How to Use Donors Choose to get Materials from TPT
Over the years I have received many wonderful teaching materials through Donors Choose (referral link). Recently I discovered a way to use this site to obtain materials from Teachers Pay Teachers. If you are not familiar with Donors Choose, it is a crowdfunding site where people donate to projects that teachers post. As a teachers you describe your classroom and a student need.
The easiest way to get materials is shop through the approved vendor list. Unfortunately Teachers Pay Teachers is not on that list, so setting up a project takes a few additional steps.
Step 1: Points
Have an active account with at least 6 points.
Step 2: Describe you Class
Create a standard project and describe your students (the same as with a standard project).
Step 3: Special Request
Scroll to the bottom of the Go Shopping Page and select Create a Special Request.
Step 4: Special Request Form
Fill out the special request page. You can either add in each item that you want to purchase (meaning that you have to fill out the form each time) or request a TPT Gift Card. I find that the gift card is the easiest option. If the project is funded Donors Choose will have you purchase items that you want and then reimburse you regardless of which option you choose. Requesting a gift card makes it easier to make changes to the exact resources you end up buying as long as they relate to your project.
Step 5: Project Details
Fill out the project details. This is where you describe the project to potential donors. If there are any Match Offers available take a look and see if there is a way that you can write your project so that it would qualify.
Otherwise write a description that lets donors know that you are requesting teaching materials to help students with a specific skill, subject area. Let donors know that materials found on Teachers Pay Teachers allow you to choose resources that are teacher made and easily find differentiated materials.
Step 6: Funding
Advertise your project. The first few times I had projects family and friends gave donations. After that I learned that having a project up around back to school time and at the end of the calendar year were good times to get funding. Also joining Facebook groups specifically with other teachers looking to fund projects helped to get my projects noticed.
Step 7: Project Funded!
When your project is funded you will likely receive an e-mail from Donors Choose asking if you are willing to be reimbursed for your TPT purchase. Make sure to replay to the e-mail. Soon after they will give you permission to GO SHOPPING. Check out my TPT Store for materials to help you English Language Learners.
Once you have spent the amount approved you go into a special section and upload your receipt from TPT. To find it go to My Account, Purchase History, Annual Purchase Statement.
Step 8: Pictures & Thank You Notes
Finally make sure to take photographs of the materials and your students using them. I always made sure not to show my students faces in any photographs for privacy reasons. For some projects you need to send in at least 6 Thank You Notes. Depending on the writing level of my students I would either have them write a note or we would write one together and I typed it up then they would illustrate the note.