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DonorsChoose

From an article about DonorsChoose.org by Jonathan Alter in Slate:

So for example, this week a teacher in Richton, Mo., posted a request for a $392 camcorder for her kids to act out stories they’re reading; a teacher in New York City asked for a rug on which to read stories to kindergarteners ($474); and a teacher in a 100 percent low-income school in Los Angeles wants a $414 telescope to teach astronomy to her students. Donors scroll through the hundreds of proposals (searchable by region, subject, level of school poverty, etc.) and fund them in whole or in part with a couple of clicks. If there’s no market for the proposal, it doesn’t get funded, though most eventually do. DonorsChoose handles all of the discounted purchasing from vendors, so no money goes directly to the teacher.

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One Response to “DonorsChoose”

  1. on 08 Mar 2007 at 9:07 amCharles Best

    David,

    The email below (sent to self@evident.com on Feb 22) may not have gotten through to you, so I hope you don’t mind my reaching out to you in this more public format…

    ———-
    David,

    I was thrilled to see your post about DonorsChoose (via Slate). I’ve long wanted to speak with you and hope you’ll consider meeting with me. Specifically, I seek your guidance about the blogger platform we’ve developed. Below is a summary of the technology and of why I’m so eager to meet with you. My email is charles@donorschoose.org and office line is 212-239-3615 x 201. Thank you for your consideration, and thanks so much for your post!
    Sincerely,
    Charles Best
    Founder and CEO, DonorsChoose

    GENESIS OF THE DONORSCHOOSE BLOGGER PLATFORM
    In the fall of 2004, the blogger behind “Tomato Nation” wanted to boost her readers’ spirits after John Kerry lost the presidential election. She linked to a DonorsChoose request for a class set of George Orwell’s 1984, and encouraged her readers to fund it—both as a feel-better act of kindness and as a jab at W. Bush. Her readers funded the request within minutes, so she linked to 40 more DonorsChoose proposals that she though would appeal to her readers. Within three weeks, 577 Tomato Nation readers from 24 states had donated $22,000 to those projects.

    Inspired by this example, we created “BloggersChoose.org” technology which enables a blogger to select favorite proposals, set a fundraising goal, and customize the DonorsChoose page presenting his/her challenge. The challenger can then link to this page from his/her blog, call readers to action, and display an hour-glass tracking progress toward the goal. Leader boards rank bloggers by how much their readers have given:
    http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/leadershipboard.html

    THREE EXAMPLES IN ACTION
    – The blogger behind Tomato Nation did another Blogger Challenge last spring:
    http://www.tomatonation.com/contest.shtml
    This time around, she promised to shave her head if readers donated $30,000 to proposals she had chosen. The result has been viewed 47,000 times on YouTube:
    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=donorschoose

    – The Cult of Mac blog teamed up with actress Claire Danes to inspire readers to fund $10,000 worth of Apple requests at DonorsChoose:
    http://www.donorschoose.org/challenge.php?id=234

    – Nineteen science bloggers are competing to see who can inspire their readers to fund the most science projects:
    http://scienceblogs.com/ethicsandscience/2006/06/readers_and_sciencebloggers_he.php
    (Also click the link to our leaderboards and select “Math and Science” as a category.)

    Here’s one of the 19 science blogger challenge pages at DonorsChoose, totally oversubscribed:
    http://www.donorschoose.org/challenge.php?id=148

    TAKING IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL, AND WHY I’D LIKE TO MEET WITH YOU
    The success of our platform rests on getting a few of the country’s top bloggers to participate. Peter Rojas and Anil Dash have just agreed to do challenges on DonorsChoose next fall, and we hope you’ll be the next thought leader to agree to participate.

    Even if you don’t feel this is something you’d like to do, I would love to hear your thoughts on our platform. A donation of your expertise would be hugely appreciated.

    Our model of citizen philanthropy is tailor-made for citizen media. I hope you’ll help us mesh the two!

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