Not another fundraiser, kid. I can’t take it. I’m all out of room for festive Christmas wrapping paper, I absolutely cannot justify buying more candy and further violating my diet, please don’t ask me to select one of the humbled and well-meaning neighborhood guys at an auction. I’m done.
Thank god there are crowdfunding opportunities that are now helping to properly sponsor the work of under-compensated educators and school staff. I am so glad that I recently found DonorsChoose.org. It’s an online charity that allows public school teachers to post project requests – whether it’s new uniforms for the marching band or an updated OS for the school computers. Donors can then browse those projects and give to the ones that speak to them (and they can give a lot or a little – whatever makes sense – not whatever box of chocolates is least offensive). If a project reaches its fundraising goal, then DonorsChoose delivers the materials to the school and updates donors with pictures, thank you letters, and reports of how the money was spent.
It’s a great tool for educators, but it’s not the only one. The winner of 2011’s Hackathon whose challenge was to build new internet and mobile prototypes in 48 hours was a group that developed Somesha. Somesha is a web and mobile app allows patrons to sponsor kids in the classroom around the globe through verified charities. A crowdfunding solution for education through a crowdsourced contest. How about that?
Which is not to say that educators and partner programs can’t continue to use sites like Kickstarter. For example, a product called SkyLight has the capability to connect any smartphone to any microscope and upgrade even the oldest, saddest chemistry tool in the classroom into a multi-media device. It is a device specifically intended for those in the far flung corners of the earth and for students in the classroom. And it just got fully funded this month!
How else can crowdfunding help public education? What are some of your favorite projects?