Before I was a writer, I worked as a fundraiser for 10 years. Whether I was calling university alumni for their annual gifts or writing grants for water wells in Africa, I never imagined I would draw upon this experience to help fund the expansion of my family.
Many families conduct fundraisers to offset the cost of adoption. I have compiled some of the more effective ideas I’ve seen in addition to some lessons learned from my former career.
- First, create a blog and add a donate button to make it easy for others to support you. Friends, family, and even strangers will often lend their support. Advertise your blog on social media, with business cards, on t-shirts, or even through your church’s Sunday bulletin. And while you’re at it, make that donate button red. Studies show this generates 20 percent higher revenue.
- You can create and sell t-shirts, wearables, and other consumables to help spread the word. Remember to create a look or theme that has mass appeal. Offer items at a variety of price points. And to avoid getting stuck with a garage full of unsold t-shirts, you might consider an affiliate program, through which you get a portion of sales when your friends buy someone else’s designs.
- Have a garage/yard sale. If people know you’re doing it to fund an adoption, they tend to be more generous. Also, ask your friends to contribute their unwanted goods to your sale. And if you have items of real value, consider auctioning those items online or at a specific time during your sale (to draw a crowd).
- Put your talents to use! Are you good at graphic design? Try freelance. Are you a great baker? Consider adding your artisan chocolates or cupcakes to your blog shop. Do you sew? Consider making unique quilts or crib bedding and selling them on a craft website.
- Go without. I’m not just suggesting you give up frequent haircuts or expanded cable. Tell your family that you don’t want birthday or Christmas presents, and encourage them to donate (anonymously even) through your blog.
- Let people be a part of your child’s life by sponsoring toys. Ask people to buy a puzzle piece or a wooden block. As you “sell” a toy, offer to write a message on the donor’s piece.
- Send out birth announcements…early. “Somewhere, a child is being born that needs a family. We intend to be that family. Please consider supporting our adoption.”
Just as fundraising is marketing, always be mindful of your messaging. Be personal, but don’t divulge details of your child’s story that you should keep private. People love to support good causes, especially when they know their contributions matter. Tell people how much you need to raise to provide a home or family to a child who needs one. Tell people what you’re doing to make it happen. And always, always send a handwritten thank you note.