In fall 2020, 56.4 million students are projected to attend elementary and secondary schools either in person, online, or some combination of the two, including 50.7 million students in public schools. Before the school year is out, an estimated $709 billion will be spent related to public school education.1 Teachers often use their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms and increasingly, they’re turning to crowdfunding sites—like DonorsChoose—to create an engaging learning environment for their students.
DonorsChoose is delivering the needs of teachers nationwide
DonorsChoose is a nonprofit crowdfunding site in the US where 85% of schools have had at least one teacher create a classroom project request, vetting and fulfilling over 1.7 million projects benefitting over 600K teachers—94% of them say this increased their effectiveness in the classroom.2 The site mobilizes individual donors to contribute to their choice of projects, and through the support of corporate and foundation partners.
At Amazon Business, we’re proud to serve as a source of supplies for teachers using DonorsChoose, allowing educators to browse hundreds of millions of products to find all the essentials they need. In fact, more than half of DonorsChoose projects include items fulfilled by Amazon Business each year, including everything from new robotics kits and the latest tablets, to more fundamental items like paper and art supplies.
“Amazon Business is a key partner in bringing learning to life for students across the country,” said Charles Best, DonorsChoose founder. “Empowering teacher wisdom is core to our mission at DonorsChoose, and Amazon Business helps make that possible by giving teachers an easy way to shop for resources that will help their specific students thrive.”
This year, Amazon Business donated $100,000 to projects focused on racial justice published by teachers in U.S. schools with the highest needs. According to DonorsChoose, this funded 447 projects, supporting 369 teachers in 331 schools, benefitting 65,000 student learning experiences on this topic.
Combining compliance with crowdfunding
Like all public sector organizations, aligning with internal purchasing policies and maintaining compliance is critical, and pre-K-12 schools are no exception. Classroom crowdfunding happening on an individual level can be optimized for school district priorities. As the largest crowdfunding site dedicated to public schools, DonorsChoose meets a high standard of transparency, accountability and security. From custom reporting that allows district and school-level leaders to track teacher activity and material donations, to allowing districts to input their technology purchasing guidelines, DonorsChoose ensures districts can partner with their educators in using Amazon Business.
That’s why, for example, DonorsChoose now offers district administrators the chance to share their technology guidelines, so that when teachers create a request for materials, DonorsChoose can remind teachers of their district's compatibility requirements. Similarly, since the materials provided by DonorsChoose become school property, DonorsChoose gives district leaders detailed reports of the resources delivered to their schools, technology or otherwise. Crowdfunding sites can continue to be an option for school districts if they have the right purchasing controls in place, and Amazon Business offers tools that help school districts achieve that compliance.
Opening the door to more options
Outside of crowdfunding, as schools increasingly bring their procurement online, they can work with online stores. With Amazon Business, educators and administrators have full control over the classroom procurement process. Our shopping experience is familiar and gives teachers access to hundreds of millions of products for their students and classrooms.
Administrators can create purchasing rules that require review and approvals before teachers place an order, supporting compliance while democratizing the purchasing process and creating space for individual needs. In addition, Amazon Business provides schools with real-time data on every purchase, the ability to shop tax-free if eligible, pay with a purchase order and also set preferred or restricted product purchases.
Classroom purchasing is evolving and resources like DonorsChoose and Amazon Business help ensure students aren’t missing out on meaningful education opportunities due to a lack of supplies or resources.
1National Center for Education Statistics
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