School & District Management

More Teachers Are Creating GoFundMe Campaigns to Pay for Classroom Supplies

By Brenda Iasevoli — May 02, 2017 2 min read
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A growing number of teachers nationwide are turning to GoFundMe to pay for classroom supplies, according to new data released by the fundraising website.

Teachers have long reported reaching into their own wallets to pay for the resources their students need to learn. My colleague, Madeline Will, reports in the Teaching Now blog on a survey by the education company Scholastic of 4,271 public school educators who, on average, spent $530 a year of their own money on classroom items and basics their students needed, like food and clothing. Teachers in high-poverty schools spent 40 percent more—an average of $672. You can read how is helping teachers to raise money to supply their students with basic needs in this Teacher Beat blog.

To date, 72,000 GoFundMe campaigns supporting K-12 teachers have raised $33.8 million, according to a recent press release by the company. The release also includes a link to a K-12 guidebook providing step-by-step instructions on how teachers can design their own fundraising initiatives, as well as state-by-state data showing how much money teachers across the country have already raised.

At $4.7 million in total donations, California teachers have so far raised the most. Texas teachers are second with $2.1 million. The chart below shows how other states stack up.

Teachers are looking to fund a range of items from the modest to the costly, from pencils and paper to iPads to bikes. A 2nd grade teacher at a low-income school in Key West, Fla., raised $960 to pay for a classroom rug, books, and other supplies. The money was donated over eight months, by 23 people.

A teacher in Charleston, S.C., raised $80,662 of her $100,000 goal to provide each of the 650 students in her low-income school a bike, helmet, and bike lock. The campaign was shared more than 3,000 times on Facebook and Twitter combined, and ultimately funded by 925 people over 7 months.

The step-by-step directions in the GoFundMe guidebook include tips for making a success of the self-initiated campaign. “Tell your story with heart” is the first one. “Include as much heart and soul as possible so donors get a real sense of what their donation will be supporting,” the tip reads. Other tips are to include photos, video, and a wish list of needed items.

GoFundMe also launched on Monday a national contest called “We Love Teachers” in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, which is May 8 through 12. K-12 teachers who create campaigns by May 8 and raise more than $500 by May 18 are eligible to win a $1,000 donation.

Photo: Pixabay

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.