Two friends asked me about raising funds for an adoption in the space of one week, so I thought I should post because it is such a great question and one of the major obstacles for adoption. I had originally intended to do a blog series, but I started it right after returning from Ethiopia, and well… life got busy! haha So, here are my tips and opinions for raising money for an adoption.
- START A BLOG!! People love to follow an exciting journey and bringing a child home is super exciting! Blog about your adoption process, even if you’re just in the “praying about it” stage. Add a little paypal “donate” button to your blog. I was blown away by how many people gave toward our adoption through that little button. Literally thousands of dollars came through that button.
- Have a yard sale. We all have things that are in our attics, garages, and closets that we don’t use or need. Get rid of it! Ask your neighbors, church friends, co-workers, ect. if they have things they want to get rid of. You’ll be amazed at the amount of stuff people have that they are aching to give away. If you don’t sell most of your items in one sale – have another one the following weekend.
- Sell handmade items. Are you crafty? A gifted seamstress? Good at graphic design? Use your talents to help raise funds. A group of ladies from church all got together with me and we crafted up a storm for a few weeks and had a church craft sale. They made hand stamped greeting cards and I quilted Christmas stockings, coasters, made ornaments, ect… It was a huge success! Beyond a one time craft sale – start an online shop through Etsy or Big cartel! Sell your handmade goodies there and make sure to prominently advertise that all profit is going toward your adoption! People love buying for a cause! Here are examples of online stores that adopting mamas started to raise funds: Poppy Dip, Flitterbugs, Ahni Art… and I had my own hair accessory store Poppie Lane for awhile!
- Have an online auction. I didn’t personal do this, but have donated items to many other families. Pick a week for the auction and then contact as many shop owners/crafty people you know. Ask for donations for your auction… Etsy is a great place to look for shops that will donate. Also ask friends and family – they might purchase some goodies at the store for you to auction off. Don’t be afraid to contact companies either – you’ll be surprised how generous they can be. Then, advertise all the way leading up to your auction with little teasers of what will be available. For the actual auction – make a blog post for each item you’re auctioning with pictures and a starting bid price. Then people comment on the item they want with their bid and at the end of the week the highest bidder wins, pays, and sends you their address. You forward their address to the person how donated that item and they ship it off for you. Paypal is a must for this to keep things simple.
- Leaves of Love fundraising trees are awesome too! This shop tells these adorable “family tree” paintings that are left without leaves… the leaves are the fundraising! Here is how it works (taken from their site): A letter writing campaign. First, take a picture of your naked tree. Then, in a big, bold, colorful font at the top of your letter write the slogan of your campaign. Maybe it will be:
- “Leaf” a sign of love for our future little one.
- Help! Our tree is NAKED!
- We have fall-en in love with a baby halfway across the world.
- The Smith family is blossoming and we need your help!
- Would you like to be a part of our family tree?
- Then, lovingly explain your adoption and humbly ask for a donation, no matter how big or small.Explain that with each donation, you will add a thumbprint to the tree and sign their name. Keep it simple or make it even more creative by assigning ink colors to donation amounts. After receiving their donation, mail them a thank you with a picture of their “leaf” and name. Do you have a blog? Fabulous! Take pictures of your tree and sell leaves online. You can post a new picture of your tree each month to show your readers how your tree is growing and encourage them to take part! Get your church involved! Find a secure place to leave your tree and a piggy bank. Or, bring it with you and place it in the lobby or fellowship hall each Sunday morning or Wednesday night. Make an announcement about your tree. Advertise for it in the bulletin. Bring it to Sunday school classes. Invite members of your church to make donations and leave their fingerprints. Here’s a fun twist: ask them to write their favorite bible verse by their fingerprint. Incorporate the tree into all your other fundraising efforts. Place a print on your tree for every t-shirt or coffee bag you sell. Set it on a table when you have a bake sale, garage sale, or benefit concert. Add prints for online auction bidders, necklaces sold, or socks knitted. The sky is the limit!
- Apply for Grants!! I can’t recommend this one enough! This is the one thing I would do differently if I had it to do all over again. We only applied for one – I would have applied everywhere if I could start over! Show Hope is the grant organization that we applied to and they award families an average of $3,000-$4,000! Research adoption grants and apply to all of them – it’s FREE money!
- Sell fundraising items. There are so many companies that sell things in bulk for a wholesale price to adopting families. You can them sell things individually for a higher price and make some good money. Here are some suggestions: >>Sell coffee! Just Love Coffee gives $5 for every bag sold through your family! >>T shirts and other apparel. You can make your own t shirt design and take pre-orders then only order the number you’ve sold (so you don’t end up losing money on a bunch of unsold t shirts). OR you can partner with companies who already have shirts made. 147 Million Orphans and Ordinary Hero are two fantastic non-profits to partner with for this fundraising adventure!
- Re-think your standard of living. We live in the land of excess. We have so much and we are used to having just about anything we want. Consider going on a “material wealth fast” during your adoption process. Only buy what is absolutely necessary. Curb your dining out. Consider what you really need before buying more clothes and shop in the clearance section. Think about forgoing an expensive family vacation in an effort to grow your family. Consider getting rid of cable TV, or any other bill that’s not necessary. I know a mom who didn’t cut her hair for the entire adoption process. She saved a lot of money not going to the salon every 12 weeks! Put the money you save in your adoption savings account. It’s a great lesson in discipline, adds to your funds, but also shows just how much we really do have and what we can in fact live without. So many around the world live in extreme poverty. Whenever we wish to have something more, lets not only use it as an opportunity to save money but to remember our brothers and sisters in need… and pray for them.
- PRAYER! Honestly, this is the most important part of gathering funds for an adoption. Prayer. God cares deeply about the plight of the orphan and he wants them set in families even more than we do. He is faithful to provide… he WILL provide. Pray continuously.
Don’t ever let money be the one thing to stand in the way of your adoption! It is so possible to raise every cent needed for an adoption – we did! We know many other families who also had to raise all their funds. We’re not talking small potatoes either – our adoption cost $30,000! Most international adoptions do and domestic adoptions aren’t a whole lot cheaper. It can be done!! Persistence, prayer, creativity, dedication, energy, and devoted love are key… but it can be done… by God alone working through his people! There are millions of orphans in the world who need loving families. They don’t need rich families, they don’t need families with all the latest gadgets and trends and big houses… they need families with love. Will yours be that family? I hope so! Watch the two short videos below for a new perspective.