DonorsChoose Funded in 3 days! What?

First and foremost, it sucks that exists at all.  Why do teachers have to spend their own money or beg others to give them money for things they use in their classrooms?

Whew, okay, that's out of my system.  I love that does exist.  I'm currently 4 for 4 on writing and funding projects.  The first project was to buy divider tabs for my new AVID students. The second project was an awesome deal on Samsung Chromebooks.  My third project was headphones for an independent work station in my classroom.  The most recent project was to replace the Chromebooks that are three years old and starting to show their age.

I've linked each project so that you get sense of what a completed project looks like. 

I've done two huge projects and two smaller projects. All of them completed, some quicker than others.  

What's the secret to funding a project?

I'm not an expert but here's what I did:
  • Have students help me write the project.
  • Have concrete needs and materials.
  • Give specific reasons why you need what you are asking for and how students are going to use the materials.
  • Take advantage for matching funds.
    • ​My most recent project started with 50% off because it was a student-led project and most of the donations were matched using a special code. (Yes, this project was almost 75% off the regular price!!!)
  • If you are able, donate to yourself.  You get a tax deduction and it shows that you are invested in the project with your own money.
  • Use all sources of funding you can thing of:
    • One project had a $500 donation from a foundation that I reached out to. I took time to work through the organization but it was worth it.
    • The most recent project was 2/3 funded by a local "Help Northside Schools" Facebook page.  I posted once per day for two days on that page.  Simply amazing to have community involvement.
    • If you are on Twitter, post the project.
    • If you are on Facebook, post the project on your personal page.
    • If you are on email, blast a one time only message to all your friends and family.
  • Once people start donating, make sure you make a personal connection through, a Facebook comment reply, an email, or an @ message on Twitter.
  • Be sincere and honest.
  • When it's funded, post a heartfelt message on
  • After you get the materials, take lots of creative, fun, and inspiring pictures with your students and the materials.
  • Have students write sincere thank you letters (you might need to practice this skill).
While asking for donations for things that should just be handed out by your school shouldn't be the norm, it is. and other fundraising sites are key to adding to your classroom and making education better for your student.