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Crowdfunding: What should I be looking for?

Posted on July 9, 2018

A new classroom can have lots of space to fill, but classroom supplies and student resources are expensive. As a new educator, you may feel unequipped.

This is why many teachers take advantage of online crowdfunding, a way to get classroom resources by means of many small donations from friends, family and even strangers. By tapping into a wider network of donors, educators can raise more funds for classroom resources, giving rural and low-income communities equal access.

But with all the different crowdfunding sites out there to choose from, how do you know you’re using a reliable one?

Here’s what to look for:

  • Financial accountability

    Look for sites that deal in materials, not cash. Crowdfunding sites that purchase and send resources directly to verified schools, instead of depositing cash into teachers’ personal bank accounts, are best at ensuring accountability and integrity.

  • Transparency at ever step

    Use sites that publicly display details about each material that was funded (unit cost, vendor, etc.) and provide easy-to-understand explanations of fees and overhead costs.

  • Capturing impact

    Look for crowdfunding sites requiring teachers to report how the resources were used in the classroom and how students benefited.

  • Privacy and safety

    Make sure the sites you use have mechanisms for protecting student privacy as well as a privacy policy tailored to the unique needs of students in public schools.

One crowdfunding site that has all of these characteristics is DonorsChoose.org, a site that makes it easy for teachers to post projects and share them with their friends, family and others on the internet. Head to their website to post a project.

AM-C04314 (July 18)

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