How to Afford Adoption was nearly a year in the making so I decided I should probably break it up a bit! In the first Affording Adoption Article I shared Money Saving Adoption Resources (Grants, Interest Free Loans, tax credits, and 50 ways to cut costs to save money for your adoption), now I want to focus on ways to generate income to use towards your adoption process. If you are looking for adoption fundraising ideas; this should really be a great start! Saving money is great but if you can make some money towards your adoption fees that is going to really help you Adopt Debt Free!
OK, so you decided you want to adopt and now you are panicking about how to pay for all that paperwork, lawyer stuff, and travel. Seriously don’t. You are going to have to work, but for the most part an adoption is not going to happen overnight.
Here are 25 adoption fundraising ideas for your adoption…..
1) Take on an extra job. I know this is obvious. My husband worked a little extra freelance and I worked odd jobs during both of our adoption processes. If you are planning on applying for a company check out this list of Employers that offer Adoption Benefits (my husband’s work offered a $2000 adoption benefit!) – make money with your paycheck and enjoy an adoption benefit! If you currently have a job that is taking up the max of your time and your employer does not offer an adoption benefit ask your employer if they are willing to consider adding it. The worst they can say is “No”. The link provided has information on how to approach your employer as well.
2) Have an Adoption Fundraising garage sale. This is by far the easiest of all fundraisers and if done correctly, it can generate a reasonable amount with no cost! Ask friends and family to donate what they would typically donate to a thrift store. Have a giant garage sale and all the money goes towards your adoption. This was our first fundraiser 7 years ago and it was the best! Keep it simple – we made a sign that said “all clothes $1” and “all kids books 50 cents” etc – itemizing all that stuff is tedious, it was all donated for free, and you don’t want any of it left over. We did 1/2 price after 11 am. Clear it all out as fast as possible!
3) This piggy backs on the “Adoption Fund” garage sale – take quality items to a resale or consignment shop first! We were floored by how many clothing items, toys, and furniture we were given as donations. A garage sale is quick but shoppers are looking for REALLY cheap (and they don’t care that it is a fundraiser for the most part). After a couple sales I realized taking items to a resale shop may yield a higher payout. Find a kid’s resale shop in your area and take anything in perfect shape to it (clothing, shoes, and toys). Many will offer credit or cash on the spot. I always took cash on the spot and deposited directly into our savings account. Find a women’s consignment shop for those nice women’s clothes, purses, and shoes that are donated too. Furniture can often be taken to an antique or consignment shop as well. Pre-selling this way clears out some things before the sale and typically will yield more money. It is totally worth the extra step.
4) List items the consignment shop won’t take on Craigslist. Many times you can’t get much for a TV or electronics at a garage sale but Craigslist you might find a great buyer! We sold an awesome bike for over $100 (it was donated from our friend who had recently lost her husband, it was his very expensive bike so $100 was a steal to the buyer but it was more than we would have gotten at a garage sale).
5) Ebay! This was pretty tedious, but if done correctly you can make a decent amount of money doing this too! I started by selling my kid’s gently pre-loved and outgrown clothes (I found that Gymboree, GAP, and Tea Collection did very well and typically sold for more than what I paid for them on clearance). I actually started seeing that certain areas of the country (and world) LOVED certain brands and they were willing to pay a reasonable amount of money for them. I would find awesome clearance sales at our local outlets and buy a bunch of the same item for a reasonable profit. It’s tedious and your office (or bedroom) will look like a store back room, but we put over $5,000 towards our adoption one year doing this – not too shabby! *bonus, I got to do huge binge shopping but it made me money instead of costing me money so that was kinda fun!*
6) Are you crafty? Sell on Etsy!
7) Are you a good photographer? Set up portrait mini sessions at a pretty place for either donations or a set reasonable price. I have a friend that started this as an adoption fundraising event and it became a full time flexible job! Maybe you aren’t a photographer but perhaps someone you know is. Maybe they would be willing to give you a portion of their proceeds if it is you rallying for customers? Maybe instead of photo sessions you can set up a reasonably priced workshop to teach parents tips and tricks on how to shoot better photos?
8) Just Love Coffee Roasters : We used this fundraiser towards our second adoption. We didn’t make a ton, but it doesn’t cost anything to set up. Just Love Coffee supports Ethiopian farmers with fair wage work, it supports children waiting for families in Ethiopia, and when your referrals buy coffee you get a portion donated. I think this an especially awesome fundraiser for a family adopting from Ethiopia, but anyone adopting can use it!
9) Adoption Bug : This is one of my facebook friend’s business, ministry, and passion. This also costs nothing to set up and when you make a referral sale you get a portion of the sales for your adoption!
10) Monetize your adoption blog! Our first adoption we did not have a blog (it was 7 years ago and blogs were still not really mainstream), we just emailed friends and family short updates. By the second adoption we did have an adoption blog and it was really helpful in keeping people updated. When you have an adoption blog it is easy to let people know about the adoption process and adoption fundraising you have going on, but you can also monetize your blog as well by allowing ads. You could allow several (for more money) or just one or two in not high visibility area. I will be honest, adding ads to your blog is not going to make a ton of money unless you get a lot of traffic. That being said – would you turn down a check for $100 every couple months? What if your blog is super slow and you only get one $100 check a year? You gonna turn down essentially free money just because it is tiny? I didn’t think so. Even if your traffic is modest you never know if and when you might end up going viral. Honestly, nothing I have written has ever gone ‘viral’ but my traffic increases weekly so it is nice to see my earnings climb ever so slightly every month. Google Adsense, Blogher, and Glam are all highly recommended ad sites and there are many more out there. Some have more rules than others. Google Adsense is easy enough for me and I make decent money every month, I honestly haven’t tried the others. Keep in mind to keep things legal you need to disclose somewhere on your blog that you are making money. Sample disclosure policy here. It’s literally breaking the law to not disclose this; a lot of people don’t but it is easy enough to keep things on the up and up.
11) Write a blog that is NOT about your adoption. I started San Diego Deals and Steals as a way to save money because we came home with a heap of debt after our first adoption and I wanted to find lots of things to entertain our kids for free. Turns out a blog about free and inexpensive things to do in San Diego is a nice little work at home Mommy job. I’m not saying to start a deal blog, but if you are passionate about deals you totally should. It doesn’t have to be a deal blog – what about fashion, cooking, sports, faith, really anything you are passionate about and can talk about. Do some research on blogging and how you can make money at it. Note – this will not make you rich. I mean, some people get rich at it, most don’t. Don’t create a blog JUST to make money, those are not sincere and it is hard to build a following, and a following is important. Make sure you blog about something you are interested in; if you build something cool, they will come.
12) Use Ebates.com when you have to shop online. We don’t do a lot of online shopping, but even just one hotel reservation or one holiday card order can add up. Ebates.com gives you money back on your online purchases. You get between 1% and 35% back in CASH depending on your purchases! A check is mailed to you quarterly. No minimums. No maximums. Even better – if you want to sign up through their blogger referral program you get bonuses for larger amounts of sign ups. When we were fundraising we made over $1000 just with referral cash and we also had our rebate cash from the few purchases we made. Easy peasy. *referral link included – you get a FREE $10 gift card to a store of your choice (Target, Starbucks, etc) we both get a bonus $5 if you sign up through my link! You’ve got an adoption to fund and I’ve got braces to pay for – win win!*
13) Use Swagbucks.com as your search engine. This is honestly can be a bit more tedious, but it is seriously free money so it is awesome. Use Swagbucks as your search engine, you get comparable results as you would to google – but you get rewarded with ‘Swagbucks’ randomly as you search. Fun little game and you earn ‘bucks’ – ‘bucks’ can be turned in for a bunch of crap prizes, gift cards, and also Paypal cash – again, not gonna make you rich, but it adds up. “But Kate, I bet they sell my search information when I search with them!” My response…. “What do you think Google is doing?” It’s the same, so watch yourself no matter where you search. 😉 It’s cheesier than Google, but it pays me so I used it our entire adoption. How much did we make? I honestly can’t remember – maybe a couple hundred dollars, but it was free money with practically no effort. Swagbucks.com <— also a referral link!
14) Host a trunk show with Noonday Collection. Unlike many direct sales type companies you do not only have the opportunity to earn products. You can choose to earn product or a percentage of the sales. Read how a friend of mine sells Noonday on the side as a way to donate to one of her favorite grant organizations.
15) Make crafts and sell at a craft fair. While fundraising I made several things – baby ponchos, tutus, tie dyed onesies, cute little hair pretties, and a lot more! I actually never did real well on Etsy, but craft fairs during the holidays were like shooting fish in a barrel. So easy!
16) Babysitting night! Our friends did this when helping raise some money for a friend who was spending a lot of time in the hospital. She hosted a movie night. Kids came over and ate all the hot dogs and popcorn they could handle while watching Stuart Little and we got a nice date night. She hosted about 8 kids and they all had a great time. What if you offered a Parent’s Night Out once a month during your adoption process? You are staying in to save money anyway right? You may as well invite a couple kids over and let their parents pay you.
17) Online Auction – this is easy enough to set up on your blog or facebook. Donated items (or items you make/have/etc) can be offered up to bidders. So easy!
18) Sell advertising space on your blog. This worked great for me on San Diego Deals and Steals. I honestly don’t even offer it on this blog because I want to keep it streamlined, that being said – I would absolutely consider it if and when we adopt again. This is often times more lucrative than sidebar ads through an ad network.
19) Bake Sale – combine this with your garage sale or do it separately. Often times friends or neighbors are willing to contribute to the bake sale! Items are usually cheap and everyone loves a treat so lots of people can contribute in a small way.
20) Benefit concert and dinner (or something like it) – Are you or someone you know a musician? Perhaps a worship team member at your church has an album they want to showcase? Combine music with dinner – maybe add a couple silent auction baskets in there and it could be very lucrative and so much fun! We had friends host a lunch and bunco game with a silent auction for us when we adopted our littlest – it raised over $6,000! Other friends had a luau night, we are currently working on a casino night with another friend – all have been so much fun and really successful (they are a lot of work, but it is a great pay off).
21) Sell books with Amazon! This is great for online! If you love to read sign up your blog as an Amazon Affiliate and use your affiliate link with those books. As I have shared before; make sure to disclose that this is your affiliate link. It’s the law, but reasonable readers will be happy that you are getting a few pennies on their dollar especially knowing it goes to a good cause and it doesn’t cost them any more.
22) Recycling. I said in our last article we do not buy soda or water bottles, so we honestly don’t have a ton of recycling. If you do have recyclables make sure to collect the return on them! You can also let friends and family know you are recycling for your fees. Some might be happy to bring over a big bag of cans on your next playdate right? Maybe your kid’s school or your church would be willing to allow you a collection? Again, this is going to work for some better than others – we didn’t have much, but if you can organize a recyclables drive it is another one of those ‘free money’ type deals.
23) Shoe collection Fundraiser! Shoes With Heart is one Angel Bins is another – there are many more! It’s simple – you gather shoes from your friends, family, coworkers, and the organization pays you a bit of money. Check out all the options – it might be a better deal to do this with donated shoes to your adoption fund garage sale!
24) Make sure you are writing off everything you are allowed to on your taxes. Adoption rarely happens overnight, it is very likely you will be in process for a year or more. It is also likely you are looking at this before you have even started an adoption process so this is important. So many times people donate stuff or money and DON’T take the write off – remember that is FREE money, make sure to take it where you can!
25) Pancake Breakfast – pancakes are CHEAP and easy to make and often times supplies can be donated!
Did I say 25 ways to raise funds? We actually had a few more….
26) Restaurant fundraiser! Many restaurants offer fundraiser nights – people bring in your flier and your cause gets 20% (or sometimes more) of the money raised – Chick Fil A, Rubios, Souplantation & Sweet Tomatoes, and many more casual dining restaurants offer this – what a fun reason to eat out right?
27) Gift Wrapping Fundraiser – Are you adopting around the holidays? Ask a family friendly business if you can set up outside and wrap boxes for a small fee. Again, see if you can get gift wrap and or gift bags donated! If not, make sure to grab stuff at the $1 store!
28) She does Justice – this works only if you have a blog/website. Bloggers can sign up for their affiliate program for 10% commission, if you are fundraising for an adoption you can fill out a quick form and you will get 25% off each sale! WHAT?!
29) Art Auction – the hubs and I are both artists and we have a lot of friends that are artists so this worked out great for us!
30) Some kind of “Thon” – Jog-a-Thon, Scrapbook-a-thon, Skate-a-thon, etc – what are you and your friends into? Make it a ‘thon’ and raise a bunch of money!
31) Car Wash – everyone needs their cars washed right?
32) Direct Sales – choose carefully and I wouldn’t suggest buying a bunch of stuff with the hopes of selling it. That is a gamble! That being said, I know several friends that have paid significant adoption bills with Thirty-One Gifts, Mary Kay, and more.
33) Also during the holidays – maybe you could do other people’s shopping? Offer a shopping service – of course if you have items for sale (coffee shop with Just Love, your own crafts, She does Justice affiliate shop, etc) and you can also be their ‘mall runner’ right? Go shopping for lots of people at the same time – I bet it would be fun to shop with other people’s money right? Give them a set fee for your services too! Add on a gift wrap option and a ‘deliver to your door’ option. Do they have things to mail? You probably need to go to the post office during the holidays anyway right? Offer to deliver your friend’s items to the post office too (for a fee 😉 )
Not really Fundraisers….. but some ways to cut down your fees that others may be willing to donate….
34) Donated air miles : This isn’t exactly an adoption fundraiser, but it can greatly reduce your costs. We never had airline miles to use on our trips, but we know several people that flew to far away countries completely with free airline miles! If you have your own to use – awesome! If you don’t have airline miles statistics say more than half go completely unused; I bet you have a facebook friend that isn’t going to be using them anyway.
35) Donated Notary Services : This is HUGE! During both our adoption processes we had very good friends at church that were licensed notaries that were kind enough to do our adoption notary for FREE! Free Notary Services saved us hundreds on the estimated costs of our adoptions. Be willing to travel to them and ask them what is a good time for their schedule.
These are just a few adoption fundraising ideas that worked for us and friends. Adoption is dear to our heart and I hope this finds it’s way to folks who truly want to adopt but are afraid they might not be able to afford it. Please pin and share with a friend! Do you know of other fun and successful ideas for fundraising that do NOT cost a thing to set up? Please leave them in the comment section below! Remember to check How to Afford Adoption for more resources on grants, tax credits, and more!
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