Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Money & Adoption - Part 4

 Methods of Fundraising
I gave the disclaimer last time that I am not a financial professional (my husband is probably snickering), really I am about the farthest thing from it. I struggle in this area and really avoid it in all ways. Perhaps that is what gives some of my ideas some stability, because if someone as lousy as I could try to fund raise for an adoption and get through it ok, others can too! Haha!

I think there are many ways to fund an adoption but here are the ones I know the most about…

Traditional Adoption Fundraising –
This would look like starting a blog for the means of getting publicity and to fund raise. You would share your story, try to emotionally touch people, have a little ticker on how much more you need, and a paypal donate button. You’d make an adoption video to plug your family and publicize your adoption. You’d share all the stats you could on the situation your child is coming from. You’d post these everywhere and try to get as many people to view it as possible. You could make a tee shirt with a sweet slogan and sell it for $20 or $30 dollars, or a bracelet or a bumper sticker, etc…

You could host events:
- a family movie night
- a poker night
- a dinner, or sharing a night at a local restaurant
- a benefit concert
- garage sales
- a zumba (or other exercise craze) night at a local gym.
- a run, bike race or athletic event (or ask others to participate in it with sponsors)
- a raffle off items you've had donated with people buying raffle tickets for a set amount (ipads, kindles, jewelry, gift cards).
- a holiday shopping bazaar with donated crafts, items from your child’s country, etc…

 You could sell items:
- coffee
- jewelry
- children’s items
- tee shirts
- books

You could sell symbolic milestones in your adoption fundraising... (ask for donors or sponsors in those milestones):
- You could sell squares to a quilt for your child, each square costing a set amount with the donors name.
- You could sell puzzle pieces that you'd write the name of the donor on and mount and frame later.
- You could sell theoretic miles to getting your child home... every 10 miles costing x amount.

I believe all of these methods DO work, (I have heard many be very successful using this method…) but I think it is only successful for a time.


I think that eventually people get “mercy fatigue”; they tend to grow weary of hearing about your needs or even become a bit cynical and jaded about it. I even get tired of people promoting their wares or goods or personal business on various sites, as they post them over and over and over… ad nauseam! This sort of fundraising can also lead to people that aren’t in favor of adoption fundraising to be very critical about your other choices and to question your stewardship.

Just consider this, as you do traditional adoption fundraising… don’t over do it. 
I think that is the vital error or most traditional adoption fundraisers!

Business Based Fundraising –
This is the concept of supply and demand… if you make something or sell something of daily, practical or desired value you will undoubtedly make money to which you can just use the profit to put towards your adoption.

Really the idea for things you could make or sell as services are endless! I witnessed a woman sell her graphic and blog design skills and do well! Others make children’s goods (hair bands, creams, clothing, etc…), do photography or make jewelry. I’ve heard of people offering to babysit, clean house, and detail cars. I, personally, sold 2 different books (my Advent book and one for children that was an English/Luganda picture dictionary) and also made jewelry for sale. Like I said in past posts it helped us, but it didn’t fully fund our adoption either.

I think the key is not to say… “What can I make a quick load of money on?” and go and try to do that… but to say, “What am I gifted at and enjoy?” and go do it and use any money that is made off of it to help you. Why? Because unless you are already intending on starting a business or have a high amount of time on your hands, this will need to become a full fledged business in order to net the amount of money you will need to fully fund your child’s adoption. That is a lot of work when you are also trying not loose it during the chaos that adoption adds to your life!

UnFundraising –
This became our method (after failing miserably at “business based fundraising” and periodic attempts at “traditional adoption fundraising”). How it worked… we shared our life, how God was working in and through us in the adoption and left an open door to whoever would want to participate along side us. We prayed and told God about our needs and asked for His help. 

That is it.

Some how it worked… I feel slightly apprehensive even calling it a “method of fundraising,” because really that should be how life is for those of us in the Body of Christ, right?

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47

This is how others in the past, like George Muller, operated and it worked for them too. It works because we have a God who works in people, to unify them and to take what is really His and to give it to His people. God wants to be given glory for placing children in families where they will learn about Him and grow up in love and security. God want to be given glory for the good things He does! That is how it works.

Modes of Sharing About Your Needs

If any of my children were separated from me the first thing I would do is share with every friend, face to face, on the phone and through the Internet telling them how they could help us!  My husband has written a staff Fundraising Manual to help our summer and year round staff to fund raise in a Biblical and effective model. One thing I found interesting, but not surprising was; the importance of the mode of sharing about your needs, and the modes that are statistically MOST effective in getting others to join with you as you raise money.

The statistics below describe the way in which a person asks for a "partner," or someone who will give on a regular basis to your needs. The number is the percentage of time that approach succeeded in creating a new supporter:

*One-on-One discussion - 90%
*Small Group - 75%
*Large Group - 60%
*Phone Call - 30%
*Personal Letter - 7%
*Personal email - 3%
*Newsletter - 1%

I think it is clear that the media driven forms are vastly less effective, while people hearing, seeing, knowing your story and your need and desire to get your child home is much more impactful when shared person to person!

Some people ARE impacted via blogs, emails, newsletters and Social Networks,  (and this should and can be used) but I find most of the story you are trying to share will be lost in junk mail, visual overload and among all the more appealing stories of the day.

Early in our adoption fundraising journey we had a benefit concert hosted on our behalf, I don’t think people gave because of the concert but because we stood up and shared about our kids, our love for them and humbly asked others to partner with us in getting them home. It was hard to do that, but it also solidified in my heart why we were participating in adoption, I fumbled and stuttered, but shared my heart for the first time publicly… and God was faithful and helped us bring in some money!

Other Ways to Fund an Adoption
Lastly, there are other ways to fund adoptions. We tried and have participating in several of these (tax returns, grants, contemplated loans).

Federal tax returns
Loans (some offer low or no interest loans to adopters)
Family Loans or loans from private individuals or churches

Some Things to Consider
- One thing we always knew would be our last resort was to “cash out” our investments (which is our retirement) and use it, with the understanding that if all worked out right we’d get it back (or most of it) through the Federal Adoption Tax Credit.
- We also knew that if for some reason we weren’t able to finalize before the end of 2011 that we’d not be benefited by this credit because it would no longer be a “refundable” tax… which for our income we don’t often pay out of taxes, so that is a problem others might face in the future unfortunately if they have a low income with higher deductions, like us.
- Some people feel that loans are not something God would ask us to do… you must study and decide for yourself on that. I felt all along that God would be able to give us what we needed as we needed it. It was highly uncomfortable, but well worth it not to have to sign with even a low cost or no interest loan company.

Do Not Be Anxious
Over all, realize this isn’t about YOU and your abilities, strategies or modes. This is about a God who desires to hear you, answer you, and provide for you and your potential child… to bring ultimate glory to Himself! Hand if over to Him, work and do the next thing. Remember that this isn’t something you can control. He will supply what you need through various means, but the glory still belongs all to Him.

Matthew 6:31-32
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

Philippians 4:19
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

1 comment:

Dave said...

Marci, Thank you for sharing your story and being faithful and honest with me and your other readers. My wife came across your blog last night and emailed me the link while I was at work today. I have been encouraged and reaffirmed that the international adoption journey we are personally just embarking on is not ONLY of our loving Father's design but ALSO in his control. Blessings to you and your family all the way from Central Maine!