#PackYourBag: How to Set Realistic and Exciting Goals to Fund your Classroom

You didn’t become a teacher to fundraise. But you also didn’t become a teacher to spend $500, or even $1000 on school supplies each year.

At AdoptAClassroom.org, fundraising is one of our favorite subjects. So we had an idea. We’ll teach you what we’ve learned so you can get back to teaching the next generation.

We’ve put together a virtual backpack full of six essential tools to fund your classroom. We know that your students learn better when they have the supplies they need. But we think you need some extra supplies too. With the help of the backpack, we hope that you’ll be more successful in finding and retaining donors for your classroom.

Sound good? Then let’s get started.


Our first tool is the calculator. Before you start asking for donations, you have to calculate what you need. Every teacher’s list will be different. Whether your goals are big or small, it’s important to tell donors specifics, as vague statements won’t motivate them to give.

1. Set a concrete goal

To borrow from CauseVox, you need a “SMART Goal,” a goal that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Make a list of what you need in your classroom, including a column for cost.

2. Provide an impact breakdown

Donors want to see their impact. So once you figure out what you need, find a way to present it to potential donors in a way that makes it perfectly clear what their money would mean. For example,

“$100 would buy snacks for my students for two months. This would make a big difference, since many of my students come to class without having eaten, making it very hard for them to learn.”

3. Create Urgency 

Sometimes, your goals have a natural timeline (such as when you need coats before winter) and others are more ongoing (such as needing snacks year round). Either way, you need to find ways to show donors why you need their help right now. 

4. Be proud 

Many teachers have expressed that they’re embarrassed to ask for funds. In the words of Kindergarten teacher Jolie B,

“Don’t be afraid to be loud. And by loud I mean put yourself out there. Let’s be honest, we’re teachers and teaching is our life.”

You’re educating the next generation of doctors, scientists, philosophers, and writers. That’s something to be proud of. Being timid or apologetic isn’t going to help you get donations, so be LOUD. You’re an education superhero.

 Want more examples, statistics, and motivation? Download the entire Calculator chapter of the AdoptAClassroom.org Teacher Backpack, and watch for the next five chapters!

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12 Responses to “#PackYourBag: How to Set Realistic and Exciting Goals to Fund your Classroom”

  1. Kudret Hankollari

    I am math teacher Hialeah-Miami Lakes High SChool.I need to buy 31 computers,31 graphing calculators,one smart board,4 white boards,One ELMO document camera,Computer tables and seats.Kudret hankollari Hialeah-Miami lakes High School 7977 West 12 th Avenue Hialeah,FL 33014 PH:305-878-6480

  2. Mary Derheimer

    I need $ 200.00 to purchase nonfiction books for my second grade class. With your help, my young readers will develop skills such as understanding graphs, and charts, along with decoding new vocabulary. Reading nonfiction text will better prepare them for third grade and beyond. Any help you can offer is appreciated!

  3. I’m an art teacher. I need supplies for my classroom. I need 40 sets of prang water colors, a variety of water color brushes and acrylic brushes for 30-40 students, drawing pencils, acrylic paint in primary and secondary colors pint size or larger, 36″ 100ft newsprint roll, 200 sheets of 140# watercolor paper, conte sketching pencils- 30 sets, classroom pack of prang colored pencils 250 set. Sincerely Kirsten Wothe Kings Canyon Middle School 5117 E Tulare Ave, Fresno, CA 93727 (559) 253-6470

  4. Our students need $100 to purchase materials for their STEM projects. Students will be researching the function of machines as well as studying the principles of flight. Funds raised would be used to purchase straws, tissue paper, paint, glue, and string for approximately 115 students.

  5. Hello! I teach first grade and I am currently seeking to turn my classroom into a kinesthetic classroom for my energetic students. They are eager to learn and read yet have been beautifully made to move, touch, and feel while they learn. I am in need of exercise balls, ball chairs, pedals for under their desks, and other means of movement for the classroom. Any donations will greatly improve my student’s style of learning to what is best for them. Thank you in advance!

  6. Doris Allgood

    I too am a first grade teacher. I have been teaching for over 30 years and continue to spend money that I’ve been blessed to give to my students. Yet there are many things that I can not afford for them. I would love to have a n up to date listening station with just a CD player that 4 students can listen too as well as a document camera for our class.

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