Last week, we had the privilege of hosting CEO/Founder, Charles Best and CMO, Katie Bisbee of DonorsChoose.org for a YextTalks. As NYC's own crowd-funding trailblazers, Yext CMO Jeffrey K. Rohrs sat down with the DonorsChoose.org leaders to discuss technology and public school giving.
Charles kicked off the conversation by describing how he started the organization back in 2000. "I was a teacher in a Bronx public high school when I noticed that my fellow teachers and I couldn't afford basic supplies for our students," he said. With no previous tech background, but an entrepreneurial mindset, Charles drafted the idea for the crowd-funding platform. In just 17 years, DonorsChoose.org has spread to support every public school in America.
Charles describing his vision for DonorsChoose.org
DonorsChoose.org allows people to donate directly to public school classroom projects of their choice through their digital platform. The retention and growth of donors is a fueling concept at the organization. In fact, Bisbee described that 1 in 4donors come back to give again. The DonorsChoose.org experience, as Charles stated during the talk, helps "donors emerge from their donation experience as awakened to the unmet needs of schools in low-income communities." He continued to explain how public school teachers spend more than a billion dollars out of their own pocket to fund their classroom projects. To put things into perspective Charles stated that "we're still just scratching the surface of education inequity in the US."
While there is much more work to be done, to date, DonorsChoose.org has vetted and fulfilled over 600,000 classroom project requests.
Katie Bisbee, CMO, describes her favorite classroom project that filled a principal's office with balloons to help students understand volume and mass.
As DonorsChoose.org continues to advocate for greater funding within public schools, they are at the forefront of reaching out to teachers in rural areas where supplies are needed the most. The organization has grown by word of mouth marketing, and is continuing to focus on new ways to help teachers and students who are in the most need. After all, their barriers are brand awareness and teacher time. To help close these gaps, Katie described that by being transparent and "opening up our data, we can enable policy makers to spend funding in a more responsible way".
To find out more about how you can support a classroom and build a brighter future, visit DonorsChoose.org.