Donors Choose Guide by tate5598


									Using Donors Choose to
Support Student Learning

              Donors Choose User Guide
                          January 2011
                         Donors Choose User Guide

I. Introduction and Background is a non-profit organization that began in 2000. Charles Best, a
social studies teacher in the Bronx, began DonorsChoose to align potential donors with
classrooms and students in need. The idea was to allow donors to see the direct impact
their donations were having on students and learning in the classroom. Since 2000,
DonorsChoose has spread to public schools all 50 states and been endorsed by The
Wall Street Journal, CNN, NPR, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Stephen

II. Creating Your Account

To create projects on DonorsChoose you must first create an account with your
information. Here are the key steps:

   1. Go to
   2. Click on “My Account” in the top right-hand corner of the screen
   3. In the box on the left that says “First Time?”, click the circle next to “I am a public
      school teacher” and then click “Proceed”
   4. On the next page, read the requirements for eligibility
   5. If you meet the requirements, click “I meet all of the above requirements.”
   6. On the next page, complete the personal information and sign-in information
   7. It is important to use an email address you check frequently as this is where they
      will send information about your proposal
   8. Once your account is set up, you can always log-in by going to the
      DonorsChoose homepage, clicking “My Account” at the top right, and then
      signing in

III. Writing a Proposal

When you log in there will be a lot of information on your home page including methods
for sharing your proposals (websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc.). You can also upload
pictures of yourself, your students, or your classroom on this page. You should see your
personal information and your school information as well.

Below that is a box with the heading “My Points and Benefits.” In DonorsChoose you
begin with a base point value. You “pay” points to submit proposals. Proposals that are
more expensive are more money. You receive points by confirming your proposals
quickly when you have funding, sending quality feedback packages, and if your
feedback package arrives on time. You may lose points as well if you do not confirm
funding within the set time or your feedback package arrives late to DonorsChoose.
To write a proposal, first identify what materials or resources you need. Then, go to your
homepage and in the box labeled “Create a Project”, click the green button “create a

Step 1: Welcome
On the project homepage there are a ton of resources to assist you in creating your
proposal. There are video guides, written guides, FAQs, help sheets, etc. On the left
side of the page in a dark blue box are the steps to creating a proposal from start to
finish. This will help guide you through the process.

Once you are ready to write your proposal, click the green button “Get Started.”

For this sample proposal we will walk through, I have decided I need four sets of
Lakeshore Learning’s magnetic letters for my ABC center. The box of letters is item JJ-
518 and each box costs $39.95 each.

Step 2: Choose Project Type
The top of this page tells me how many points I have to spend. For each project I need
to choose one of these four areas:
 Materials purchased through eSchoolMall (1-4 points based on cost of project)
 Special request for materials not available through eSchoolMall (6 points)
 Class trip (6 points)
 Class visitor (6 points)

Since my materials are available through eSchoolMall (we will discuss eSchoolMall in
Step 4), I will select the first option. Then click “Save and Create Title.”

Step 3: Create Title
Here is where I select a title for my project. I want it to be catchy and informative. The
title is what is going to get donors to click on my project.

The title I selected is “Learning to Read is Magnetic!” I will then type it in the title box.
From this point forward there will always be an orange box at the bottom left that says
“Save Draft.” If I am interrupted or need to stop, I can always save my draft and
complete it at a later time.

Now click “Save and Go Shopping.”

Step 4: Go Shopping
eSchoolMall is DonorsChoose’s way of helping you select the correct items for your
project. At eSchoolMall, you can order directly from:
        A Teacher’s School Supply Store
        ABC School Supply
        Abilitations
        Barnes and Noble
         Bets Buy
         Blink Art Materials
         Carolina Biological
         CDW
         Childcraft
         Frey Scientific
         Kaplan Early Learning
         Lakeshore Learning
         Nasco
         Quill
         Sax Arts & Crafts
         School Specialty
         Sportime
         Woodwind & Brasswind

You can also order from catalogs from the following vendors:
       AKJ Books
       Cannon Sports
       Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
       Lab Safety Supply
       Sargent Welch
       Time for Kids
       Weekly Reader

Click on “Go shopping at eSchoolMall.” Read the information from DonorsChoose about
making sure you select the correct items for your proposal.

When you click on the vendor at eSchoolMall it often looks like you are at that vendor’s
website. You will select your items and check-out like you would if you were paying.
Instead of asking you for payment or shipping information, the items will be
automatically linked to your proposal.

Since my items are from Lakeshore Learning, I will select the bubble next to Lakeshore
Learning and then scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button “Go To Website.”
At the Lakeshore Learning site I will select my magnetic letter boxes. After the items are
added to my cart, I will select the orange box “place order.”.

You will return to the eSchoolMall website. Then click “view cart.” You will see the items
you just selected. Check the item, number ordered, price, etc. You can continue
shopping from this point or check-out if you are through. If you have thoroughly checked
your cart, then click “Complete order and submit to DonorsChoose.”

The page will close and you will be back at the DonorsChoose site with the items you
ordered displayed on the page. You will note additional charges now appear such as
shipping, tax, labor, etc. This is your last chance to check your items before you attach
them to your proposal. If it is correct, click “Save and Summarize Cart.”
Step 5: Summarize Cart
The first thing you need to do is summarize what you purchased and why it is needed
by your students.

A sentence might be “My students need sets of magnetic letters to practice creating,
spelling, writing, and learning new and important words.” From this point forward
remember to check your spelling for each section before you move on. Once you have
your sentence, click “Save and Tell Your Story.”

Step 6: Tell Your Story
This is your chance to provide the background about your students, school, and
situation. These paragraphs allow you to provide a context for potential donors to help
them feel they are supporting a worthy cause.

The first part allows you to discuss the challenges you may be facing, for example:

Magnetic letters are a key part of learning for children. Many of us probably remember
playing with magnetic letters on our refrigerator, spelling “mom” or “cat” to our parents
delight. Magnetic letters allow children to literally get their hands on reading. Many of
my students have never had the chance to have hands-on learning before and I would
like to give them these key early childhood experiences.

The second part allows you to discuss your students, for example:

My class is composed of 24 of the most wonderful and eager to learn children you will
ever meet. Our school is in a mid-sized urban community. Over 75% of our students
received free or reduced price lunches. Many of my kindergartners did not have the
opportunity to attend preschool before entering Kindergarten this year. This often
means they are behind academically, socially, and even sometimes developmentally.
Although some might look at that as a challenge, everyday is a new opportunity for my
students and I. We have the chance to make tons of growth this year and leave
Kindergarten as first graders who are ready to learn.

The third part allows you to give your donors an overview of the resources you are

One of the most important parts of Kindergarten is developing a strong literacy
foundation that will anchor students as they move through the grades. A large percent
of Kindergarten is spent learning about letters and words and how they work in our
language. One of the ways students practice this knowledge is in centers or during word
work. During these activities students are sorting letters by name and sound, building
new words, segmenting and blending sounds, and reading or writing the words they
have made. We practice using the magnetic letters on tables, cookie sheets, magnetic
white boards, easels, file cabinets, and suddenly any space is a learning space.
The final part is your last effort to “win over” donors. This is the last thing they will read
on your page so you want to hook them with you statement, for example:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my proposal and considering supporting
my students. Learning to read is one of the most important things students will learn to
do in school. In Kindergarten, it is my job to build the literacy foundation that students
will build on for the rest of their lives.

Once you have spell checked your document, click “Save and Provide Project Details.”

Step 7: Provide Project Details
On this page, answer the information to the best of your understanding. Click “Save and
Quantify Impact.”

Step 8: Quantify Impact
On this page, answer the information too the best of your knowledge. Click “Save and
Select Expiration Date.”

Step 9: Select Expiration Date
On this page you can decide to either set an expiration date (if there is an end to when
your project can be funded) or choose to keep your project listed for as long as
possible. If you are ready for the proposal to be approved by DonorsChoose click “Save
and Confirm Project.”

Step 10: Confirm
This step allows you to confirm your proposal and send it to DonorsChoose for approval
and processing. In this step you can also choose to save the final project as a draft for
future submission.

Once your proposal has been read by a DonorsChoose representative you will receive
an email letting you know it is either posted online or they need additional information
from you. Once your proposal is funded, make sure to confirm the funding quickly and
set a date for your thank-you/feedback package that you are sure to make.

Donors Choose is a wonderful way to support your students. Beware that it is also
addictive – one you start having things funded it is hard to stop!

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