Thursday, March 3, 2016

10 Adoption Fundraising Tips

1. Fundraising is NOT your first line of defense.
For a lot of prospective adoptive parents this is their first step on how to pay for their adoption. Fundraising shouldn't be the first means of raising money for a great cause. Alright, I think I just lost some friends over this post already and we're only in sentence 3! As a family who has gone through the adoption process, when we give to someone's adoption we want to see good effort that they are doing everything that they can to save for their adoption. I'm also talking about taking up second jobs and doing tasks on the weekend to help bring in more money besides their 9-5 job (babysitting, dogwalking, house cleaning, Uber/Lift, teaching English online, etc...) Fundraising shouldn't be your "Plan A" on how to pay for your adoption, although it can be a part of the plan.

2. Expecting to NOT MAKE sacrifices in your own budget is a terrible mistake.
This tip goes along with tip #1. There's nothing worse than giving to someone for their "great cause" and then see their Facebook profile blow up with their constant eating out, taking trips, shopping, etc... In my personal experience, I have seen adoptive couples ask, almost begging, for money and then the next day they are planning a vacation to the beach, mountains, or Disney World. I do not like this and maybe it's because my family made huge sacrifices to bring home Smalls and I kind of expect others to make similar sacrifices for their adoption goals. People who donate to your adoption campaign should see you making sacrifices. I want to hear about a crazy way you've saved an extra $100 this month.

3. Don't ask the same people to continually give towards your adoption. It's distasteful and rude.
Yea, you felt called to adopt but your friends don't. So they want to support you and be a part of orphan care. You asked your friends to give you all of their unwanted items for your garage sale. They graciously do. The next month you launch your online coffee business and your friends buy a couple bags of your expensive coffee. And then the next go around, you are asking them to participate in your pancake breakfast fundraiser. Geez...soon the well you keep tapping into is going to dry up!

Spread out your fundraising efforts among your friends, neighborhood, or town. This tip kind of goes with tip #1. It's better to offer services to people to help save money for your adoption so you won't come across as a beggar to your community. Here are some examples of services you could provide that can reach different people so you won't keep tapping into the same well: babysitting, party planning, yard work, errand running, house cleaning, house sitting, baking cookies or goods to sell around holidays, pet sitting, or dog walking. In addition to those odds and ends, do you have a skill? Accounting: help people file their taxes on the weekends. Lawyer: notarize documents on the weekends. Nurse: teach basic first aid to mommy groups or get certified as a CPR trainer and train people in your community on CPR (local doctor's offices are always looking for opportunities for their employers to maintain their CPR certifications). Stay at home mom: Since you are already doing the carpool thing, see if you can add a couple of kids to your car for a small fee. You could probably even babysit till parents get off of work. Artist: set up an Etsy shop, go to craft fairs, let local churches know of your talent (they always need someone to paint a huge mural for VBS).

Reaching multiple people will make you the most money rather than reaching the same people for every fundraising event. And you won't lose any friends over it!

4. You don't have to start the adoption process first, then start saving money for your adoption.
This is a common myth. If you are concerned about the financial responsibility of adopting, save at least half of the money first, then apply to your adoption agency. Now you are half way to your adoption goal! It takes patience and dedication to save up lots of money. I can hear this now "it would take us years and years to save up that amount and we would never get to adopt". NOT TRUE. So, not true! Yes, you can. Is it hard? Absolutely. Will it be easy? Nope, sure not. Is it worth it? Absolutely! During the adoption process, you have to take days and days off from work to send documents to various people. You will be missing out on some of your paycheck or taking up your vacation hours that you should be saving for the adoption. Another bonus of saving first, then adopting is that you don't have to focus on the money during the adoption process. You can just focus on the child you are going to adopt. There's no "oh, the agency needs ANOTHER $2000 to send this paperwork off. Where's that money coming from?". Having saved up the majority of your adoption expenses is a great way to relieve some of the stress that adopting a child can bring.

SNL: Don't Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford from Credit Abuse Resistance Educaton on Vimeo.

5. You expect to fundraise 100% of your adoption cost. WRONG!
You felt called to adopt, but you don't feel called to have the burden of paying for it. Yes, you should pay for it. If you've signed adoption papers, then you've entered into an agreement with the agency that you (not others) will be responsible for this account. Just because you are adopting and it's a great cause doesn't mean that you can pass the financial responsibility onto someone else. You chose to adopt and adoption costs lots of money. Please tell me you knew that before signing up to adopt. Building your family has financial consequences whether it's through birth, foster care, or adoption. Having the expectation that your adoption will be free will cause you some heartache later on in the process.

Definitely fundraise for your adoption! I am not saying to NOT FUNDRAISE. Be mindful of the risks that you are taking when you sign that adoption contract with your agency. Financially, you will be liable for costs associated. There's nothing worse than knowing an adoptive couple who can't complete their adoption because of money and then having to spend more money to restart it. And trust me, I know several couples who that has happened to and it wasn't a fun thing to watch!

6. You expect to pay 100% of your adoption cost all by yourself. (maybe if you're a millionaire?)
This is a wrong view too. Here is a blog post that I found that hold's this view on adoption fundraising. I'm not necessarily a fan of this view because I think it is too extreme. I'm all for a healthy balance when it comes to fundraising.Your friends do want to help you out. If you announced that you were having a baby, your friends will want to help you with showers and such. Adoption is a great cause and not every one can adopt. Adopting is also different than getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. There are really, really expensive costs associated with adoptions.

People do want to help you. I have a friend who isn't in a place to adopt right now, but has the desire to help those who want too. She will help out with fundraisers and publicize events. It brings her joy to help those who want to adopt. I am thankful for people like that. We need each other and saying no to those who want to help is doing a disservice to us and to those who want to help out. You are not put on planet earth to live all by yourself. We have members in the community who can and will help your fundraising efforts.

7. Please don't post on social media EVERY SINGLE DAY about how much money you need to raise for your adoption.
Too much advertising can be a bad thing when it comes to raising money for your great cause. You want a lot of followers on your social media accounts and you want to keep adding followers to your accounts, but you do not want to lose followers! I have unfollowed friends on social media who repetitively post ridiculous stuff. If you keep posting the same spill, you might come off as a beggar and that is the last thing that you'd want for your adoption campaign.

8. Offer a service as a fundraiser.
With sites like and, fundraising can be a very passive way to get money for your adoption. It's not a bad thing, but it shouldn't be your only source for raising money. It bothers me to see adoptive families only fundraise this way and then complain that they aren't getting a lot of money for their adoption. People like to receive services when they donate money. I would much rather give $100 to an adoption couple if they host a BBQ, pancake breakfast, silent auction, dinner and movie, etc... Having actual fundraisers will give you lots more donations to your adoption campaign, unless if you have some rich aunt that likes to give out $10,000.

9. Don't have 5 fundraisers in one month and expect everyone to participate in all of them.
This great tip was given to me by Cat at Spread them out over the course of 6 months to a year. You want to have the most people attending your fundraisers. The more people that attend, the more money you could potentially get donated to your adoption campaign. Your friends do want to help you out, but they can't commit to a bunch of fundraisers in a month. They have lives too!

10. Don't forget the thank you notes.
Be thankful to those who've helped you raise money for your adoption. Tell them how much you appreciated their hard work and money donated to you. You can keep a ledger of all of the money donated to you in a notebook and when you mail out the thank you note you can cross that person off the list.

Do you have any tips to share about fundraising?

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