Crowdfunding Versus Grant Writing: What’s the Difference?

As school budgets get tighter, more and more educators are turning to crowdfunding sites, such as DonorsChoose, AdoptAClasroom, and GoFundMe, to raise much needed funds for their classrooms. But what is crowdfunding and how is it different from grant writing?

Crowdfunding is when an individual or organization raises money from numerous donors, typically with the help of a website, to fund equipment or a project or program. Unlike general school fundraisers, both crowdfunding and grant writing raise money to address a specific need. While both approaches have been proven to achieve similar results, they are both vastly different. Here’s a quick guide to crowdfunding versus grant writing.

Needs Addressed
Crowdfunding campaigns address a specific, one-time need. This could be purchasing new technology, classroom supplies, or equipment. It could also be a field trip, classroom project, or visiting speaker.

Amount of Money
Crowdfunding is best at raising smaller amounts of money. Larger projects can be funded, but may need to be broken up into smaller campaigns of a few hundred dollars each. Funding goals should be kept manageable, because some crowdfunding websites only disperse funds if the campaign reaches its funding goal.

Funding Process
Crowdfunding may look easy, but it takes a lot of planning and campaigning. After posting a detailed and persuasive description of the campaign to a crowdfunding website, educators have to reach out to their networks through social media, email, and in person. Many different types of donors including community members, parents, alumni, and fellow educators will contribute varying amounts to reach the campaigns goal.

Where to Find Funding
Some education-focused crowdfunding websites to get you started are:, Classwish, and AdoptAClassroom. More general crowdfunding websites are: GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and Kickstarter.


Grant Writing
Needs Addressed
Grants address specific needs that may need ongoing support. Grants typically support innovative projects or programs. Grants can provide seed money or capital, general, matching/challenge, or capacity building support.

Amount of Money
Grants can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands or more depending on the funder and the recipient’s needs. Funder’s will typically specify the amount of money they intend to give. Grant-writers write a budget detailing how they will spend the funds.

Funding Process
To receive a grant, educators will have to submit an application or proposal to foundations and corporations. The proposal will outline the funding needs, budget, and anticipated outcomes. A proposal will need to be compelling in order to persuade funders.

Where to Find Funding
There are thousands of funders looking to support education related projects and programs. Search GetEdFunding to find your perfect funding fit.


To learn more about grant-writing, visit the GetEdFunding Articles section. Check out these articles to learn more about crowdfunding for schools and educators:

Crowdfunding Tips for Students and Schools

Raise Money With Crowdfunding: Top 9 Tips for Schools

Crowdfunding vs. Grants: Which is right for you?


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