How to Fundraise for Adoption

February 1, 2021

What do you think of when you hear the word “Fundraising”?

Asking for money? Bake sale? Dinners with a donation request at the end?

Thoughts like these distract us from the truth of what fundraising is all about. Fundraising for adoption is all about inviting people to join you on your adoption journey in a meaningful, impactful way.

The truth is that most people want to help those in need; they just don’t know how. Fundraising is bridging the gap between the caring hearts of others and a need they can do something about.

If you’re an adoptive couple that’s facing adoption costs totalling $15,000 to $45,000 or more, you’re likely in need of some help from your community. Your community is there, they’re ready to help, all you need to do is invite them.

How? Let’s take a look!


Where Do I Start?

Every good goal starts with defining a finish line. If you don’t set a finish line, how would you know when to stop running?

At this point, your adoption agency or consultant should have provided you with a rough estimate of what your total adoption cost will be. Is that number your fundraising goal, your finish line? Or will you also explore other ways to finance your adoption such as grants, loans, or the Adoption Tax Credit?

These options can be great tools to reduce your financial burden, but we encourage you to still plan on fundraising. Remember, fundraising is all about inviting others to join you on your adoption journey. Building that community around your family and your adopted child is priceless.

Keep this in mind as you look over your estimated costs:

  1. Don’t be afraid to set a high goal. The first family to ever do a Both Hands project needed $55,000 to complete their adoption. They decided to be bold and set that number as their fundraising goal, and guess what they raised through their Both Hands project? $55,000! Don’t underestimate the power of your community to rally around an audacious goal.
  2. Your goal amount may change over time, but don’t let that stop you from setting one now. Having a goal number will help motivate you towards the next step…

What Type of Fundraiser Should I Do?

Now that you’ve got a goal amount, let’s figure out how to get there. Search “adoption fundraising ideas” in your internet browser and you’ll find hundreds of great ideas (or check out these 10 high-impact ideas we recommend!) The trick is figuring out which ideas will work best for you and your community. We recommend keeping these two questions in mind as you research:

  1. Would I find this activity enjoyable and meaningful?
  2. Will my community respond well to this?

Your community may respond well to a karaoke night, but if you don’t like singing, you probably won’t make planning it a priority. The best fundraiser for you will check both of the aforementioned boxes. (P.S. We’re confident that we have a fundraising idea that will check both those boxes and more. Learn more about a Both Hands project here!)


What Should I Expect?

Now that you’ve got a few fundraisers in mind, let’s look at what’s coming up on your fundraising journey.

  1. Expect to share your adoption story. Megan, an adoptive mother who did a Both Hands project, puts it perfectly in her blog post: “Everyone is brought to adoption through different roads and for different reasons. Sometimes [your] answer is very personal. Own it. I find people’s hearts open in response to our vulnerability. The more of your story you are willing to share, the more compelling it is for people to donate to your adoption fund.
  2. Expect to get your community involved. Adoption fundraising will likely take a larger team than just yourself and/or your spouse. Be ready to ask a few loved ones and dear friends for their support, their talents, and their time as you start fundraising.

What Should I Avoid?

We’ve seen hundreds of Both Hands families from all kinds of backgrounds and skill sets have massive success with their fundraisers. Through their experience, we’ve noticed a few pitfalls that successful families avoid during their fundraising:

  1. Hosting too many fundraisers. In our experience, it’s best to pour more energy into one to three well planned fundraisers, rather than hosting a new fundraising event each month. By creating a couple fantastic opportunities to get involved in your adoption journey, instead of a dozen half-hearted attempts, you’re honoring and blessing your community rather than taking advantage of their time.
  2. Limiting your community’s generosity. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your community would never donate more than a certain amount. We can’t count the number of Both Hands families who were shocked to learn someone had donated $1,000 or more! If, for example, you host a bake sale and sell every baked good for $10, you could be limiting what others would really want to give you! Consider leaving donation requests open, so folks can give what they feel led to give.

I Don’t Want to Sound Needy…

We hear you. So many of us are adverse to the idea of being a burden to our friends and family. But remember this: Adoption fundraising is simply an invitation! We’ve coached over 1,000 adoptive families, and the most successful families are the ones that truly embrace this mentality. If you make fundraising about the story, the journey, and the child(ren) you’re bringing home, rather than money, we promise you that it will make all the difference. Give your life away for others, and then watch in amazement as they do the same for you.


Now you understand what fundraising is all about, it’s time to put it into action!

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