#PackYourBag: Crafting Your Story

This is the second chapter in the #PackYourBag series. With the six items in our “backpack,” we’re giving you tools to help fund your classroom. To read the first chapter, click here

There are 27 million pieces of content shared online each day. So when it comes to getting your classroom funded, standing out is important. You have to find ways to get donors’ attention, keep them Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 11.13.53 AMengaged, and convince them to support your classroom.

Below are five tips for telling a compelling story. To learn more, download the full chapter.

Tip #1: You’re never too old to proofread 

You know how to use spellcheck. We know you know how to use spellcheck. Donors need to know you know how to use spellcheck. It may sound harsh, but some donors actually get upset when they read spelling or grammar errors (proper use of there/their/they’re is especially important). Proofread more than once, have someone else read your profile, and try reading it out loud.

Tip #2: Show your thesis 

If you’re an English teacher, you know what we’re talking about. If not, find one to help you write one sentence that sums up your classroom description and “ask.”

Tip #3: We want good old-fashioned story time

You know how when you try to teach your students dry information the lesson falls flat? What about when you tell them a relevant story? Potential donors aren’t much different. They want to really see the difference supplies can make in your classroom.

While it may be tempting to create a broad profile that appeals to everyone, donors would rather read a classroom description with personality and passion. Here’s how to make yours great.

  • Be concise. Aim to keep your description between two and three paragraphs.
  • Show, don’t tell. Instead of saying your students are high-risk or super creative, use a story to prove your point. When was a time your class got really excited? What are some of the challenges your students face? What makes your classroom special? A story, no matter how brief, brings the reality of your classroom’s need to life and spurs donors to action.
  • Tell us why. From the start, share what your classroom needs and why it matters. For instance, if you need funding for classroom snacks, you could say, “My kids show up to class hungry every day. When I provide snacks, participation immediately skyrockets and everyone learns more.” The why helps visitors get invested in your classroom.
  • Define success. Setting a specific goal helps donors rally around your cause. Maybe that’s buying a notebook for each student or raising $500 for new science equipment. Whatever your goal is, be sure to let your enthusiasm shine through in your profile.

Tip #4: It’s not about you

Donors want to help teachers and students, but they also want to feel good about doing it. We know you’re a hero basically everyday. In your ask, make sure you show donors how they can be a hero for a day.

Tip #5: Without a picture, no one will even see your thousand words. 

Articles with visuals receive 94% more views than article without images. If you want people to see your classroom page, you’ll need to include pictures.

The best classroom photos are fun, upbeat, and share your students’ passion for learning. They can even be taken with your phone—just make sure your imagery is crisp and well-lit.

If it’s not possible to use photos of individual students, there are still ways to include awesome pictures on your profile.  Need ideas? Download the full guide.

Tip #6: Get the word out!

Once your profile is finished, it’s time to share it with the world! Send an email, post on Facebook, or print a flyer to start spreading the word about your classroom. Our tools and templates make it easy. Find everything you need in your teacher dashboard!

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