Crowdfunding for tech products is better with district input
- Once teachers overcome the initial reluctance of appearing to “beg for money” for special classroom needs and projects, according to a Monaview Elementary School (S.C.) Principal Damon M. Qualls' account in EdSurge, crowdfunding can be a powerful resource that allows people across the globe to support educational goals.
- However, requests for technology products for the classroom can sometimes create a problem if the items are not compatible with district guidelines, IT systems and licensing requirements. So, crowdfunding website DonorsChoose.org is taking steps to allow school districts to embed their ed tech policies within the system, allowing teachers to find out if their request won't work with district policies, EdSurge reports.
- DonorsChoose.org is one of the most popular and effective educational crowdfunding sites available, and it needs school districts to be proactive about implementing ed tech policies into the system so the platform can benefit the classroom.
If all schools had enough money to adequately fund every school projects teachers wanted, crowdfunding would not be needed. However, even if schools were funded at higher, pre-recession levels, teachers would still sometimes have classroom projects in mind for which school districts might not have been able to justify using district dollars. In addition, crowdfunding lets people and corporations play active roles in supporting educational causes and allows them more control over where their donations go.
Some corporations are now using DonorsChoose and other crowdfunding sites to encourage teachers to make requests. For instance, PNC Bank, which supports a wide range of educational causes focusing on early childhood education, is matching donations to DonorsChoose projects in certain target areas and is rewarding teachers and schools who make the best use of crowdfunding. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is known to widely support crowdfunding projects as well. And the cryptocurrency and finance company Ripple recently made news by funding every project that was on DonorsChoose.org at the time.
It seems crowdfunding is here to stay. It may be wise for school districts to work with these organizations and tell teachers where to find crowdfunding sites and how to effectively use them as a way to not only expand resources, but also to form partnerships with the greater world.