DONORSCHOOSE INC

Rating: 3.9 stars   49 reviews

Issues: Education

Location: 347 W 36th St Ste 503 New York NY 10018 USA

Mission: DonorsChoose is dedicated to addressing the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in our public schools. We focus on providing an outlet of change in the following areas: 1. Shortages of learning materials prevent thorough, engaging instruction; 2. Top-down distribution of materials stifles our best teachers and discourages them from developing targeted solutions for their students; and 3. Small, directed contributions have gone un-tapped as a source of funding.DonorsChoose will improve public education by engaging citizens in an online marketplace where teachers describe and individuals can fund specific student projects. We envision a nation where students in every community have the resources they need to learn.

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

7,408 Views
Rating: 1 stars  

I am very disappointed in the waste of this group. I was looking at one project for classroom books in Houston. The project listed the cost from Amazon at $165 per book. Thinking that sounded excessive, I looked at Amazon and found used prices in the $45 range and new prices in the $85 range. They intentionally choose the highest priced Amazon offering. When I asked about it, they said that they only allow their teachers to fulfil from Amazon Prime. I will not be making any future donations through this group. There are far better ways to put funds to use than by wasting them. I wonder whether the organization gets any money back from Amazon? There seems to be little other reason for requiring that products be purchased from the highest price offered.

More Feedback

Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I am a teacher in a high poverty, urban school. My students are amazing. They are devoted to learning and are a joy to teach. However, my school struggles with funding labs for science.

Donors Choose has been a blessing. My students and I have been the happy, grateful recipients of over $5000 in materials and supplies, all of which will be used by future students. The materials that have so generously been provided include equipment that make hands-on inquiry-based labs accessible to my students with physical challenges. Moreover, the materials and supplies have enriched learning for all students, giving us labs and demonstrations throughout the year.

My students and I are so very, very grateful. There simply are no words to say how much Donors Choose, and the wonderfully generous donors that have given through the site, have helped us!

More Feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 2 stars  

I wish they would allow me, as a donor, to give directly to the teacher if I trust the person to use it effectively rather than go through their much more expensive vendor system. It is not respectful to force the teacher to ask for so much more money than she needs. I think more and more will start using kickstarter or similar websites instead because of this...

More Feedback

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Unlikely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Review from CharityNavigator
1 previous review
Rating: 1 stars  

The optional 15% donation is not really optional. All the projects I have donated to, have chosen not to give the extra 15% because DC already takes a "Fulfillment Labor & Materials" fee for each project. What happens? The project is kept open requesting funds until someone else gives the supposedly "optional" donation I decided not to give. Highly misleading to all involved, bordering on a scam. For this reason alone I will not be donating anything further.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the teachers reports

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

if someone chooses not to give the 15% extra, respect that and record it transparently in the project totals and reduce the final line accordingly.

What would you tell others about this organization?

Stay away. The admin is misleading, even though the teachers and projects are usually wonderful.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Rating: 4 stars  

We give to this charity as an avenue for assisting our local school disctrict. My only complaint is that they appear to require teachers to use vendors with substantially higher prices than can be found elsewhere on the web.

More Feedback

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Likely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 4 stars  

Having a friend as an elementary school teacher in a disadvantaged area, I was happy to support her cause on DonorsChoose. But after making a donation to her classroom project, I continued browsing the site finding more wonderful projects and couldn't resist helping them out. The thank you cards are a wonderful touch-- I now have wonderful fridge decorations! Plus, the feedback of my friend along with pictures of the class encouraged me that my donation has been well used.

More Feedback

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 1 stars  

Made a sizable donation only to learn a couple of days later that a match code had been made available for the project. I used the DC contact form to request that the code be applied to my donation, which I knew could be done because I had several friends who had done it. That was two weeks ago and I have received no reply, nor has the donation been matched. There is no place to input the so-called tracking number I was assigned and the link to check the status of my request is dead. This is shockingly poor service to both the donor and the client, whose project will now have a far more difficult time being funded.

More Feedback

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

No

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Unlikely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I teach in a new, small rural school and state budget cuts have decimated us. With no major industry in the area, there is little local funding available to assist instruction. DonorsChoose has been a lifesaver for my school and classroom. As I look around my classroom, I see novel sets, cameras, art materials and even an iMac computer, all funded through DonorsChoose. While many of my students live in poverty, their opportunities in school are rich thanks to this organization. I cannot praise it highly enough.

More Feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I love Donors Choose! As a teacher in a rural, poverty-stricken area, I've depended on DonorsChoose to bring my students the educational opportunities they deserve. It's always hard to find time for grant-writing, but DonorsChoose makes it user friendly. Submit the project, then, when it's funded, the materials are automatically sent. DC has not only helped us get basics such as books, but also the really "cool" stuff such as a computer, cameras, and clay for making claymation videos. I understand some of the negative comments about the "donation" that DC adds into each project. If you object, you can opt out of that donation without lessening the chances of the project being funded. As I understand it, that money helps cover rising materials costs (it can take 5 months to fund a project and prices do rise), and not just administrative expenses. My classroom would be a bleaker place without DonorsChoose!

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

... both giving and receiving. My classroom has received funding 11 times, but I have also donated to dozens of classrooms, a small amount for each, to try to support fellow teachers with great ideas.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make it more clear that the optional donation is indeed optional.

Rating: 1 stars  

I am a classroom teacher and have to say I am very DISAPPOINTED with this website. I think it had good humble beginnings, but it has warped into a greed machine. I requested a laptop costing $720, with free shipping. Even with sales tax of 8.25% + Donors Choose handling fee of $35, it should be around $820. But no, they tack on a supposedly "optional" donation to themselves of 15%, but when i calculated it was more like 18-20%. My total came to $1000. Teachers are not allowed to take this "optional" donation out of their project, else our projects don't get posted. The unsuspecting donors have to click a small print "edit" at Checkout to opt-out. Plus they gave out these $10 gift cards to Starbucks customers to redeem, saying it expired on 03/16/12, but then printed too many on purpose and it expired in one week! Started program on 01/23/12 and ended on 01/30/12! So parents gave me about $400 worth of giftcards but I couldn't use them, even though it says it expires in March! So frustrated with excessive overhead costs, too much red tape, and the fact that they only give you 5 months to fund your project, or else you get everything taken away.

More Feedback

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A little

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Unlikely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Rating: 1 stars  

Inefficient. The projects I looked at could have happened at about 40% of the total cost. Like others I am dismayed at the over-inflating of the total project costs. Unfortunately, it is in the organization's interest for the costs to be high, since that makes their 17+% larger.

Too bad, such a good idea, but the inefficiency makes me look elsewhere...

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the multiple projects I've funded

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

let the teachers choose where to buy their materials. Deal with with the criticism mentioned below.

Rating: 3 stars  

As a regular donor to this organization since 2008 I support its goals and have no objection to the executive compensation and the 15% project surcharges criticized by other reviewers. However, I am often dismayed at the sources DonorsChoose and the teachers use for requested items. Technology projects in particular are often overpriced and poorly specified. Flash drives, printers, laptops and projectors are sourced at national retail chains like Best Buy rather than equally legitimate online discount suppliers such as TigerDirect, Dell Outlet and Newegg which have far lower prices and better selections. I wrote to the charity about this and they responded that their stringent vendor requirements miss some discount prices but save money in the long run. When price differences are routinely 30-50% and sometimes up to 70% on packages costing hundreds of dollars, that doesn't make sense.

More Feedback

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the teacher notes, photos and student "thank-you" notes sent by classrooms benefited by projects to which I have donated

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

- have them expand their supplier base - have them negotiate discounts with their current suppliers (and plow back the money into projects, in some fully disclosed manner) - have their staff who check prices and availability of requested items, also work with the teachers to ensure that appropriate equipment is specified and appropriate suppliers chosen to provide it

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Likely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

Availability of projects at schools I personally know to be underserved

Why did you make your donation at this time?

To support improved education for low income children in public schooling

What would you tell others about this organization?

That it does good work and that its increased size and impact have made it more efficient - but that it has unexploited opportunities to use its size, reputation, and purchasing power to become even more effective.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Review from CharityNavigator

Write a Review for This Nonprofit

Far exceeds expectations
Exceeds expectations
Meets expectations
Below expectations
Far below expectations
Rate this nonprofit:
1000 characters left