If you’re a K-12 teacher, more than likely you have reached into your own pockets to purchase supplies for your classroom. According to an AdoptAClassroom.org study, 91% of teachers make these costly investments in their students’ education.
There are several ways to fund your necessary supplies. One of those ways is crowdfunding. U.S. News and World Reports estimates that in 2017 $200 million in donations was raised through three of the most popular vehicles – DonorsChoose.org, GoFundMe and PledgeCents.
Choosing the Right Platform
There are many crowdfunding sites out there. The three that are listed below are educational focused. See the chart below for the features of each to help you choose the best site for your project.
Setting up and Promoting your Project
Now that you have decided what crowdfunding site to use, next steps are setting up and promoting your project.
To make your project stand-out you need to write a good story. Facts are important, but emotions move the reader to give. You also need a catchy title, cute pictures and no typos.
Catchy Title: A project titled “We Need Magnetic Letters” isn’t likely to generate a lot of clicks. A title such as “Letters Here, Letters There, Magnetic Letters Everywhere” is much more compelling.
Pictures: Share pictures of your classroom environment, your desired supplies, or even images of your students, minus any identifying features. (If you use students in the pictures or videos, don’t forget to get parental approval with signed release forms.) Posting a video is another option. According to Andyshea Saberioon, CEO and cofounder of PledgeCents, crowdfunding projects that include video see a 25 to 30 percent increase in contributions.
Write a Good Story: Tapping into trends can help your story. STEM education is hot right now. Got an arts project you need funded? Talk about cuts to arts funding. Need money for a field trip? Talk about how it will expand students’ understanding of an event or place in the news. Emotions move the reader, so write your story on a personal level and not based on facts.
Spread the word
The beauty of online crowdfunding is that it gets your request out into “the web of social media.” Share your project with friends via Facebook, and encourage them to share it with their friends, dramatically increasing the number of people who might contribute to her campaign.
Other ways to spread the word: Create fliers and drop them off at local businesses. Add your project to your e-mail signature, and embed links in blogs, classroom websites, and district newsletters. And ask your students to help: A crowdfunding campaign is a great way for students to learn about marketing, social media, and budgeting.
Most education crowdfunding sites require teachers to thank donors when a project is successfully funded, and notes from teachers and students can go a long way toward engendering goodwill. But don’t wait until your project is over to connect with your donors. Many sites allow teachers to reply to donor comments; doing this creates a personal connection that may translate into continued support.
Let donors know how much you appreciate their support, and, if appropriate, share details about how their donation will make a difference in students’ lives.
Don’t Give Up
Lots of perfectly worthy crowdfunding projects don’t receive funding, so don’t feel too bad if yours doesn’t reach its goal the first time. Instead, use your experience to forge ahead.
If you have used Crowdfunding in the past, please share any tips you have in the comments field. We look forward to hearing from you!