At first glance, $30 - $50,000 looks like a LOT of money.
A year’s salary.
A life savings.
Something that takes years of diligence to set aside.
But while many of us wouldn’t blink at the thought of financing a truck or a minivan for that amount, the thought of spending this same amount of money to adopt a child seems to stop us in our tracks.
Although 25 percent of adults report that they’ve considered adoption (38 percent among Christians), only 2 percent have actually adopted, according to one 2013 Barna report.
Raising the needed funds is likely one of the biggest reasons for that 23 percent gap between interest and action.
In 2013, our family started our adoption process with the little money we’d set aside from Supersoldier’s most recent deployment, an emergency fund we drained (because a child living across the world without parents was, in our eyes, an emergency) and a whole lotta prayers that our big and all-providing God would come through in massive and unexpected ways to provide the rest. Because He had to. Because we had no other source. Because all our backyard money trees were barren, stripped and dead.
And time and time again, through the most unexpected ways and at the most necessary and urgent times, HE DID.
By God’s grace alone, two months after we returned home from China with the little boy we call Superman, we paid off EVERY LAST DIME of every single adoption and China travel expense.
And with some BIG FAITH and some WILLING HANDS, you can, too.
These are adoption fundraiser ideas straight from families who’ve raised the funds themselves. Some involve one-time sales, others involve weeks of investment. Some are ideas from families who’ve seen others successfully raise these funds. Many of these ideas have FULLY FUNDED entire adoptions and allowed these families to adopt without debt.
ALL of them have the potential to change a life … with just a little bit of work.
25 FAMILY-TESTED ADOPTION RAISERS
· Evaluate your current finances … and figure out places to trim. Pray about what can be eliminated or reduced — including that extra cell phone, the cable (do you really need every one of those channels?), the extra vehicle, the online subscriptions, the Netflix, the largest trash can size, the gym membership you never use, the gas station Cokes, etc. Investigate refinancing the house to secure a lower payment or carpooling with friends to reduce gas money.
· Stretch your current resources. If you don’t coupon, start. If you don’t price compare when grocery shopping, start. Pack lunches instead of purchasing them, and take coffee from home instead of stopping at Starbucks. Reduce your water usage at home and start turning off every unused light. Pennies make dollars, and every saved dollar counts when bringing home a child.
· Create a fundraising page. Pure Charity and You Caring are both sites that charge zero or minimal crowdfunding fees. Setting up a page on either site takes only about 10 minutes, and sites like these can serve as your home base to receive donations (especially those made via debit or credit card) throughout your process.
· Train for a race. Register for a run that challenges you to run farther than you have before. (Half marathons and full marathons are great options, and you can usually find one most any time of year within a few hours of your location by checking out websites like Active.com and others.) And then set up a fundraising site (or use the one you established above) where your friends and family can sponsor you by the mile ($5/completed mile, etc.). Set up milestones to encourage participation (Supersoldier had to wear a Superman outfit for all 26.2 miles of the race when we hit the $10,000 mark). Side benefit: You and your spouse get quality training time together amid the chaos of adoption paperwork.
· Or organize one. One family hosted an informal 5k for their youth minister. Students each scored sponsors and all participants ran a 5K as a group. Their small group raised $2,500 in one pop. This could be as formal and large-scale or as informal (running the marked-out mileage on the local running trail) as desired.
· Host an auction. Do it online (I posted my wedding dress to Ebay, and several families hosted auctions on Facebook or other social media) or in person. Some families organized auctions with entire garages full of new, donated items. Others created entire silent auction events in donated spaces (like church fellowship halls or VFW rooms) using homemade crafts and items from those in their community.
· Host a barbecue or spaghetti dinner. Ask a local venue, like a church, community center or fellowship hall, to donate the space. Rally friends and family to do the cooking and serving. Possibly even convince a local caterer or restaurant to donate the food! Then charge $25 to $50/ticket … and use the event as both a fundraiser AND an opportunity to share your adoption story.
· Sponsor contests. Charge $25/entry for a pie-eating contest you broadcast on Facebook Live. Or hold a chili cook-off where attendees vote for their favorite crock by dropping dollars in their favorite chili bucket.
· Hold a yard sale. Ask friends and family to use you as their personal Good Will drop-off location, or volunteer to pick up any items your friends no longer need. Volunteer to haul away leftovers from other people’s garage sales. Then organize a garage sale for one weekend in a high-traffic location. Our three garage sales using donated items from our friends and family earned us nearly $3,000 for our adoption. One adoptive family in the Of Capes and Combat Boots blog community reported that their family made $15,000 on a series of three garage sales! And it only cost them their blood, sweat and late-night pricing tears. (Tip from another adoptive family – ask donators to price their own items. This will save YOU many late-night hours of researching and doing it yourself. A good garage sale price is 1/5 of retail cost, except on high quality or in-demand items.)
· Host a camp. Love kids? Consider hosting a spring break camp in your home where parents can drop their kiddos during school recesses. Organize fun games and activities (they could even relate to adoption) for the week, and ask parents to pay by donation. One adoptive family earned more than $1,000 with their spring break camp.
· Clean or organize houses, cars and closets for donations.
· Offer errands by donation. Volunteer to chauffeur kids, run after-school pick-ups, drop dry cleaning, go grocery shopping or perform other daily or trivial tasks for a flat rate. Many busy families would LOVE to pay their friends to complete tasks that dominate their afternoons … especially when they know those funds are going to a cause like adoption.
· Give lessons. Utilize those talents and hobbies! Are you a great photographer? Set up tutoring sessions for those who want to learn. Great with makeup? One esthetician held a Friday night party to give make-up application lessons. Anything you know how to do well, OTHERS may want to LEARN to do well. Offer lessons by flat rate or by donation.
· Use your skills to make items you can sell. One family carved and painted homemade nativity scenes. Another sewed superhero capes. Others have knitted blankets, made pallet signs and created beautiful decorations for the home, all of which they sold in person and on sites like Etsy.
· Sponsor a Decorate-a-Star campaign. One family raised $5,000 by allowing their friends and family to “purchase” and decorate stars that they then used to decorate their new child’s room. This could be done with any item or any theme for a child’s new room and serves not only to raise money but also to remind the child how much he is loved.
· Assemble a puzzle. Design a 250- or 500-piece puzzle using your child’s photo or a meaningful graphic or design. (Online companies like Shutterfly and Zazzle can create picture puzzles for you.) Then sell each puzzle piece for $20. Write the name of each sponsor on the back of each puzzle piece. One adoptive family sold pieces of a 500-piece puzzle for $20 each and raised $10,000!
· Bake. DJ’s new mama used her gift of baking to make huge pans of fudge and homemade cinnamon rolls. She sold them at profit around Thanksgiving and Christmas, just in time for big family gatherings and holiday office parties.
· Host home parties. Have friends who sell Thirty-One, Party Lite, LuLaRoe, Jamberry, Tupperware, Young Living or almost any other item you can imagine? Many organizations have a give-back program which allows consultants to hold parties for charity. Many consultants are also willing to donate their commission from a single party for a good cause, especially for a great friend.
· Try Cards for a Cause through Usborne. You earn 40 percent of each box of cards sold. There is a minimum of 15 boxes to sell, which nets a family about $200.
· Do Noonday! If you are homestudy complete, you can use Noonday Collection to receive 10 percent of sales. One family earned $250 from this fundraiser while simultaneously supporting sustainable income for families around the world.
· Host a Cash4Shooz fundraiser. Ask friends and family to donate unwanted clothing and shoes and get paid by the pound for their collection! Minimums apply.
· Bust out some creative ideas from those elementary school fundraisers or those Army FRG fundraising days! Host a truck pull, where teams of people compete to pull a large vehicle by a rope … and see which team can pull their vehicle farther. Or run a flamingo campaign, where flocks of flamingos travel from yard to yard and the home owner has to donate to have them removed … and sent to a location of his choice. One 4-year-old drew pictures of why helping her favorite cause was important and then went door to door giving a speech about why her project mattered. She sold her drawings to speech listeners and earned $300 in the process.
· Apply for scholarships. Show Hope (Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman's ministry), Abba Fund, LifeSong and many others offer scholarships to adoptive families. Ask your agency for a list of scholarships they recommend.
For more ideas, check out the book You Can Adopt Without Debt, which is endorsed by the man who put our family on the all-cash envelope system, Dave Ramsey.
Author and researcher Brene Brown says you can have courage or you can have comfort, but you can’t have both.
I pray that as we begin to stand up for superheroes-in-waiting, THEIR CARE becomes a greater impetus than OUR COMFORT. And that we can conjure up the COURAGE to step out in faith … and watch God MOVE MOUNTAINS and CHANGE LIVES.