Sunday, August 17, 2008

Answering Questions on Fundraising for Adoption

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 adopting a child. 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.

Best Regards,


1 comment:

Mike and Christie said...

Steve, excellent post. It is such a strange feeling being on the receiving end of donations. BUT... as you said, if you know what the Lord wants you to do, and you can do no other, it goes from being an uncomfortable feeling of "wow, poeple are giving us money", "God has moved on the hearts of others to partner with us in bringing a child home, and the ONLY WAY this can happen will be an absolute miracle!" And that is how it was with us. And here we go again, headed to Ukraine next month, and most of our expenses are being covered. It is AMAZING. We are praying that this fact finding trip will aide us in how best to help over there, as it appears the door of international adoption in Ukraine, may be closing very soon. It breaks my heart, but God will open a window. He will not abandon the orphan. I am excited about what He has in store and what our involvement will be.

There have been very few children adopted from Ukraine into America since ya'll came home with your boys. (In my limited understanding of things) I would venture to say that Vitali may be the last and youngest healthy child I know of.

I think special needs kids may always be available, but many people are afraid of the medical expenses.
To them I will say, "GOD PROVIDES!"
And they are in just as much need of homes as any other child.
Their demise can be pretty sad if left in Ukraine or EE. Once a few tweaks are done over here, either surgery, a wheel chair, new feet, learning to walk etc..... they are just like any other kid. It just takes a few extra minutes to add the right body parts, a little extra laundry, a few extra appts. here and there. But you get to meet the most wonderful people who are committed to making children's lives as normal as possible. The blessing are immense, and for us, we wouldn't change a thing. God has put us right where he wants us, and that is where we SHOULD want to be. :)