MY TOP TEN TRICKS
1. Always have a project up. You never know who might fund it.
2. Take advantage of matches, promo codes, and partner funding opportunities (student-led, financial literacy, environmental awareness, Quill). Pay attention to the details.
3. Prime times are at the end of the summer and December.
4. Check your email and the blog for new opportunities: http://www.donorschoose.org/blog
5. Promote your project, especially during the first week, for extra funding.
6. Donate to your own project first to get the ball rolling.
7. Don’t use too much jargon. Speak the language that a donor will understand.
8, Say “thank you.” Have your students write thank-you cards either handwritten or typed. Your thank you notes are a reflection of you, your students, and your school. Express your thanks through social media.
9. Be patient. Your first project will probably be funded very quickly. Your others might not. The more you market, the more likely it will be funded.
10. Browse through other teacher’s projects to get ideas for your own project.
CREATIVE MARKETING STRATEGIES
1. Twitter (add appropriate hashtags and handles: @donorschoose, #donorschoose, subject-specific organizations, companies)
2. Facebook groups, Remind101, emails, student learning management systems,
Back to School and parent-teacher conference flyers.
3. Donate to other projects. Become a part of a community of donors.
4. Share, showcase, and then ask for funding. Share some great teaching resources, links, or teaching ideas. Showcase what your students are doing in your classroom. Explain how donors can further support your mission.
5. Many teachers leverage the power of social media through Facebook and Twitter to share their DonorsChoose projects, but here ways that you can enhance your marketing.
a. One "old school" ways is to create flyers, but who has the time? Use http://printandshare.org to quickly and easily create flyers to send home with your students and to give to parents during Open House and conferences.
b. A "new school" way is to combine web tools. I like to use https://www.edu.buncee.com to create a digital flyer that I can share with parents and community members through https://www.remind.com. Then people who receive my message through their email or text can instantly visit my project page to donate.
c. A picture is worth a thousand words, so use more pictures! Create collages of pictures using the PicCollage app or kick it up a notch and insert video using the PicPlayPost app. If you don't have permission to share pictures or videos of your students, show pictures of the items you are requesting . For example, who knows what a Hokki stool is?
As I reflect on how my library program has evolved over the years, I must take a moment to thank visionary Charles Best, CEO of DonorsChoose. When I began creating the makerspace in my library two years ago, the only supplies that I had were yoghurt containers, cardboard, and bottle caps that I had saved over the summer. Now my students have access to iPads, Chromebooks, Dash and Dot, MiP, Ozobots, Osmo, a 3D printer, a drone, duct tape, a Cricut vinyl cutter, and supplies to transform trash into treasure. With your help I have also been able to transform our makerspace into a fun, inviting place for kids not only to learn, but to express themselves and to make friends. Here are some pictures of people who have visited our makerspace over the past two years:
I was so excited to have the chance to meet Katie Vallas at the DonorsChoose office in NYC. Having a tour of the office and meeting these wonderful people behind the scenes was a dream come true for me.
Today I tried out an library experience that I had never hosted before...a book-tasting party! The students had a blast reviewing genres, taking "bites" of their books, writing recommendations, and creating bookmarks. I did this with a 7th grade class, but I think you can modify the activity to work with pretty much every grade level. It was also be a great event for a public library to host for children and adults.
Here is the procedure:
1. Greet the students as if they are visiting a restaurant. I wore an apron, made a sign, decorated
the tables, and played classical music.
I bought aprons for my paraprofessional and myself in our school color to wear during the lesson. During a visit to the local Dollar Tree I found balloon weights to use as centerpieces, "silver" platters to serve the books on, and oak tag to transform into placemats. My new best friend is the personal Scotch thermal laminator that I bought at Target for $20. You can find boxes of lamination pouches on Amazon at low prices. The Tolsby picture frames from IKEA are the perfect size for table signs. I listed the "Chef's Specials" (procedure for the lesson) on each to keep my students on task. If you subscribe to Amazon Prime there are thousands of songs and musical selections that you can stream for free.
2. Review the various genres of fictional there are in your library.
There are 9 different genres in my library: realistic fiction, historical fiction, romance, adventure, sports, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery. Each novel has a genre sticker on the spine, except for realistic fiction. The students listed all 9 genres on their "menus" and explained which was their favorite and why.
3. The students "tasted" three books at their table.
The students had only 3 minutes to explore their books and to complete the graphic organizer. Ideally, the students should have 5 minutes. The online stopwatch website comes in handy to keep the students (and me!) on pace.
The last 3 procedures took place simultaneously.
4. The students checked their book out with either me or my paraprofessional.
5. The students wrote a short book recommendation on a padlet Padlet is a web tool that has been around for a while, but it is so simple to find new ways to use it. I created a padlet for each class today. Their English teacher can use this information when recommending to her students, and to better understand her students' literary preferences. Remind your students to only enter their first name for privacy so you can share your padet through social media.
6. Whenever I visit Lowe's or Home Depot I always take home a bunch of paint swatches. For this lesson, I directed my students to create a bookmark by writing 3 questions that they can reflect on while reading. They could develop their own or copy any of the 20 guided questions for fiction that I had put on the back of the placemat.
Overall, the lesson worked well. There are many ways to modify it depending on grade and abiity level. Here are some forms that you might find handy:
Chef's Specials "Agenda"
Guided Questions for Reading Fiction
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian