Since we are in the last week of the year and many people are thinking about charitable contributions, I’d love to give a shout-out to one of my favorite charities, DonorsChoose.org.
It’s Like Peer-to-Peer Lending, But For School Projects
DonorsChoose is a non-profit organization that connects individual donors with teacher projects from around the country.
Teachers post their projects that need funding, and people select the individual projects they would like to donate money to.
This personalized giving model is one of the strengths of DonorsChoose. With most charities, you give money to the organization and then they decide what projects and services are funded. You place a trust in the non-profit organization to spend your donation wisely.
With DonorsChoose, you get to choose the specific projects that you care about.
Here are some of the filters that can help you find the project that you want to fund:
You might want to donate just to pre-school classes, or maybe you want to donate to any age group. You can filter based on the age of the students you’ll be serving.
Perhaps you’re passionate about science or medicine. Filter by subject, and you can fund projects to help children raise butterflies so that they can learn about the life cycle, or help a classroom purchase a robotics kit so that they can get introduced to coding.
One of the great things about DonorsChoose is the ability to the choose the schools that get your money. You can choose to have your donations go to local schools, or spread your giving across the country.
Many donors like to give their money to schools with the most need, and you can filter for that.
Top-Rated by Charity Navigator
It’s always important to know that charities are minimizing administrative costs and maximizing the impact of your donation.
Charity Navigator gives DonorsChoose 4 stars, its highest rating. Nearly 95% of the money raised goes to classroom project materials and processing.
They have numerous partners, many of whom provide matching donations, so that the impact of your donation goes farther.
Project Donation Walkthrough
Search For A Project
On the homepage, you can start your project search. Let’s search for projects in Cleveland, OH.
Selecting a Project
On the left sidebar, you can filter for projects by age, subject, and other factors.
Learn more about a project
Here you can get more details about the teacher, his or her students, and the project. You can also see how far along the project is in getting funded. Let’s enter $50 for this project.
If you donate $50 or more to a project, you’ll receive handwritten thank-you notes from the students. These are great and really show the impact your donation has on students’ lives.
By default, 15% of your donation goes to administrative costs to DonorsChoose.org, but you always have the option to reduce or eliminate this portion of your donation if you want 100% of your money to go directly to the project.
Enter your contact and credit card information and complete your donation. Once you’ve donated, you’ll have the opportunity to send a personalized message to the teacher and the students.
DonorsChoose is one of my favorite charities, because you can directly see how your donation is impacting the lives of the schoolchildren and teachers whose projects you are funding. If you’re thinking about where to give money this year, consider a donation to this worthy charity.