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The Ultimate Guide to Social Media (for DonorsChoose.org Teachers)

Social media is a many-headed beast. Though the sheer amount of noise on social can make it difficult to navigate, it also affords great advantages and advice when you need a hand. Here are a few ways to use social media efficiently and effectively. Leverage that beast!
Connect with other teachers
Social media is a great place to get classroom and project ideas.
“On Facebook, we will usually just exchange ideas like, ‘Have you tried this?’ or, ‘I have this student that has this particular difficulty,’ and then people will share resources that they’re trying with own students,” explains teacher Rosey Hernandez.
The conversational nature of Twitter makes it great for exchanging ideas, and many Facebook communities for teachers have sprung up as well. (If you’re looking for project ideas or support, the DonorsChoose.org Teacher Facebook Community is one place to go.)
Pro Tip: “Edchats” are scheduled frequently on Twitter for teachers to touch base. Here’s a list of chats coming up soon.
Reach your project goal
Many teachers with funded projects have reached their project goal using social media. Here at DonorsChoose.org, we see the most donations come in through teacher’s Facebook pages above all other social media platforms.
Pro Tip: Fundraising through social media is most effective when used in tandem with email. Send 3-5 emails to make personal requests from your most ardent supporters. Your Facebook post then serves as a follow-up reminder to those supporters and let’s others know you have a project up.
Join a campaign
Several times a year, we run social media campaigns to spread the word about the site, encourage new donors to help, and remind repeat donors to give. Some of these are predictable (like #TeacherAppreciationWeek in spring and #GivingTuesday around the holidays) while others are a surprise (think #BestSchoolDay).
These campaigns serve as perfect moments to tell folks what’s happening in your classroom and even link to your current projects. Ultimately, the more people are aware of educational inequity and the amazing enrichment activities teachers execute, the more willing they are to help.
Pro Tip:
Hashtags are a helpful tool even where there’s no campaign running. For example, if you have a STEM project up on the site, add #STEM to the end of your post to get it in front of folks who know STEM is important in the classroom.
Show impact & say thanks
When we survey donors, they tell us they give to DonorsChoose.org because they can see exactly where their money is going. The same is true for those donors you know. Once you have your materials, post a few times about the exciting things you and your students are doing. Are they enjoying reading time on that new rug? Is that new iPad coming in handy?  Instagram is a great platform for sharing these photos, but Twitter and Facebook also work—anywhere your supporters can see your project in action.
“I have repeat donors that I’ve never ever met,” says Amani Abuhabsah. “So making the impact felt on your Facebook wall, on your Twitter—and even via email if that’s the only way to get in touch—is important.”
Really, there’s no wrong way to say “thanks”.
Pro Tip: Tag your supporters when sharing photos of your completed project. Even the corporations and foundations who provide match offers love to see the impact they’ve had. (Have a question about a partnership or match offer? Our contact form will get you the speediest possible response.)

How do you use social media as a teacher? Let us know in comments.

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