Fundraising Ideas

I know that cost is a major hurdle when considering adoption. Gwen Oatsvall from 147 Million Orphans once said that “God funds what he favors, and He favors adoption”. If you have felt the call to adopt, please do not let the cost deter you. He will provide.

I have compiled a list of fundraising ideas, many of which we did ourselves. I am happy to answer any questions you have or talk to you about the specifics of what we did, what worked, and what didn’t work.

Start a blog! – This is a great place to tell your supporters about your family and your adoption journey. You can create a donate button through PayPal so that people can contribute towards your adoption online.
Write a letter -  There are some great resources online for how to write a fundraising letter. In you letter, write about your adoption, what led you to it, where you are in the process, and how others can help in your efforts.
Baby bottle fundraiser – Take old baby bottles and ask friends, family, co-workers, and your church to use spare change to fill the bottle. We raised an average of $15 to $20 per bottle.
Benefit concert – Ask local artists, talented friends, or church worship leaders to perform at a concert. Charge per ticket or ask for donations at the door.
Host a dinner – Call local places to see if you can get food donated or ask friends, family, and your church to make items for a potluck style dinner.
Silent auction - We called every local place we could think of to ask for donations. It was time consuming, but worth the effort! Also, ask friends who sew, paint, and craft if they would donate items.
Note: In my opinion, it is best to combine either the dinner or concert with the silent auction. They work well together and the auction tends to bring in more money than ticket sales.
Yard sale – Talk to friends, family, neighbors, and your church, about donating items. Try to have it the same day as your neighborhood sale so that there will be more foot traffic.
Sell t-shirts – You can design your own or sell ones already made by an organization (147 Million Orphans, Simply Love). You can find more by searching online.
Golf tournament – Call local golf courses and ask if they would give you a discounted rate for a fundraiser. Get a group of golfers together, charge a fee per head, and provide 18 holes of golf and lunch.
Parent’s night out – Use your church’s nursery to host a parent’s night out. We found a local place to donate pizza for dinner, had a time frame of 5:00pm – 9:00pm and asked that parents leave a donation for the evening. We found several other volunteers to help baby-sit. It made for a fun and easy fundraiser!
5k and family run/walk – Organize a fun run. Charge per family or per participant.
Toy/Clothes swap – You can do this with adult clothes, kids clothes and/or toys. Get a group of (normally women) friends together and ask each person to bring old clothes and toys. You can charge and entry fee or just ask for donations. Lay out the items by category, set a “shopping time”, and let each person take what they want/need. I love this idea because it allows the people coming to get rid of old items and receive new ones without the price tag.
Photography – Are you, your spouse, or a friend talented at photography? Pick a couple of days, schedule sessions, and charge a fixed amount for sitting fee and a CD with images.
Fundraising nights - Check with local restaurants and other businesses to see if they will donate a portion of sales for an evening.(Nashville area – Sweet CeCe’s, Puffy Muffin, Chick-fil-A, Brusters, Franklin Mercantile, Premier Jewelery, Nashville Sounds). 
Movie on the lawn -  Host a movie night for your neighborhood. Sell popcorn, candy, and drinks and take donations for the evening.
Apply for grants – Lifesong, Show Hope, Abba Fund – all you need to do is search for adoption grants and you can find TONS. Decide on a few that best suits you and apply away!
*Tips for fundraising*
  • Plan it out (at least if you are type A like myself) – I find that it helps to ease the initial overwhelming feeling that you are bound to have if you have a plan. Before we began our process, we sat down, looked at the cost, planned out fundraisers, the timing and the approximate amount we hoped to raise. I have to say that how we rose the money was different than our plan, but that’s kind of how God rolls. It’s a little too easy to take control and credit when things go our way.
  • Try and target different groups of people, you don’t want to ask the same group of people over and over for support. We had fundraisers for different groups of friends and one was held out of town at my parent’s church.
  • Ask for help!!! Do you have a friend who has done fundraising before who might come along beside you in planning an event? You might be surprised by someone who volunteers to organize an event for you. But you will never know if you do not ask. We found that people where more than willing to help, we just had to ask.
  • Make it fun! Provide appetizers and drinks when possible. Find someone who loves adoption to tell their story at one of your events.
Fundraising is one of the most humbling things I have ever had to do. I am not good at asking others for help. But I will tell you this; we have been so blessed by the outpouring of support, God has used so many to lift us up and donate towards the cost of our adoption. It has been pretty awesome thing to see!