pencilandsharpener.jpgSometimes the difference between a kid who can write a story and a kid who cannot is a pencil that’s sharp enough to write. And believe it or not, there are classrooms that don’t have pencils or pencil sharpeners.

There are first graders who haven’t read "A Cat in the Hat" because their classroom doesn’t have a copy of the book.

And there are fourth graders who are supposed to be learning about science, but their teacher is unable to access microscopes, lab notebooks or even geodes. 

Giving Back with Analytics and Data Science

Why are we talking about this on CMSWire? Because there’s an organization that leverages data analytics and data science to connect classrooms in need with citizens who may be willing to help. And we’re not talking about mega-contributions from billionaires, but tens or hundreds of dollars from ordinary people like you and me.

This is accomplished via Donors Choose, a crowdsourcing, matchmaking website where teachers in need can make requests for contributions for specific projects and donors can easily contribute right there on the site.

One hundred sixty-five thousand teachers at 43,000 public schools have used the site to post over 300,000 classroom project requests, inspiring $220,000,000 in giving from 400,000 donors who performed over a million search queries and made more than a million donations.

And all told, 10 million students -- most from low income communities, and many in disaster-stricken areas -- have received books, art supplies, field trips, technology and other resources that they need to learn.

Not Leaving Donations to Chance

While some might assume that any organization that has as compelling a mission as pairing children in need with education would have donations pouring in the door without much outreach and effort, this is not how Donors Choose has achieved such amazing results.

It’s not a “if you build it, they will come" scenario. Instead much of the organization’s success is achieved via putting insight into action or, in other words, putting the right giving opportunities in front of the right donors at that right time.