notes!