September 26th, 2018
Canadian Crowdfunding ‘Pick My Class’ Empowers Teachers and Inspires Students
Posted By: Craig Asano | December 27, 2012.
NCFA Canada interviews Andrew Spinner , Founder of Pick My Class, a Canadian crowdfunding platform (registered charity) that helps public school teachers fund their classroom project ideas. I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew briefly in the demo pit for his other start-up Understoodit at the Lean Start-up day held at MaRS in early December .
'Empowering Teachers and Inspiring Students'.
What's the story behind Pick My Class? What was the inspiration?
My mother has been an incredible public school teacher since I was a little kid and continues to be today. She always had creative and innovative ideas for her classroom, but always had to fund them out of pocket. When I started my professional career in Toronto, I realized the more teachers that I interacted with the more I learned that they were paying for tons of school supplies out of their own pocket too. I tried finding resources to help them, and after not finding much, I thought I would create a solution that would help my mother and the other inspiring teachers.
What has the feedback been from students and parents?
We mainly interact with the teachers, and they love it. It's a resource that hasn't really existed before, and is something that can supplement their budgets. Teachers have incredible ideas, but are always restrained from going above and beyond due to the costs. Pick My Class has been a big help to get some great supplies in some classrooms.
For fundraisers (teachers), what are some of the best benefits?
We have included some social media tools, so once the teachers create a project, they are able to reach a wide audience quite quickly. As well, our website brings classrooms more national exposure. A person in British Columbia can help fund a project in Nova Scotia, whereas before, it would be complex to make this happen. As well, previously, teachers could send home a note to try and raise funds from parents and the parents would send some cash or cheque with their child. Instead, the parents can contribute online and get tax receipts for their contributions.
How does the business model work?
When I set out to create Pick My Class, I wanted to ensure 100% of proceeds went to the classrooms. It just felt right. When you donate, you want as much of your donation to hit the cause of choice. Of course with that brings a big challenge. To keep the operations going, we ask each donor if they want to add an extra 15% to help fund the Pick My Class operations. Although it's still early on, we've seen a really high 'opt-in' rate.
What's next for Pick My Class?
It's time to reach our audience. We're starting to get projects posted from across the country, and now we need to push to get the exposure to get the projects funded. We're not only looking at traditional media and bloggers, but we're also pursuing some strategic partnerships. We're thrilled to be recently added as a charity option on ECHOage.com.
The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada is Canada’s Crowdfunding Advocate. Newly formed, dynamic and inclusive, NCFA Canada works closely with industry groups, government, academia, other business associations and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry and voice across Canada.