If you think your child’s education system is lacking something and you’ve got means… why not make a restricted donation?
We’re interested in differentiated independent learning activities for our child’s classroom. The previous teacher had a ton of them. We asked the new teacher if she would be continuing the tradition, but it turns out the former teacher is taking a lot of the independent stations she’d bought with her own money throughout the years with her when she goes.
So we offered to make a donation to help the new teacher outfit her class, with a specific emphasis on independent learning activities. We contacted the teacher first, to make sure she was ok with the idea, and to figure out how best to get her the money so that an equivalent amount of general school money would not be taken away from her classroom for other purposes. She came back with suggestions: a listening center with books on CD, scales for math, etc.
We wrote a check for a set amount and allowed her to use it as she saw fit. We’re not particularly picky with the type of independent learning activities, but if we were, we might talk to the teacher, ask her if it is ok to donate the materials or time etc. to the class, and then do so. If the money were to be more fungible (that is, if the school were to take away an equivalent amount of money), then we would need to give a gift card or in-kind donations (buying the things she wants directly).
It’s better to ask, “if you’re interested, what can we do to facilitate this?” than “why aren’t you doing this?” People are more likely to do things if you make it easy for them, if you put your money or time or both where your mouth is. They’re likely to accept suggestions if you ask them if they’re interested in a spirit of helping, rather than if you take up a combative position.
Even though the gift is self-serving and restricted, if it is being given to a public or non-profit organization, it is still tax-deductible. And your child will not be the only person to benefit.
(Of course, if you’re not self-serving and just want to help education in general, donorschoose is one of my favorite charities. Man, I cannot visit that site without giving– this time I gave $25 to a high-poverty school in an inner city whose teacher needed money for independent math learning activities for when her fast students finished their work early, so they wouldn’t have to do more of the same worksheets as a punishment for being done. How can you say no to that?)
Related: Guest lecturing at your kid’s school by feMomhist
Do you ever give self-serving donations?