Much as I love Linda Erlinger and the rest of the Donors Choose gang, I must admit to having mixed feelings about the approach, which basically matches potential donors and classroom teachers' needs online: You want to have more books about the forest in your room? I want to pay for that. Done.
Like they say, it's simple, direct, and concrete -- and apparently very popular. There's no big application process for the teachers. And no big learning curve for the donors.
So I'm not sure what gets me. Is it that their promo program (now including Claire Danes as their pitchwoman) is pretty aggressive? Is it that the program competes with other, more established local programs like Rochelle Lee and the Oppenheimer grants that have a more traditional application and approval process. Is it that the approach is so individualized, so intentionally un-systematic and Web 2.0 that I can't deal with it? I honestly don't know.
What I'd like to know is whether the things people get via Donors Choose are what they really need, or whether teachers mostly ask for what they can get? Any stories, good or bad, about the experience -- as a donor or as a teacher?