classroom supplies autism

Having a large amount of materials to rotate through your classroom is key to having an effective learning environment for your students. Unfortunately, due to budget restraints and the rising cost of quality learning materials, school districts and administration don’t always foot the bill for supplying these materials. On average, teachers are spending over $1,000 per year of their own money to adequately supply their classrooms. If you’re looking for ideas to fund for your classroom, this article will explore some creative ways that teachers can fundraise or receive donations to supply their classroom with the materials they need. We also have more articles on budgeting for your classroom here and here. Please note that before using some of these suggestions, check with your school administration for approval.

Online Fundraising and Crowdfunding

There are many websites and crowdfunding sources that teachers can use to request funding for their classroom or create lists of materials that they would like to have. The number one choice of most teachers to fundraise supplies for their classroom online is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project by receiving many small amounts of money or contributions from a large number of people, typically over the internet. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular crowdsourcing sites for teachers.


DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding website where teachers can post items that they need in their classroom and share the list to allow others to contribute. You can create a “project” on the site, then share it over social media so that family, friends, coworkers, and community members can read about your project and contribute. Encourage your community to share your list so that others will see it to increase the likelihood that your project will be completely funded. DonorsChoose also participates in company contributions with corporations that will help sponsor some or all of your project. According to the DonorsChoose website, over 75% of the dollars given to classroom projects come from donors who’ve never met the teachers they are supporting. The more you share your project, the more likely it is to succeed!


Classwish is very similar to DonorsChoose in that you post a “wish list” for your classroom, and people can give monetary donations or purchase items and have them sent directly to your classroom. Once you create your wish list, begin sharing your list over social media with family, friends, and community members. You can also provide the link or QR code on flyers and distribute throughout your community. The more times your wish list is shared, the more likely it is to be funded. Once items are purchased, Classwish will take care of shipping the supplies straight to the teacher.


Adopt-A-Classroom is another site that is very similar to DonorsChoose. Teachers can post their classroom projects and material needs, and then share the list over various social media platforms to encourage people to donate.

Amazon Lists.

Amazon Lists is a simple way for teachers to gather a list of materials needed in their classroom to share with family, friends, and community members. Once you create a list on Amazon, get to work sharing your list all over social media, or school sponsored web pages. Parents, friends, community members, and even total strangers can purchase items from your list and have them shipped directly to you. Your shipping address will be completely hidden from anyone purchasing materials on your list, so safety is not an issue.


Another popular way for teachers to get supplies for their classroom is by applying for grants. While this may take a bit more work than creating a crowdfunding page, teachers are able to apply for and receive grants online. You can search online for different grants for teachers depending on the age you teach and what specifically you’d like to receive grant funding for. For example, if you’re looking to add more STEM materials into your classroom, do a search for STEM grants. If you’d like to increase your classroom library, look for grants that fund the purchase of books and ELA materials. Most grants will require teachers to provide a specific write up of what they are going to use their materials for. If you’ve never done a write up for a grant before, look online for some quick and free professional development courses about effective grant writing.

Finding Materials in Your Community

Once you’ve set up your online funding sources, you can also get to work looking around your community for classroom materials at discounted prices. There are many ways that teachers can find quality materials for their classroom without having to buy items brand new. Let’s take a look at some ways you can find materials cheaper.


Checking second-hand thrift stores is a great way for teachers to find materials for their classrooms at a way cheaper price than buying brand new. Look in your community for locally owned thrift stores, Goodwill, or Salvation Army. These places may have games, craft supplies, toys, books, and other materials that are in quality condition and would be the perfect addition to your classroom. Be sure to check materials thoroughly to ensure all pieces are there and in good condition.

Garage Sales.

Summer break is the perfect time to go to garage sales in your community and look for gently used items that would be perfect for your classroom. You can stock up on games, toys, puzzles, books, and even furniture for your classroom for a tenth of the price of new items. You may even hit the jackpot and find retired teachers giving away classroom materials at cheap prices. You never know what you’re going to find, and that’s the fun of it!

Dollar Stores.
Dollar Tree and some do-it-yourself ideas from online can be a teacher’s best friend. Dollar Tree has many items available for teachers at a cheap cost. Stock up on different items from Dollar Tree for your classroom, or look through Dollar Spots in stores like Walmart and Target for sales on great materials. You can also check clearance sections at these stores for materials that are discounted and would work great in your classroom.

From crowdfunding to rummaging through sales, there are many creative ways that teachers can get donations and cheap supplies for their classrooms. If you don't know where to start with ordering, you can check out our page of what to order in your classroom.  While it may require a bit of brainstorming and resourcefulness, in the end it’ll all be worth it to have a classroom full of quality learning materials without breaking the bank.


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