Graph of the Week: The Exponential Rise of DonorsChoose

Graph of the Week: The Exponential Rise of DonorsChoose

Every company wants it, but few can attain it: Exponential growth. While many companies may double their users or revenue off of a small base, few can continue this trend over time, especially in edtech. And even when a company does double its revenue, has it done good for society at the same time?

Enter DonorsChoose. Luckily for us, the donation-based education crowdfunding site makes much of its data available for edtech data geeks to sort through. 

In 2014, DonorsChoose brought in nearly 200 times more donations than in 2002. That's a doubling of total yearly donations not once or twice, but seven times. In that year, the company received just over $300,000 in donations through its platform; in 2014, through November, it had collected more than $58.6 million. (See upper left graph below. Note that this data shows donations received for completed projects only.)

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We also graphed how that money breaks down among DonorsChoose’s seven focus areas (see pie charts). It’s no surprise that the “Literacy & Language” and “Math & Science” categories have take big chunks of the total both today and in 2002. The largest change comes from “Applied Learning,” which accounted for a quarter of all donations in 2002, but just 6% today. This category includes subjects like early development, college prep, and extracurricular activities.

But totals tell only half of the story. What is truly impressive is DonorsChoose’s growth over time. Donations to the site have continued to grow at a fast clip, increasing 21% from 2013 to 2012, the last full year for which we have data (the 5% growth noted for 2014 will increase when the data for the rest of the year comes in.)

When you run the math, that’s a 49% compound annual growth rate over the past 12 years, all while helping teachers to provide a better classroom experience for their students. That’s growth and unambiguous societal good that many companies, edtech or not, will no doubt ogle with envy.

Note: Graph of the Week will be away for two weeks. See you again in April!

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