Donors are sick of writing that $200 check to the Red Cross and not knowing whether it goes for the executive director's salary or the office rent.

Charles Best

Charles Best

Profession: Entrepreneur
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

Our name is not great. It doesn't evoke anything about school or teachers. It doesn't roll off the tongue or stick in your head.

At DonorsChoose.org, you can give as little as $1 and get the same level of choice, transparency, and feedback that is traditionally reserved for someone who gives millions. We call it citizen philanthropy.

Whether you're raising money for a cause, a personal need, or a project, most crowdfunding sites center on you hitting up people you already know. These sites make it easier to tap your social network for funds, but only the most compelling cases inspire support from strangers.

I was a social studies teacher at a high school in the Bronx for five years.

If you just believe in our democracy, and you want an informed electorate, public schools are in your interest, and I think our country is dependent on public schools, whether or not you personally have a kid in the public school system.

Acknowledging someone is an act of altruism in the first place, so converting that act of altruism into a pizza party or company fleece jacket or a gift card is fine, but it's not in keeping with spirit in which it all began.

We believe in the wisdom of the front lines.

At DonorsChoose.org, we believe that classroom teachers often know their students better than anybody else in the system and that their front-line experience gives them a special kind of wisdom.

I think philanthropy is so much more in keeping with spirit of shouting someone out than a material reward.

We really are based on this idea that teachers have all this pent-up classroom expertise and that if we could just empower them to come up with micro-solutions, they're going to come up with smarter ideas than anybody would at the top.

Committed teachers know their students' needs better than anyone in the system. Traditionally, however, teachers have little control over the purchase of student materials.

My colleagues and I would spend a lot of our own money on copy paper and pencils, and often we couldn't get the resources that would excite our students about learning.

We all remember special days at school, whether it was going on a field trip, doing a science experiment, or performing in a school play.

I've met with titans of Silicon Valley because they're investing in our national expansion. I've had lunch with Claire Danes because she sees DonorsChoose.org as the best way to help students in public schools. I would never, ever rub shoulders with such people if I had followed the typical career path in investment banking or whatever.