There are books out there that will share detailed collaborative lists that other adoptive moms have pulled together to create. There are blogs, too. But, I’m going to give you a rundown on what WORKS. Not what worked for that one girl that one time in that one place that you heard about on TV. Not what everyone does that’ll actually make your family zilch. Not what your neighbor’s sister’s dog groomer’s best friend’s uncle did to adopt their kid.
Whether you have $500 to raise, or $50,000, don’t let money stand in the way of bringing your baby home. Let’s do this. Together. Here are five ways to make your adoption fundraiser event go smoothly.
1. Start a blog.
I started with an extremely personal (free) blog to let friends and family know what was happening throughout the process. The adoption journey can be long and tedious. There are so many times your outer circle may think you’re just sitting there doing squat, when in reality, you’re filling out the 100th financial worksheet for your adoption agency. So, start the blog. Share the mundane. Share photos of you buying your fire extinguisher for your home study tour. Share the stories of all the late nights you’ve stayed up watching required educational videos. Your blog will help you rally a network of support that will be able to come alongside of you in multiple ways. Your blog will help you explain your fundraiser concisely and will allow people to ask questions in an easy space. You can organize all your activities for your event there on your blog which will allow you to keep all your ducks in a row. Throwing a fundraising event can be overwhelming, but utilizing your blog to help keep yourself organized and in check will benefit you in the long run.
2. Get creative.
People respond well to fundraisers where they get something, so work those tangible fundraiser items into your big fundraiser event. People seem to have more success doing things that gave people something tangible in return for their donation. If you have a skill, use it. Make those jewelry pieces and sell them. Utilize Etsy and your social media connections to hit a wider audience. Bracelets always seem shinier when they’ll help bring a sweet baby home. Working these into your fundraiser event will help that event be more lucrative and more successful. You’ll bring in more cash and possibly more participants.
3. Manage the timing.
Know your timeline and make your fundraising work. Make sure to schedule your event at the time of year that will make you the most bang for your buck. Call for donations for your adoption fundraiser yard sale in March and April, then host the sale in May. You wouldn’t do well (and would freeze your sweet fanny off accidentally) doing this in November. If you have some downtime while you wait (because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of waiting), plan an online silent auction. We hosted ours on Facebook and made about $1,500. We did it in February one year—that was a slow time for us personally which allowed us to put a lot of time commitment into the auction. People shopped from the comfort of their snuggies at home, and we were able to pay off some serious international. Know your timeline and organize it well. Fundraisers that makes sense within the schedules of your donors will make a huge impact.
4. Don’t waste your time on silly ventures.
Not every fundraiser will fit your schedule, your family, or your circle of supporters. A dinner never worked for us. We had two biological kids while we were in process, so we just didn’t do it. Thankfully. Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to try and find a big enough location, bought and prepared all that food, to walk away with $200. We tried a poker tournament one year and ended up in the same boat. I spent weeks advertising, acquiring donated tables, snacks, and necessary items like cards and chips, finding a location, and organizing the night. We ended up with quite a few people, and all the participants had a ton of fun, but we walked away with $300. Sure, $300 is still $300, but it was weeks of work and didn’t even cover one fee entirely. We didn’t do it again. It was a one and done, lesson learned kind of deal. Be honest when it comes to figuring out who you are and who you know. Don’t try and sell flowers as a fundraiser if all of your family has allergies.
5. Have faith.
Adoption is not for the faint of heart. It takes persistence and passion to hang on until the ride stops (or just begins, really). Bringing your kid home is the opposite of implying your journey is over, and sometimes you just have to have faith. We fundraised half of our adoption through our blog and creative ideas when I couldn’t even sell a roll of wrapping paper in high school for our chorus field trip. It’s hard, but it’s possible. Love your family, wherever they may be, and keep on keepin’ on. Do not worry about tomorrow; the money will come some way or another. Just have faith.