Money shouldn’t prevent you (or your students) from having a successful academic year.

But school budgets typically don’t cover everything, and this forces you to spend your own money. And because you take pride in your career, you do. 

That’s how dedicated you are, and you’re certainly not alone. 

Data shows that teachers fork out a lot of their own money and never get reimbursed. But that isn’t sustainable.

In an effort to save money without depriving students of a positive learning environment, some teachers raise money for the classroom. It might be exactly what you need to do, too.

But how do you get donations? 

This article provides A+ ideas to get you started. Keep reading to discover: 

  • Data on teachers’ out-of-pocket spending 
  • How some teachers raise money, including GoFundMe
  • An easier (and free!) way to raise money: Braid money pools
  • 10 smart reasons to raise money for your classroom using Braid

Oh! Hear the bell? The second period’s about to start. Time to take our seats and learn a thing or two!

Don’t want to wait? Click here to set up your first Braid pool

How much do teachers spend out of pocket?

According to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), 94 percent of public school teachers spend their own money on classroom supplies. 

But how much are they spending?

The IES found that on average, teachers spend $478 of their own money on classroom supplies without getting reimbursed. But this figure depends on where you live. 

City teachers, for example, are more likely to spend over $1,000 compared to teachers in suburban, town, or rural locations.  

A more recent survey from AdoptAClassroom.org paints a grimmer picture. The data indicates that teachers are paying an average of $750 each year - more than ever before.

With this current arrangement, teachers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

Without adequate funding, their work as educators becomes more stressful. The solution, however (spending their own money without reimbursement), also adds stress to their lives.

Understandably, many teachers try to lighten their load by asking for financial support from their students’ parents, family, friends, etc. 

But this strategy has some drawbacks. 

What challenges do teachers face when raising money for the classroom?

This piece from The Washington Post explores different ways teachers get financial support from other people. 

Some invited friends and family to purchase items from an online wishlist. Others started fundraisers. (More on that to come.) 

And while it’s great that other people pitch in, asking for money can feel icky and embarrassing. One teacher, in particular, said that when they have to “beg”, it takes away their dignity. 

This emotional discomfort may explain why teachers turn to online platforms to raise money for the classroom. 

Specific platforms, like Braid or GoFundMe, serve as neutral middlemen and help teachers collect donations without feeling awkward. 

But what are the differences between these two platforms? Most importantly, which one is best for you? 

Keep reading to find out. 

Can teachers use GoFundMe?

Bake sales, auctions, car washes, raffles. Schools have been raising money with these types of social events for years. 

But after the global pandemic and a growing trend to give and send money online, it’s harder to raise money the “old-fashioned” way.

That’s why individual teachers and entire schools use GoFundMe to collect donations. 

And while it’s a popular fundraising platform, you might not want to rush to set up a GoFundMe for teachers page just yet.

Take a look at some of the potential drawbacks first.

1. Lengthy set-up process

GoFundMe has a strong storytelling component. In addition to sharing your written story, you’re encouraged to include photos and video footage to garner more donations.

GoFundMe is so storyteller-heavy, your fundraiser will look bare if you skip this step. 

But setting up photos and videos is a lengthy and detailed process. It might be something you simply don’t have the time, resources, or energy for. 

2. Only a collection page

Incoming donations collect on your GoFundMe page. But you cannot access them until they are transferred to your personal bank account. 

While it’s exciting to watch your progress meter inch closer to your fundraiser goal, your money stays on GoFundMe until you request a transfer. 

Only then can you purchase must-have items for your classroom. 

3. Teachers don’t have instant access to donations

GoFundMe allows you to withdraw funds at any time in the fundraiser. However, the transfers take between 2-5 business days. 

This delays when you can use donation dollars for classroom supplies, field trip necessities, holiday décor, etc. 

If you accidentally forget to request a withdrawal, you may not get your funds in time and you might have to dip into your personal account to cover classroom costs.   

4. Teacher donations mix with personal money 

Because GoFundMe operates solely as a collection page, you need to transfer funds to your personal account before you can spend them. 

However, the result is mixing your donations with your own finances. 

Not only does this get messy, but it also makes it harder to stay within budget. As a conscientious teacher, you need to avoid this.  

5. GoFundMe has fees

It’s free to start a GoFundMe, but as soon as donations start pouring in, it will cost you. 

How much does GoFundMe take in fees?

There is a 2.9% + 0.30 USD fee for every donation both from credit and debit payments. Your donors won’t absorb this fee, however. 

With GoFundMe, the beneficiary takes a hit. That means you receive the donated amount after the total fees. 

It’s discouraging to watch a portion of every single generous donation go straight to banks and credit card companies. Shouldn’t it be for your students?

Set up your free Braid Money Pool today and collect funds for free!

10 reasons to use Braid Money Pools to raise money for your classroom

You know how to grade papers, write lesson plans, and bring out the best in your students. But teacher donations still stump you.

“How can I raise money for my classroom?”

It’s simple. Use Braid. It’s a smart solution to collect funds for your classroom. If it’s new to you, allow us to introduce you. 

What are Braid Money Pools?

Braid Money Pools are where people can collect, manage, and spend money together. When it comes to teacher donations, a Braid Money Pool ticks the right boxes. Take a look. 

1. Quick set-up process

 

You can create your pool, customize the pool link, and send the pool link to your community to collect donations - all in a matter of minutes. 

 

2. Manage your pool exactly as you want

 

With Braid, you decide how your pool works. 

Scenario 1: I want to manage the pool with my teaching assistant or aide

If you want to manage and spend donations with other educators, like your teaching assistant or aide, it’s simple.

Send them your invitation link and they can join the pool. 

As pool members, they can share tasks with you, like spending funds with the Braid debit card or sharing the pool link to collect contributions.

You can set spending permissions and spending limits so everyone stays on budget. 

Scenario 2: I want to raise money using my money pool

If you simply need to collect donations but don’t need people to join the pool with you, share your customizable pool link with them. 

That’s all they need to add funds for free using their debit cards.

If you’re asking parents for money, always be open with them about why you’re doing so. 

Explain how their money will be spent. Illustrate how it will improve their child’s experience and help them excel academically and socially. 

This is an important part of fundraising because parents usually purchase a laundry list of items for their children before the start of a new school year. 

They might feel hesitant to spend any more money. But being open and honest with them can help. 

3. People can donate without signing up for Braid 

 

Many money apps, like PayPal or Venmo, require you to have an account before you can send anyone money. This requirement is a strong deterrent and halts donations in their tracks. 

With Braid, people only need your pool link to contribute. Such simplicity helps to keep donations flowing. 

All you have to do is text or email people your pool link and voila! They can donate. 

Isn’t this a smarter way to secure donations than sending students home with notes or reminders? 

Raise money for your classroom with Braid Money Pools today!

4. Braid is more than a collection page 

 

You’ll remember that GoFundMe operates solely as a collection page. Braid does this - and then some!

 

Braid is a dedicated place for your donations. But your donations don't just sit there. 

 

Donations are dynamic with Braid because you can actively manage and spend them directly from your pool with the Braid debit card. Plus, Braid is set up for multiple users so other pool members can manage money with you. 

 

5. Enjoy instant access to donations 

 

With GoFundMe, teachers have to wait 2-5 business days for donations to transfer to their personal bank accounts. With Braid, it’s more efficient. 

 

You don't have to transfer money to your bank in order to spend it.

You can spend it directly from the pool with the free Braid debit card that comes with each pool. 

Having instant access to donations means you never have to dip into your own wallet to cover classroom costs. 

It also makes spending incredibly flexible. Here are six things you can do with your Braid card: 

  • Use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted 
  • Request a physical debit card for in-person purchases
  • See transactions directly in the app 
  • Set spending permissions and allow other pool members to spend with you
  • Set spending limits so everyone stays on a budget 
  • Freeze the card at any time right in the app 

6. Donations stay in a dedicated money pool

 

You have a knack for making history lessons leap off the page. You know how to take abstract concepts out of the platonic clouds and make them more accessible. 

 

But between your professional and personal commitments, it’s easy to lose track of receipts, spending, and budget. 

 

Fortunately, you’ll stay organized with Braid.

 

Donations stay in your money pool and never mix with your personal banking. This makes it easier to track your spending. 

 

It also makes it easier to track your contributors so you can thank them later.

7. Braid is free to use

 

Yep, you read that right. 

 

Braid is free to download and free to use. There are no monthly fees, overdraft fees, or transaction fees.

 

Remember that 2.9% + 0.30 USD fee for every donation both from credit and debit payments to the beneficiary on GoFundMe? You won’t find that in Braid.

 

It’s free for teachers to raise money for the classroom and it’s free for people to give via debit cards. However, we do charge a 3% fee for contributions made with a credit card. This fee is charged to the contributor. 

 

This means you get to keep and spend 100% of the donations you collect. Isn’t that how it should be?

 

And in case you're wondering how Braid makes money, it’s simple. We get paid every time you use the Braid card. It’s called debit interchange, and it doesn’t cost you a thing. 

8. Your pool is safe and secure

Your money matters. That’s why we use best-in-class security and compliance practices to protect your donations and keep your data private. 

You can sit back and relax. 

Your donations are safe and they’ll be there when it comes time to buy classroom supplies, items for after-school programs, or prepare for a field trip. 

9. Raise money for your classroom, school, or favorite teacher

Braid doesn’t micromanage the awesome people who use money pools to raise money.

If you need to raise money for your classroom or school, or you want to raise money for your favorite teacher, the world’s your oyster.

10. Raise money for what you need

Do you need fidgets for your math class? Start a pool.

Do you simply need cash for basics, like snacks and supplies? A third-grade classroom did this on Braid.

Looking for a covert way to collect money for a teacher’s gift? Sharing a money pool with fellow educators and/or parents is a delightfully sneaky way to keep the surprise under wraps. 

Related Post: How to Celebrate Teachers throughout the School Year

Money shouldn’t prevent you from creating a positive and supportive learning environment for your students. But we get it. 

School budgets don’t always suffice. And asking for money can feel embarrassing, icky, and unprofessional. 

Unless you use Braid. 

Braid just might be the easiest and most convenient way for you to raise money for your classroom.

Try Braid today and get the financial support you and your students need to have a stellar school year

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