Motivation & Key Questions


  • US govt spending on education has stagnated over the last few years
  • Schools in poor neighbourhoods have been taking a bigger hit due to paucity of resources
  • is a marketplace that matches donors with teachers with projects ideas and has grown at a rapid clip

The Gap/ Prompt

  • Most teachers have posted only 1 project. There is a lot of latent demand and willing donors that would like to contribute for a good cause
  • Teachers may need help/ a playbook for drafting winning project briefs
  • Insights into interesting patterns from DonorsChoose data may bring more visibility to the cause and the marketplace

Key Questions

  • What are some interesting growth and funding patterns from donorschoose transactions?
  • Can we showcase the above using some web based visuals for ease of consumption?
  • What are the predicters of a successful project brief? (will focus on this in the future)


  • We worked with Donors Choose data including Project requests data, Project essays data, resources data and Donation data
  • We downloaded and crunched the common core data from NCES To get the government funding trends across years

Findings & Insights

  • Government spending on education has stagnated over the last few years
  • Most of the funding from any state goes to the same state. NY donates more to other states compared to others
  • A few states like CA and NY over index on online payments. May be other states should have alternate means of payment
  • The launch of iPad in 2010 is correlated with a sharp uptick in technology projects and a corresponding decline in books

Consumption Use Case

  • Have a dedicated insights playground on the donorschoose website where students / teachers / general public can engage and pitch questions they would like answered with data

Potential Next Steps

  • Build a predictive model for estimating the funding probability of a proposal
  • Build a playbook for teachers in plain english from the qualitative insights. e.g. chunk bigger projects into small ones with a clear focus and amount < $400
  • Can superusers act as peer to peer guides for sharpening the project proposals
  • Mine for favourable patterns in text data and use them to guide teachers for shaping the messaging
  • Analyze the patterns to funding completion. e.g. does it make sense to even leverage advertising for getting the first donor
  • Who should be targeted for a given project area / attributes?

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