As we all have felt the economic crunch of today’s times, I have sat down with my staff to figure out feasible ways that we can wither through this economic storm together but still keep our youth and community members in mind as we help today’s youth with Darrius Garrett’s motivational speaking events.

1. Share Darrius Garrett with another school in your area on the same day. Therefore his speaker’s fee is cut nearly in HALF for your school and the school that is joining... Darrius is super easy to promote to other schools just solely based on being a Freedom Writer along with the book and the movie as professional credits. If more information is needed by the other party, feel free to forward them to and click on the Motivational Speaker tab.


2. Check with your school administration for funding from the Associated Student Body fund. For teacher in-service programs, ask about Staff Development -- Title VI funding.


3. Plan to integrate and highlight Darrius Garrett into a major theme such as cultural awareness week, Peace Colors, health day, Red Ribbon Week, etc. Depending on your theme, federal grant money may be available. For example, Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSCA) might approve a funding request for a speaker who addresses alcohol and drug prevention, sexual abstinence, tobacco use, teen pregnancy, gangs, crime and violence prevention. Check with your school district or federal government office to find out who is dispensing these funds in your state. Request an application form.

4. Apply for other grant monies from your state by contacting your State Department of Human Services and State Department of Education. They can direct you to the correct office -- for example, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. Contact other local agencies in your county that already have grant monies from state agencies. For example, the Criminal Justice Department or Department of Public Safety might have distributed funds into mental health agencies or programs for mentoring youth, etc.

5. Contact your school's PTO/PTA. Share your plans with them. They are more likely to contribute funds if your plan is well thought out.

6. Make it an event and raise money as the Freedom Writers have done, such as Talent Showcase, hold a Raffle, Read-a-thon, benefit sporting event (basketball, football, softball), Pancake breakfast (Darrius loves pancakes), etc.


7. Have student leaders contact local business organizations: Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Lions Club, Elks, and Chamber of Commerce. Present your plan and request their sponsorship.

8. Create a win-win situation. Contact several of your larger local businesses, especially those related to services for teens and their families. Ask for the owner, CEO or Community Services
Department. If they are willing to help sponsor the speaker, you can exchange the favor by announcing their support to your students and parents.


9. Invite multiple clubs on campus to participate and help in a fund raising project. A cooperative effort helps students collaborate and learn about the realities of time and effort in acquiring
funding in the real world.

10. OR my personal favorite the loose change for Change drive like the Freedom Writers did. We got a water jug and we all just put in loose change from lunch or from the couches that some
of us may have had at the time. You will be surprised how much will accumulate in so little time.

*Motivation is key, those that are motivated will want to take part in the chance to make a difference
in people’s lives and what we are doing…Together we can make this work as every cent will be a cent
well invested.


1. Causes

Fully integrated into the world's largest social network, Causes lets Facebook users launch and participate in online campaigns for collective action, like fundraising, signing petitions and garnering attention for a cause or organization.

For Donors: The Causes application prompts individuals to create grassroots communities or “causes” in support of specific issues or non-profit organizations and then invite their Facebook friends to join them in their efforts.

For Non-profits: Non-profits can use Causes to build communities of supporters, run fundraising campaigns, distribute petitions and build a volunteer base for free. In order to accept donations through Causes, a non-profit must be a 501(c)3 that is also registered with GuideStar. Non-profits still must pay the 4.75% processing fee via Network for Good.

2. Crowdrise​​

Crowdrise offers online tools for personal fundraising, event fundraising, special occasion fundraising, team fundraising and sponsored volunteerism. Star power from co-founder Edward Norton and social media-powered, high-profile fundraisers have helped set this crowdfunding tool apart from others.

For Donors: In addition to starting a fundraising campaign, giving to one, volunteering or interacting within Crowdrise, you can accumulate points for your activities. You'll earn 10 points for every dollar raised or donated and double points for giving to a featured charity. Top point winners get prizes such as electronics, clothing and giftcards.

For Non-profits: Non-profits can benefit from Crowdrise's turn-key solution meant to complement their existing fundraising and volunteer activities. Basic accounts are free, and there is a $299/year cost for a Featured Account. Crowdrise deducts 5% on donations made through their site with a $1 transaction fee for donations under $25 or a $2.50 transaction fee for donations of $25 and up.

3. DonateNow/Network for Good


This site provides a secure donation system that powers the online fundraising efforts of many non-profits. It also has a Volunteer Network to connect individuals across the country with more than 200,000 virtual, local and global volunteer opportunities.

For Donors: Some people may not ever come into direct contact with Network for Good until they make an online contribution to a non-profit that uses DonateNow behind the scenes. But you can go to the Network for Good site and make donations and manage your giving history directly. You can also set up automated monthly giving, buy a charity gift card, or download a badge for your favorite charity to add to your website or blog.

For Non-profits: Using the DonateNow service, you can select from three plans: "Lite," for a 5% fee per donation; "Main," with a one-time account setup fee of $199.00 and a monthly fee of $49.95; and "DonateNow Deluxe" for $99 per month. The latter two plans have a 3% donation fee. They also offer a service called EventsNow powered by givezooks with transaction fees of 5.5% and $0.99 per ticket or donation and a fee-based e-mail service powered by Emma.

4. DonorsChoose

This site vets every classroom project request submitted by teachers and processes donor transactions. They then purchase all related classroom materials, ship the items directly to the schools and notify the principal of the pending shipments. They close the loop by providing photos of each project taking place with teacher and student letters and a cost report showing how donations were spent.

For Donors: You can donate to the classroom project of your choice and then invite your social network friends, fans and followers to join your efforts.

For Non-profits: Teachers are encouraged to submit classroom projects to the site and to use social media to garner support. Projects less than $400 have the best chance of being funded.

5. FirstGiving


This site empowers individuals to raise money for causes easily and provides non-profits with fundraising campaign management tools.

For Donors: The site provides individuals with the tools to raise money or donate to a cause. Donors can choose to cover the fees that are normally passed on as a transaction fee to the non-profit.

For Non-Profits: FirstGiving partners with non-profit organizations so they can plan, execute and measure their online fundraising campaigns. Non-profits can sign up for an account and receive donations weekly, less a 5% fee. Non-profits can also let their supporters know that anyone can create fundraising pages on behalf of the organization.

6. Givezooks!

Givezooks! is geared toward non-profits and provides them with tools to manage fundraising efforts. Fundraisers on givezooks! can be promoted using e-mail, widgets and through social media channels.

For Donors: While not specifically geared toward the individual donor, givezooks! provides a grassroots fundraising tool for non-profits. In turn, non-profits can encourage people like you to create grassroots fundraising campaigns on their behalf and individuals can tap into their own personal social networks for additional support.

For Non-profits: To get started, non-profits pick a plan, create a custom givezooks! fundraiser: a campaign, event or wish list. Organizations also select their payment gateway: Sage, PayPal, CyberSource, or AmazonPayments. The givezooks! Social Fundraising platform starts at $129 per month. Their Events product is priced separately based on a transaction fee starting at 2%.

7. Help Attack!


HelpAttack! wants to make it easy and fun for anyone to “turn social actions into social good.” Anyone can pledge any amount of money for each action they take online (currently on Twitter and Facebook) and give it to their favorite non-profits. There's a gaming and discovery component so users can unlock coins and learn about new non-profits and causes to support.

For Donors: Sign in to HelpAttack! with your Twitter or Facebook ID, choose a non-profit from the site's database to support and pledge a specific amount per action for a 30-day period. Then simply go about your tweeting, commenting, uploading photos to Facebook, and engaging with your friends online. At the end of 30 days, the site tallies your social activities, and you can return to the site to make good on your promise.

For Non-profits: Any 501(c)(3) can be included in the site's database and cultivate philanthropists from their fans and followers. The fee for non-profits is 4.75% via Network For Good. HelpAttack! has a freemium model with the paid upgrade costing $25 at sign up and an additional 4%
from the donation stream.

8. Jumo

Jumo, a registered 501(c)(3) organization, considers itself a social network that connects individuals and organizations. Created by Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, its functionality is linked closely with Facebook.

For Donors: You must have a Facebook account to sign up and use. As a donor, you can find issues and projects to support, follow related news and support those causes. In some cases, you donate to an organization through a donate button on their Jumo page.

For Non-profits: Jumo is open to all organizations or groups with a charitable mission. Non-profits can add their organizations or projects by clicking on “Add a Project” at the bottom of every site page. In some cases, a page may already be set up in an organization's name, and they can click “Become the administrator” on the page to claim it. To receive donations through Jumo, non-profits must provide their organization’s EIN. Donations on Jumo are processed via Network for Good so there is a 4.75% fee per transaction.

9. JustGive


Founded 11 years ago, JustGive was created to help individuals find charities to support. The JustGive Guide narrows a database of over 1.5 million charities (from Guidestar) down to the 1,000 organizations that meet stringent requirements and then groups them into 19 categories. The site also offers various ways individuals can support their causes, such as charity gift cards, charity wedding registrations and charity gift collections.

For Donors: The minimum donation through the site is $10 and payments can be made via American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa. You can also set up recurring donations to process on a monthly basis. Track the donations you make through your giving history, which helps at tax time.

For Non-profits: To create or correct their listing on JustGive, a non-profit needs to first register with Guidestar. Organizations can set up a JustGive donation page and download a “Donate Now” button to put on their website or blog and lead donors to JustGive to process donations. JustGive provides a record of donations downloadable as a CSV or PDF file. There are no setup costs but there is a 3% fee per donation.

10. Razoo

Razoo provides tools to search for and donate to charities, create an online fundraiser with no setup fees or monthly subscriptions and collaborate through social media.

For Donors: You can find and support your favorite cause or non-profit or set up your own fundraiser. You can also organize a team or join someone else's to raise money including races and mission trips.

For Non-profits: With Razoo, non-profits can accept online donations and create fundraising campaigns for specific projects or start a fundraiser for a good cause. You can also claim access to your organization's listing (based on the IRS Business Master File) to share your stories for free on your fundraising page and use the DonateAnywhere widget to accept donations through Razoo. Razoo's per donation transaction fee is 2.9% with an additional 2.0% for team fundraising tools.

11. SocialVibe


SocialVibe is part of the social offerings from branding agency Svnetwork. The company refers to SocialVibe as a “social media utility” that connects people with brands in support of causes.

For Donors: By interacting with brands who have set up campaigns on SocialVibe, you can contribute to non-profit organizations partnered with the site. Each time you share branded content on your social media channels and blogs, you earn points that translate into micro-donations for the cause of your choice. The more social media accounts you connect to SocialVibe, the greater your impact. You can also add the SocialVibe app to your Facebook profile.

For Non-profits: SocialVibe is limited in how it works specifically with non-profits. It is currently affiliated with 40 charitable partners in the areas of education, environment, heath, hunger and poverty, animals, arts and culture, and peace and human rights.

12. Sparked

Sparked is an online-only volunteer network that incorporates crowdsourcing principles to bring talented individuals together in support of non-profits.

For Donors: Instead of donating money, you're giving time and in-kind contributions. And if you have a spare moment, Sparked will help you fill it. You provide the site with your specific skills, such as copywriting or graphic design. Specify what types of causes interest you such as environmental or health. You'll then start receiving requests from the site to help non-profits on relevant projects such as developing copy and designing a new direct mail piece for a conversation project.

For Non-profits: Any non-profit can create a profile specifying their sector and needs. They can then post challenges that are distributed to the vast volunteer network. Note that this site does not provide fundraising tools.