Thursday, February 23, 2012

Adoption Fundraising


We just got our in-country travel package bill today and paid that bad boy so I have $$ issues on my mind! That and a friend asked for fundraising advice so here it is for anyone else interested.. pardon the crappy grammar/punctuation but I don't have time for a real post right now and am trying to shake sickness - so you get the email version. My apologies.

In regards to in-country expenses, we will be in country 9 days this trip. and 2 more to travel to/from. You only are required to stay 4-5 but we tacked on extra days since this is a once-in-a-lifetime and the airfare is the bulk of the cost - why not stay longer to see more? We have arranged those extra days to go to her hometown and tour the orphanage she stayed in until placed with our agency. So that adds some extra expense but we also feel it is well worth it.

Now onto fundraising - keep in mind that my kids had to have passports, shots, and airfare -- and we had said only, and only IF God provided money for them to go, could they go. So that hikes our price up a bit vs others. My jaw dropped when I added up today's final total. NO.WAY. I have NO idea how all that was paid. I just know that we had $20-$40 little donations, little store sales, little bit in savings for the last 3 years... and it added up. Remember, we started at $0. ZERO.

We have about $3-4000 left to fundraise for Trip #2 but I have no worries!! As my dear friend Farrah told me once re: the kids shots -- write the check as if God has already put the money in your account. Faith.

Fundraising Letters - we put the support letter on the back burner as a 'last resort' since I had just sent out letters a year prior for the Compassion missions trip I took. But would have used it if we still needed to, here in the end stretch. Many people do, and have success. (And it's not off the table for this last amount, either.) One thing to remember, someone once told me as far as sending out letters - you feel like - 'I know they don't have the money so I'm not going to ask' BUT then you are stealing a blessing away from them that God may have intended for them. If they give $10, God may bless them 10-fold. So why make the decision to not give them the opportunity?

As far as tax deductions - our agency has a fund they can donate to and be tax deductible, the Eternal Family Fund. We had $1000 in there today to be taken off our bill owed. $500 made it's way in there without me knowing it. But we also had 2 churches offer to be our conduit for tax ded. donations. They offered for people to write checks to them with our name in the memo and then to write them back to us as a missions donation.

Grants - I also know of several couples who have gotten grants, some straight out, some matching. There are many out there - we are applying for one specifically for Carolina residents now "Caroline's Promise" for the remaining $3000 we need. For most you need a completed homestudy to apply.

Yard Sales - We have had 3 (maybe 4) mega yard sales with anything I could find to sell in our house and donations from other people. We made around $600 each time. But those are ALOT of work, I am henceforth yard-selled out.

In regards to feeling like we need to pay back donations once our adoption is complete - no. I truly feel that God blesses those that follow his commands to help take care of the orphan and it is the same as with missions - some are asked to GO and some are asked to GIVE. None are asked to DO nothing. The tax credit is changing anyway so it will no longer be refundable.. (stinks) so no money coming back into our hands which we could repay to donors anyway. Now it will just offset any taxes we owe. Which will help me as I always owe, being self-employed but families such as pastors and such who never have to pay and always get refunds, wont see
much of anything.

Raffles, suppers - What we started with - $ZERO: a family friend donated a framed print which we raffled off and made $800. you would be surprised how many things you could get donated if you ask. Many families do silent auctions paired with a spaghetti/pancake dinner with homemade cakes etc to get started and have done very well.

T-shirts - we tried doing t-shirts but didn't make much there. lots have good success with selling shirts. "Simply Love" is a cool organization that makes really cute shirts, you can 'purchase' their design kit and sell their shirts for a profit, even if adopting domestically.

Coffee Sales - we signed up with 'just love' coffee company. they are an Ethiopia adopting family but I think are open to any kind of adoption - you just send people to your 'storefront' website address and get $5 for every bag sold. I think we have made around $600 this way with no read effort. The best coffee E'VA.

BIGGEST TIP: don't TRY to raise the money. Let God lead you on what to try and go for. That way he gets the glory and we don't. I have struggled with this on and off but truly, this is the FIRST time (well, this and the trip I took prior) where I actually practiced my faith. Before it was just that he was a God I said I worshiped on Sundays but really didn't believe in His awesome power with my actions. But when I let go and said 'you do it Daddy' it happened.

Fundraising Store - I found a company where I could buy wholesale as I was looking for African toys to sell to adopting parents.. the toys weren't that cute so I didn't. But kept feeling the Spirit tell me to 'buy the zebras and giraffes'. haha. So I did - but they weren't that cute and didn't sell!!! BUT - that got me going with the jewelry and soaps and we have now made $3-4000 off Lil' Olivia's. I have heard of other families who have sold cookie cutters, magnets, stickers, homemade dolls, paintings, etc. Etsy is a great place to find and support families selling items for their adoptions.

I tried to paint watercolor painting and sell them - and haven't sold a one. I had a friend out-of-the-blue give me 15 baby blankets to sell and only have 3 left.

God provides: Over, and over, and over - we have heard - God provides. We have heard it said many times - "you guys are so great to do this, I wish we could." or "I've always wanted to adopt but we just don't have the money." Zero friends. ZERO. Did you catch that? God provided it all. Tens of thousands of dollars that HE provided for us to be blessed enough to call this little munchkin a Wages. Take that first step. Say I will GO. And watch Him WORK.

**just as a reminder, I have a page entitled 'Our Paper Pregnancy' which lists times, costs, etc. associated with our adoption. It isn't to see 'how much she cost' - but instead to encourage others that even when things seem to be hopeless, God still has the details, even when they seem insurmountable and that total amount of $ or total amount of time it takes seem like a mountain too huge to scale.

2 comments:

Christie said...

I could not agree more!!

We received a $3,000 grant from Caroline's Promise last year...great organization!

We are currently applying for 4 or 5 grants and have had one HUGE yardsale where we made $3,000 (UNBELIEVABLE!) We'll be having another one at the end of March.

Stepping out on a second adoption in a year was a MAJOR leap of faith, but the Lord has provided every step of the way and I know He will continue to!

He doesn't call you to something and not equip you to do it!

Where are you in Carolina? We need to get together! :)

Matthew Lee said...

Tracy,

I have an adoption fundraising idea I'd like to share with you. Could you please email me at mlee@coupaide.com?

Thanks!

Matthew Lee