DonorsChoose is a nonprofit built exclusively to support preK–12 public schools and address educational inequities. CEO and founder Charles Best launched the nonprofit 20 years ago out of his Bronx high school history classroom—since then, the charity has generated $1 billion from over 4 million donors of all stripes for public school learning requests.
At DonorsChoose, 74 percent of the funding for classroom projects comes from outside the school’s community. The pool of donors extends all over the country, including large, multimillion-dollar companies such as Google, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Staples Inc. By going beyond the school’s typical fundraising reach, teachers from around the country have gotten many of the resources they need.
How It Works:
- Teachers at verified schools request specific items
- DonorsChoose vets every single project that teachers post
- Donors and foundations contribute to these requests
- DonorsChoose orders the items and ships them
- DonorsChoose notifies the school in advance of every shipment
Principal Tool Kit from DonorsChoose
NASSP and DonorsChoose have partnered together to educate principals on crowdfunding and foster collaboration between school leaders and teachers—ultimately encouraging teacher-driven innovation and ensuring alignment with school and district goals and initiatives.
NASSP and DonorsChoose developed a Principal Tool Kit with information on the nonprofit’s impact, practices, and policies; examples of school leaders who have used DonorsChoose to strategically support their school’s mission and vision; and tips for engaging teachers and advisers in using crowdfunding to support their work.
Download the tool kit to see how schools like yours are using DonorsChoose.
As a principal, you can:
- Host a staff professional development training for teachers on how to get started on DonorsChoose
- Let educators know when there are DonorsChoose match offers and funding opportunities from DonorsChoose corporate or foundation partners
- Share the success your educators are having at regular staff meetings
- Sign up for principal notifications so you are always in the loop when projects are posted by your teachers
Principal Case Studies
Mildred Charley-Green, principal, Northwood High School (Maryland)
Upon learning of her physics teacher’s fully-funded project, Principal Charley-Greene was inspired to empower and applaud educators’ creativity in leveraging DonorsChoose. She encourages project creation aligning with her schoolwide focus areas of equity, powerful instruction, and shared accountability.
Joe Simo, principal, Centennial Middle School (Colorado)
Principal Simo sees the value of engaging DonorsChoose for teachers to fund projects ranging from STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) resources to professional development projects as long-term investment in staff. In the past two to three years, DonorsChoose has fully funded more than $30,000 in projects at Centennial Middle School.
DonorsChoose in Principal Leadership Magazine
DonorsChoose was featured in the December 2019 issue of NASSP’s Principal Leadership Magazine. Check out the article to learn more about how Principal Simo and school leaders across the country are leveraging crowdfunding to support their teachers and students.
To learn more about DonorsChoose and best practices in leveraging these resources, please reach out to Danielle Rowe (email@example.com).