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DonorsChoose Website Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 3.5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

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The Bottom Line

Education and its funding (or lack of funding) is a hot button issue. It's all about our children and grandchildren, and it is a hard heart indeed that is not moved to take some action.

DonorsChoose.org is on the cutting edge of educational charity. It brilliantly avoids the red tape and endless paperwork of traditional grant making and puts donors in the driver's seat.

DonorsChoose takes a page from the microfinance arena, and cleverly applies it to American education, schools, teachers, and students.

Pros

  • Friendly, inviting, appealing design and photos.
  • Easy to understand how to donate and what happens to contribution.

Cons

  • A link to "How it Works" should be on the home page.

Description

  • DonorsChoose matches teacher proposals with donors.
  • Similar to microfinance sites.
  • Multiple ways to give.

Guide Review - DonorsChoose Website Review

Part of the democratization of philanthropy, where donors can directly choose and benefit individual recipients, DonorsChoose has been immensely successfully. Donors find it easy and appealing.

The homepage is similar to a catalog, with a featured project right there and a link to more. This invites the potential donor to browse freely before choosing a project to help fund.

There are also a number of ways to donate: you can use a gift card, set up a "give-back birthday" (a clever idea), and special projects such as the "Support Our Troops," which helps schools that serve children of members of the armed forces.

I love the testimonials from actual donors in the sidebar. Also, once I registered with the site, I see projects from my own state. How cool is that?

DonorsChoose has a "How It Works" link on its "About" page. It says "Teachers ask, You choose, Students learn." The ensuing explanation lays out the process and gives examples of teacher proposals and amounts asked for. DonorsChoose explains the process of how proposals are chosen, and how it ensures that the funds are spent according to the proposal; how the donor is thanked; and how the donation is processed.

The way the charity is funded is also part of this explanation. There is a "fulfillment fee" to fund the organization, and that fee is added to the donation. You don't have to look for this information. It is right there and the donor can choose to accept it or not. This is transparency at its best.

My only criticism of the website is that I would like to see a link to "how it works" directly from the homepage. I had to search a bit to find it. Of course, the donate button is on each project, so that is easy to find and use.

DonorsChoose.org is a great example of what more nonprofits should do, and can do: explain themselves this directly and simply.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
DC is Good but Their Donors are the BEST!!!!, Member H.Thorwarth

I have had nothing but a GREAT experience with donor's choose. I have been on BOTH ends of the experience as a teacher and a donor. I teach in a small rural country school in which funds are very limited. If it were not for DC, my students would not have all the opportunities other kids in bigger districts are afforded. This year I have been working toward providing laptops and a printer for my classroom so they can do research and produce projects related to math and science. My kids and I are constantly amazed at the generosity of people from across the country. I know that through the donations of some wonderful people and organizations, that my kids are more motivated than ever to dig deeper into the learning process. They are realizing that there are people that care about them, their education and their future. I realize that DC does add on a few fees BUT they are well worth it. One example would be...I have received grants from other organizations before in which the prices of products have changed by the time I received the grant money and so I had to either not order everything I needed OR pay for it myself. This happens more than people realize. This does NOT happen with donorchoose as they cover any price change. This is just one of the many things those extra fees cover. They are a very transparent company and have been rated highly because of this. If anyone is looking for a great place to make a donation, they can not do wrong with donorchoose.org. Mrs. Thorwarth, Mt. Ida, Arkansas

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Joanne Fritz

Joanne Fritz
About.com Nonprofit Charitable Orgs

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