Principal - November/December 2019 - 34

W

ith the annual ebb and flow of state and
local education budgets, teachers and
administrators have long turned to alternative
funding sources-from hosting PTA fundraisers
to reaching into their own pockets-to enhance
student academic experiences and fill financial gaps. In recent years, more educators have
turned to online crowdfunding platforms such
as DonorsChoose.org (www.donorschoose.org)
to raise donations and meet classroom needs.
From art supplies and field trips to natural
disaster relief, teachers are using crowdfunding platforms to support a variety of impactful
projects in their classrooms. In turn, forwardthinking school leaders are empowering
teachers to take advantage of crowdfunding
while ensuring transparency, integrity, and
security throughout the process.
Educators at Richland Elementary School
in Memphis, Tennessee, have strategically
leveraged crowdfunding to enhance teaching
and learning at their school, where more than
one-third of students come from low-income
households. So far, Richland teachers have raised
more than $187,000 on DonorsChoose.org to
fund school resources.
But what are the factors principals must
consider when using an alternative funding
platform such as DonorsChoose.org? Below,
we answer four key questions principals
should reflect on when considering crowdfunding, including key insights from Richland
Elementary School principal Sharon McNary.

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a
project or venture by raising small amounts of
money from a large number of people, typically via the internet. Crowdfunding websites
range from general fundraising sites such as
Kickstarter and GoFundMe, which transfer
funds to a project creator and aren't designed
with schools in mind, to education-focused
platforms such as DonorsChoose.org and
AdoptAClassroom.org, which allow district oversight and ownership of donated materials.

By tapping into a wider network
of donors, schools can raise more
funding for classroom resources.

34

Principal n November/December 2019

Why should teachers consider crowdfunding?

Today, online crowdfunding makes it possible
for teachers to generate donations beyond their
local communities. By tapping into a wider
network of donors, schools can raise more funding for classroom resources, giving rural and
low-income communities equal access. The bestin-class education crowdfunding platforms also
allow teachers to request exactly what they need
to support their individual learners, with full
transparency for donors and school leaders.
"Teachers are given limited funds to purchase
all the classroom supplies they need in one
school year," McNary says. "Like all teachers,
my teachers spend so much of their own money
to purchase items for their classrooms. With
DonorsChoose.org, they have been able to post
projects to fund items such as iPads, sets of
books, classroom furniture, listening centers,
and so much more. When teachers share with
me that they want something that we cannot
afford to purchase from our school account, I
suggest they post a DonorsChoose.org project.
We all love how DonorsChoose.org has made
it so easy for teachers to get much-needed
projects funded."
How do I know which crowdfunding sites
to trust?

Look for the following features when assessing a
crowdfunding site for your school:
„ 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 every step. Crowdfunding
sites should publicly display details about
each material funded (unit cost, vendor, etc.)
and provide easy-to-understand explanations
of fees and overhead costs.
„ Impact capture. For every request funded,
crowdfunding sites should require teachers
to report on how the resources were used in
the classroom and how students benefited,
allowing donors to see that the project happened as intended.
„ School ownership of funded materials.
While teachers should be given discretion over the use of resources for which
they earned funding, crowdfunding sites
should designate that the school, rather
than the teacher, ultimately owns the
funded resources.
www.naesp.org


http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.donorschoose.org http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.DonorsChoose.org http://www.AdoptAClassroom.org http://www.naesp.org

Principal - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal - November/December 2019

from the editor
Snapshots
5 Things
Intertwined for Achievement
Planting the SEAD
Making PLCs a Plus
Measuring Up
Look Out for the Leader
Engagement Across the Generations
The Sum of Its Parts
Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
In the Spotlight
Practitioner’s Corner
Raising the Bar
Principal’s Bookshelf
School Law
NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Speaking Out
Parents & Schools
Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 1
Principal - November/December 2019 - 2
Principal - November/December 2019 - 3
Principal - November/December 2019 - from the editor
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5
Principal - November/December 2019 - Snapshots
Principal - November/December 2019 - 7
Principal - November/December 2019 - 5 Things
Principal - November/December 2019 - 9
Principal - November/December 2019 - Intertwined for Achievement
Principal - November/December 2019 - 11
Principal - November/December 2019 - 12
Principal - November/December 2019 - 13
Principal - November/December 2019 - 14
Principal - November/December 2019 - Planting the SEAD
Principal - November/December 2019 - Making PLCs a Plus
Principal - November/December 2019 - 17
Principal - November/December 2019 - 18
Principal - November/December 2019 - 19
Principal - November/December 2019 - Measuring Up
Principal - November/December 2019 - 21
Principal - November/December 2019 - 22
Principal - November/December 2019 - 23
Principal - November/December 2019 - Look Out for the Leader
Principal - November/December 2019 - 25
Principal - November/December 2019 - Engagement Across the Generations
Principal - November/December 2019 - 27
Principal - November/December 2019 - The Sum of Its Parts
Principal - November/December 2019 - 29
Principal - November/December 2019 - 30
Principal - November/December 2019 - 31
Principal - November/December 2019 - Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising
Principal - November/December 2019 - 33
Principal - November/December 2019 - 34
Principal - November/December 2019 - 35
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP 2019 National Distinguished Principals
Principal - November/December 2019 - 37
Principal - November/December 2019 - 38
Principal - November/December 2019 - 39
Principal - November/December 2019 - 40
Principal - November/December 2019 - 41
Principal - November/December 2019 - 42
Principal - November/December 2019 - 43
Principal - November/December 2019 - In the Spotlight
Principal - November/December 2019 - 45
Principal - November/December 2019 - Practitioner’s Corner
Principal - November/December 2019 - 47
Principal - November/December 2019 - 48
Principal - November/December 2019 - 49
Principal - November/December 2019 - Raising the Bar
Principal - November/December 2019 - 51
Principal - November/December 2019 - Principal’s Bookshelf
Principal - November/December 2019 - 53
Principal - November/December 2019 - School Law
Principal - November/December 2019 - NAESP Partners & Advertiser Index
Principal - November/December 2019 - 56
Principal - November/December 2019 - 57
Principal - November/December 2019 - Speaking Out
Principal - November/December 2019 - 59
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - 61
Principal - November/December 2019 - 62
Principal - November/December 2019 - 63
Principal - November/December 2019 - Parents & Schools
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Principal - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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