In our previous blog post, we talked about how teachers can fund larger classroom projects through sites like Donors Choose. Perhaps by now, you’ve already created a project listing. That’s great!
But after you finish your listing, you’re only halfway done. Remember, your chances of being funded increase exponentially with each personal contact you make and every e-mail you send.
So, to expedite the funding process, you need a good promotion plan.
Funding Promotion 101
It’s a given that teachers are busy people. All the better reason for a smart promotion plan. Get going with the avenues listed below:
No matter how you want to get the word out to others, first you need a contact list. Not sure you can create a sizeable list? Don’t worry; just start where you are.
Include students’ parents at the top of the list. Next, go through your e-mail and social media contacts. Jot down the names of college friends, former teachers, retired colleagues, PTA members, and anyone else you see as passionate advocates for education.
Tip: Use a spreadsheet to easily sort names by e-mail address, phone number, or contact type (parent, colleague, friend, etc.). If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, color code your list by using colored markers. Then, you can decide how to promote your project to each group.
No matter how tempted you are to send one mass e-mail, stifle the urge. Remember, when you address would-be donors personally, they’ll feel more inclined to donate to your cause.
To help you get started, Donors Choose provides a great online e-mail template. Read about template 1 and click the link at the bottom of the description to connect to your own e-mail. By using a template, you save time and allow each recipient to feel addressed personally.
Finally, check back with your e-mail list a week or so after your first mailing. This gives stragglers a second chance to donate and shows them how close (or far) you are from your goal. Let donors know that they’ll receive photos and letters from the kids if you make your goal.
If you can, send a third—final—e-mail when you make your goal. And don’t forget to include your Donors Choose teacher page next to your e-mail signature.
Even if you’re not terribly active on social media, don’t ignore the promotional power of a few well-crafted posts to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Just make sure all posts and tweets link to your teacher page.
Here’s a list of good social media platforms you might include:
If you’re already part of an education-based social network, it’s okay to mention your project there; just remember, non-educators are your targeted donors, so the platforms listed above are better choices.
If you already have a blog, create a post specifically for your fundraising project, and then send a blog-post link to your preferred social networks.
Just because most of the world is online doesn’t mean you should ignore non-technological promotional methods. After all, word of mouth is still a powerful tool.
You might send a catchy promotional flyer home with each of your students. Mention your project at a community or church group meeting. Do the same at a PTA meeting. Ask retailers you frequent if it’s okay to leave some flyers near cash registers.
The point is: now’s not the time to be shy. Your funding chances depend on your spreading the word.
In the end, whether you crowdfund through Donors Choose or another online funding venue, remember that people really do want kids to have a great education. Try a few new promotional strategies—you may just become a believer.
For more educational topics, browse our blog archive on the right side of this page.