|DonorsChoose.org||| Print ||
Altus Public Schools DonorChoose Opportunities may be seen here.
DonorsChoose.org is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.
Proposals range from "Magical Math Centers" ($200) to "Big Book Bonanza" ($320), to "Cooking Across the Curriculum" ($1,100). Any individual can search such proposals by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to fund the project(s) they find most compelling. In completing a project, donors receive student thank-you notes, classroom photos, and a teacher Impact Letter.
How It Works
Public school teachers create student project proposals at DonorsChoose.org. This consists of writing a one page essay and listing the exact resource(s) needed.
DonorsChoose.org volunteers screen each project proposal before posting to the website. Volunteers verify that the teacher and project meet our eligibility requirements, emailing follow-up questions to the teacher if anything is unclear.
Concerned individuals fund the student projects of their choice—in whole or in part—and are emailed immediate email gift acknowledgments from DonorsChoose.org which can be used for tax deduction purposes.
DonorsChoose.org emails the school principal, alerting him/her to the funded project.
Within the next week, DonorsChoose.org forwards the donor an "e-thank-you" from the teacher, which notes the date by which the donor can expect his/her full thank-you package.
DonorsChoose.org purchases the student materials and ships items directly to the school along with guidelines for preparing thank-you packages, and a stamped envelope in which to enclose the feedback.
Students experience the project that the donor made possible! The teacher photographs the students participating in the project and writes an Impact Letter to the donor. Students write their own thank-you notes which are then returned to DonorsChoose.org headquarters.
DonorsChoose.org ensures that photos and the teacher's Impact Letter are posted to the website, and sends student letters to the donor(s) who completed the project or made a partial contribution of $100 or more.
Fulfilling Student Projects
DonorsChoose.org performs a good deal of work to ensure the integrity of its philanthropic marketplace. Here's how it works:
The price of a student project includes an optional fulfillment fee covering the work performed by DonorsChoose.org (see Fulfilling Student Projects). After clicking to fund a project, the donor may decide not to include this fulfillment fee. By choosing to include it, donors support the necessary resources—staff time, office space, and technology—to bring their chosen projects to life.
While the cost of fulfilling student projects remains the same, DonorsChoose.org offers a "scholarship" to higher need schools by discounting the fulfillment fee. Depending on the school's poverty level, fulfillment is assessed at 15%, 20%, or 25% of the project's cost. The vast majority of schools using DonorsChoose.org have high rates of poverty, so most proposals carry the 15% fulfillment fee.
Donors' inclusion of the fulfillment fee is essential to the existence and success of DonorsChoose.org. Thankfully, 90% of donation dollars come to us with the fulfillment fee included, and income thus earned allows us to continue our work.
As more student projects are funded and donors continue to include the fulfillment fee, DonorsChoose.org becomes increasingly self-sustaining. However, during this early stage in our growth, we also depend on grants and contributions to support our operation.
Spreading the Word
The most powerful motivator of new donors is you. By sharing DonorsChoose.org with friends, family, and colleagues, you can help bring resources to students in struggling classrooms. Ways to involve one's personal community include:
Funding a project in someone's honor. Here, the donor can recognize someone special by funding a project in his/her honor. The donor gets the tax deduction and the honoree is acknowledged by the classroom.
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