We get a fair amount of email asking about fundraising for adoption. I often start to answer these and then got lost in day-to-day life and don't finish. I am going to try and answer more questions on a regular basis. I am also going to try and lose that 20 pounds I gained during the adoption. We will see how both of those work out!
I hope that those of you in the process of adopting get something from this.
Tips on Fundraising for adoption
#1 For us the process of adoption was a "spiritual" journey. I am not talking about the esoteric things you see on TV but of a knowledge so deep about what we needed to do. Our pastor has a saying "If you know your why, you can live with almost any how." We knew our "why" in such a concrete way that we were not going to let anything stand in the way; especially a lack of funds.
#2 When raising funds for adoption the "why" is very important. If the "why" is you this makes things very tough. Very few people want to help out white, middle income, American adults achieve a dream of . However, if that "why" is a lonely, lost child in a vile orphanage in Eastern Europe that faces a near certain untimely and unseemly demise, many people will be moved to action. For us our "why" was about changing three young children's entire earthly and potentially their eternal destinies.
#3 People are not DONORS! We talked about what our objectives in pursuing adoption were with anybody who would listen. We did this not in a way that expected them to open their wallet but in a way that we hoped they might see the need of 150,000,000 lost children and be moved to do something to help at least one. For us that did not necessarily mean partnering with us but more of making them aware of how deep and wide this problem is. There were many people who partnered with us financially and others who did not and that was fine. There are many good and worthy causes that are deserving of support and it is essential to realize this.
#4 Car washes, lawn sales, card sales, etc are not necessarily the best means for raising large amounts of funds but they show people that you are serious about funding your adoption. The goal for us in these type of fundraisers was to share the "why." There is a saying "God helps those who help themselves," this is theologically inaccurate but people do tend to help people who help themselves.
#5 We were totally sold on the idea. We cut every bit of fat from our budget. I shopped our insurance, we started using a gas rebate card and paid it off every month but saved the rebate, etc, etc. We had already saved a fair amount of our own money for this endeavor. We changed our lifestyle and cut out most of the recreational activities like going out to eat, movies, etc. (not all, but most.) These things helped prove to those around us that we were serious about what we were doing.
#6 We used a regular website for fundraising and not a blog to share our main objectives and had a fundraising thermometer on the site. One of the most important fundraising tools was this prayer card. We had 1,000 printed up and gave them out freely. This card was very, very important to the successful funding of our sons' adoption.
#7 The greatest percentage of our fundraising monies were direct monetary contributions. We were given small to very large gifts from several individuals. When you are looking at a direct budget of ~$40,000 plus the cost of accommodating three more children and up to two months of lost income; the costs were staggering.
In the end, we had saved out of our own pockets enough to cover all the lost income, make the necessary improvements to our home, purchase a larger vehicle and pay for a significant amount of the adoption costs. Different family members, my customers, church members, friends and even strangers gave generously. Since we have been home others have given even more that has been used to help pay for medical expenses, etc.
As you can see the success in fundraising for our sons' adoption came from individuals who chose to invest in us as parents for three young children. I cannot stress this enough; fundraising for adoption is not a technique! Techniques are cheap and manipulative. Absolute genuineness is required for a successful fundraising effort. For us, the words of Martin Luther summed up our hearts desire best, "God help me, here I stand, I can do no other." There were no outs, we were "all in" and fully committed.
I hope some of these ideas might help.