How to Raise Money for Your School Using 4 Simple Crowdfunding Sites

Before you pull out your wallet to pay for those classroom supplies, pause. Could you crowdfund it?

We’re all familiar with government grants, but these can be time-consuming and often require long essays or meticulous documentation of classroom activities. An easier way to handle smaller classroom projects that require funding and will provide value to your students is via crowdfunding.

You’ll recognize some of these crowdfunding sites geared toward teachers, but you may not have considered others such as Kickstarter. Start by nailing down the scope of your project—how much it will cost, why it’s necessary—and start crowdfunding today!

1. Donors Choose

Donor’s Choose is a platform geared toward classroom enrichment that was created by a high school history teacher from the Bronx. This platform has been endorsed by Oprah, and Colbert is a member of the Board.

In 16 years, 291,678 teachers have used the platform to raise money for books, technology, and more. 94% of teachers claim it increases their effectiveness in the classroom, and 70% of the projects on the site reach their goal.

Thinking about using the platform? Here are some quick facts:

Best for: All class projects

Cost: Free for teachers to use, 15% of each donation goes to overhead, teacher outreach, etc. unless Citizen donor opts out

What you’ll get: If you’re funded, Donors Choose purchases and ships your requested items

Looking for ideas? Check out some examples of past projects in all areas.

2. Kickstarter

You may have heard the story of Zack Danger Brown’s hugely successful Potato Salad project that garnered $55,492. It started with a silly goal—to make a potato salad for $8. However, it caught the imagination of Kickstarter supporters the web over, and now, Brown’s creating a potato salad cookbook.

Fortunately, Kickstarter’s not just for potato salad! There are categories for Art, Music, Technology, Theater, Design; so many ways to get your creative classroom projects funded. Just make sure you craft a compelling campaign, and produce something you can share when you’re finished—such as a classroom book or creative project. A well-made video and creative rewards for high–paying “backers” can go a long way. Get feedback from friends and fellow teachers before posting, and make sure you keep backers updated.

Thinking about using the platform? Here are some quick facts:

Best for: Creative classroom projects

Cost: If successfully funded, Kickstarter collects a 5% fee; payment processing fees are 3–5%

What you’ll get: Online payments to fund your project

Check out the Spotlight page, where successfully funded creators share their stories.

3. Adopt-A-Classroom

Adopt-A-Classroom is very similar to Donor’s Choose, and they’ve raised 209,598 teachers have registered to get their classrooms “adopted” by donors. This “adoption” idea dawned on the founder when he saw the need and realized that if freeways can get adopted—classrooms can, too.

This site is less project–based, and more entire-classroom-based. A donor can choose to adopt a classroom by options ranging from teacher to poverty level to school type. This is a flexible source of classroom income that can help cover much-needed supplies all year long, but you can choose an area that needs to be funded—whether it’s math or arts. If you’re vigilant about marketing and promoting your classroom on the site and across your social networks, you’ll likely experience great success.

Thinking about using the platform? Here are some quick facts:

Best for: General support with emphasis on learning area

Cost: Free–the organization is supported by contributions from individuals, businesses, affiliate vendors, and more

What you’ll get: Funds via online payments, which you can use to shop for from a network of 40 vendors on Adopt-A-Classroom

Check out some current classroom projects for ideas.

4. Fund My Classroom

Fund My Classroom is very similar to options #1 and #3.

However, on this site, parents and donors can log in and select items to purchase for the classroom—sort of a gift registry for education. And it’s not just physical items, either. Teachers have also successfully funded field trips and funds for playground equipment.

Another bonus: if parents shop in the official Kickback for Kids School Store, they can send 5% of every purchase to your school’s PTO.

Thinking about using the platform? Here are some quick facts:

Best for: Project and field trip support, ongoing support

Cost: Free

What you’ll get: Products ordered by donors shipped right to your classroom, money back on donor purchases

Check out some current classroom projects by state.

More Ways to Fund Your Classroom

There you have it—if there’s a product on ECR4Kids you’ve been wanting to fund, now you have a way!

In addition, you can check on the list of grants and resources at Edutopia, updated weekly. If you’re feeling ambitious, check out the available grants at the official government grants site.

How do you fund your classroom using these sites? Is there a platform you love that we haven’t listed here? Share with us in the Facebook comments.