We have received a number of inquiries regarding the appropriateness of using “crowdfunding” websites to fund educational activities or the purchase of educational materials for our students. Some of the more common sites that currently have MMSD-related posts are Donors Choose and Gofundme. Please follow the general guidelines below and ensure that any crowdfunding activity adheres to the District’s current policies.


Policies

  • BOE Policy 2609 sets forth reporting requirements that must be followed when an MMSD employee engages in fundraising. Any funds received through crowdfunding must be reported to the accounting department pursuant to that policy.
  • Staff cannot directly solicit funds from either parents or students and may not request that students solicit on the staff member’s behalf. (See BOE Policy 4121 and 8251). Consequently, staff cannot directly tell families about their webpages on crowdfunding sites or provide direct links to the sites through email or classroom newsletters.
  • If the District is able to identify that a donor has made a substantial donation ($10,000 or greater) to a crowdfunded proposal the District must follow BOE Policy 6177.

Guidelines

  • All crowdfunding should be approved by the Principal prior to posting on any website.
  • Prior to approval the Principal should consider any potential consequences of accepting the materials or equipment purchased with the received funds. For example, principals should consider whether the materials or equipment require storage, installation, ongoing maintenance or any other commitment of District resources. The attached chart may be helpful in consulting with District staff to determine whether materials or equipment might require additional resources.
  • When a request is made to crowdfund, the Principal should advise the staff member of the above policies.
  • Staff members should also be informed that if the crowdfunding is being done on behalf of the District or District students, any materials or equipment purchased with the received funds become the property of the District.
  • District-sponsored crowdfunding efforts may not be set up by students. Most sites require that the originator be over the age of 18.
  • Staff members should be aware that many crowdfunding sites require the originators to provide their social security number.
  • Staff members should be aware that the District will not be responsible for any potential personal tax consequences for those who establish a crowdfunding page or site.
  • Requests for funds may not be for the purpose of purchasing necessary classroom materials or curriculum. If materials are necessary for instruction those materials should be purchased by the District with available funds, not through crowdfunding.
  • An employee may not use a student’s image or picture to promote a crowdfunded project unless written consent is received from the student’s parent/legal guardian. The consent form must state that the purpose of the consent is to use the student’s picture to promote a crowdfunded project and the student’s picture will be displayed on a website accessible to the public at large. Download the Template Consent form for your use.
  • Any purchases made with funds received through crowdfunding must comply with MMSD purchasing guidelines and procedures.
  • Funds received via crowdfunding efforts must either be deposited in the school activity fund or forwarded to Budget, Planning, and Accounting as a donation earmarked for the specific department or school.
  • Purchases must align with school and District priorities.

If the proposal includes...

  • Payment to staff, contact Deirdre Hargrove-Krieghoff, Executive Director, Human Resources at 663-1760, dlhargrovekr@madison.k12.wi.us. If you are unable to reach Deirdre Hargrove-Krieghoff, contact Heidi Tepp at 663-1742, htepp@madison.k12.wi.us.
  • Computer hardware or software, contact Jeff Knutsen, Director of Technical Services at 663-5430, jmknutsen@madison.k12.wi.us.
  • Alterations to buildings or grounds, contact Chad Wiese, Director of Building Services at 204-7911, cwiese@madison.k12.wi.us.
  • Supplies, equipment, or purchased services (This includes purchase of computer hardware or software), contact Dana Scheel, Assistant Director of Administrative Services, at 663-5287, dsscheel@madison.k12.wi.us.
  • Community partnership, contact Nichelle Nichols, Executive Director of Equity, Partnerships & Engagement at 442-2945, nenichols@madison.k12.wi.us.
  • Professional development of staff, contact Jorge Covarrubias, Executive Director of Professional Learning and Leadership Development, at 285-2970, jcovarrubias@madison.k12.wi.us.