Tuesday, April 26, 2011

@BingGives - By Inviting Others to Give

I just took advantage of the coolest opportunity to donate $100 to a classroom project which will leverage technology to help preschool students with special needs expand their communication skills. The opportunity came thanks to Bing - yes, the search engine folks!

It all started yesterday when I received the innocent looking Tweet you see at the start of this blog.

Innocent looking, except I'm super suspicious when it comes to Twitter and someone asking me to follow them so they can DM me! Online safety first, you know! 

So, I went to the @BingGives Twitter profile, and was reassured when it showed up as a verified account with over 13,000 followers. I noticed they were inviting other educators to follow them in the same way that they had invited me, and I followed a link from their profile page which took me to information on the Bing Cause Team. By now I was pretty convinced that they were legit, so I followed them.

Today, @BingGives sent me a DM (a private Twitter message) with a code to redeem for a $100 donation to a classroom project of my choice at DonorsChoose.org

At DonorsChoose.org, individual teachers sign up to request donations for classroom projects. After the projects are vetted, they are posted and donors can give tax deductible donations to support the projects. According to the DonorsChoose website, "All DonorsChoose.org projects are submitted by public school teachers who seek resources essential to their students' success. Donors can choose from thousands of classroom projects, and then hear back from the classroom they chose to help."

I searched for projects in my area and selected one in which a teacher of special needs 3-5 year olds wants to add technology to her classroom to help them build their communication skills. You can visit the project I selected to receive my $100 from @BingGives at this link.

I think this is a unique and impactful approach to charitable giving in the education realm. Bing recognizes educators who are engaging on Twitter by inviting them to support projects designed by fellow educators, and by doing so they might create donors who give back again in the future by introducing them to DonorsChoose.org. Not to mention the positive vibe the giver experiences (at least I did!) knowing that they are supporting student learning in ways a school or teacher is unable to fund.

This is a win-win-win-win-win program! Kudos to @BingGives and the team behind them. If you get an invite from them, investigate it for yourself, then take the opportunity to do a good deed for a fellow educator and their students!