Crowdfunding

Educators and school leaders are leveraging online fundraising platforms like DonorsChoose.org and ClassWish to appeal directly to the public for support, detailing their requirements and the reasons behind them. They discover that contributions from many individuals, even in modest amounts, accumulate significantly.

Each online fundraising platform operates under its unique set of regulations—some without any fees insist that purchases made with the funds are through affiliated suppliers. For instance, fundraising through Adopt-A-Classroom necessitates spending on supplies exclusively at Office Depot, their associated vendor. Conversely, other platforms deduct a fee, generally ranging from 2.5% to 5%, from the total funds collected.

Experienced campaigners in crowdfunding suggest providing rewards for contributions, including simple items like mugs or pencils, or even a heartfelt video of gratitude from the students.

Here are several notable crowdfunding platforms dedicated to educational purposes:

DonorsChoose stands out for its widespread adoption by educational institutions and notable endorsements (including a generous $800,000 contribution from Stephen Colbert for South Carolina-based projects). It simplifies the process of raising funds for educational activities and resources. This platform uniquely offers a no-commission model for teachers, requiring purchases to be made through specified vendor partners.

ClassWish is distinguished by its inclusivity, supporting fundraising for schools of all types, including public, private, and religious schools, a contrast to platforms like DonorsChoose which limit to public schools. It applies a transaction fee of 2.9 percent plus 30 cents on each donation, with purchases restricted to partner vendors.

Adopt-A-Classroom features compelling success narratives on its main page, ensuring donors stay informed about the impact of their contributions—a thoughtful feature. This platform operates without imposing any fees but mandates shopping from a select group of vendors.

PledgeCents often likened to a ‘GoFundMe for educators,’ boasts participation from over 1,300 schools across 51 states. It has successfully garnered more than $600,000, benefiting around 300,000 students across the country. Direct payments are made to schools or organizations upon reaching fundraising targets, with the platform taking fees yet allowing educators to retain collected amounts, independent of goal achievement.

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