An Alternative Funding Option for Special Educators

The challenges you face throughout the school year often double as great catalysts for new, creative ideas for how to serve the students in your classroom. With tighter classroom budgets and higher expectations every year, every professional could use a little help meeting the demands. Crowdfunding is one of those new, creative ideas and it could be the perfect way to fill in funding gaps.

How Does Crowdfunding Work?

If you are not familiar with how crowdfunding works, in its simplest form, it’s the process of asking for public donations. Crowdfunding helps you gather funds from interested and supportive members of the public to fund your wishlist of classroom resources or tools to help you meet students’ needs.

Crowdfunding allows special educators, speech-language pathologists and occupational therapists reach out to an online community of like-minded supporters. This is a great way to get extra funds, but how do you get started?

Here are a few do’s and don’ts of crowdfunding to help kick-start your campaign:

Do:

  • Decide. Determine your students’ needs.
  • Make your case. Articulate what this will do for all learners.
  • Make a video. Keep it under 2 minutes.
  • Be positive. Smiles and upbeat attitudes all around!
  • Take a lot of pictures. They’ll be key to getting more support.
  • Tell the truth. People respond to emotion. Be honest about your need.
  • Talk about why more than how. Let them see why you need the funding help.
  • Share it. No shame in your game. Post your campaign, videos and photos everywhere.

Don’t:

  • Wing it. Take some time to organize and plan in advance.
  • Sell yourself short. Asking for help is OK. Shoot for the stars to get what you need.
  • Rely on everyone “getting it” the first time. Make sure you let people know over and over again how they can help you.
  • Get too abstract. Big ideas may not resonate. Give concrete examples (pictures and videos)!
  • Rely on sympathy. People are more likely to connect to shared values, not act through sympathy.

For more information, check out this how-to guide on crowdfunding for education. Also, be sure to check with your school or district on their policy to create and manage crowdfunding.

crowdfunding for special education classrooms

Want to know more? Check out our how-to guide on crowdfunding for education.

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About the Author
Anne Johnson‑Oliss has spent more than 20 years in the special education field as a teacher, program supervisor, sales and marketing professional, consultant and business leader. In addition to teaching at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, Anne is an experienced presenter at national and international forums who has authored five books and two CDs. Anne holds several certifications in education and business, and earned a Master of Education degree from Wright State University.