8 Creative Adoption Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising doesn't have to be drudgery!

Kelly Meldrum March 10, 2016

Adoption can be costly and fundraising is a great way to engage your family and friends, do something you enjoy, and lessen the financial burden.

Before you get started, here are some tips from the experts:

1. Ask for help. Involving your friends, family, neighbors, or church will help them become more invested in your adoption journey.

2. People are more willing to give their time than their money. Ask for volunteer time from your family and friends and sell to your neighbors and community.

3. Sell a product, service, or chance to win. When people give to individuals/families (rather than established charities), they want to feel like they got something in exchange. The givers walk away with an item in their hands and they feel good about helping.

4. Reduce your workload. Ask for discounts and donations from businesses or partner with them so everyone benefits.

5. Choose a fundraiser that you will enjoy. It shouldn’t feel like a second job, but a fun way to make some money and spend time with people you love.

Character Breakfast
1. Character Breakfast

Photo Credit: GoBOb / Shutterstock.com

A character breakfast is an easy way to raise significant funds from the community. Partner with a local breakfast place, rent some costumes, hire local actors or enthusiastic college students, sell tickets, and watch the kids’ faces light up as they interact with their favorite superheroes or Disney princesses! A breakfast restaurant in my areas hosts regular character breakfasts. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle breakfast sold out in less than a day and they had to add two more events to meet the demand.

Virtual Bake Sale
2. Virtual Bake Sale

The benefits of having a virtual bake sale is that you don’t need a location for your sale and you won’t have any items left over. Experiment with a few recipes, choose 1-2 items to sell, then take orders on social media, over the phone, and in person. Do the baking (with help from family and friends), deliver the deliciousness, and receive payment. It’s that easy.

Make treats that people typically don’t make for themselves and are decadent or unique. A couple of sure winners are devil’s food cake balls (easier than cake pops) or bacon-pancake cupcakes with maple frosting.

Father Daughter Beauty Date
3. Father Daughter Beauty Date

This unique event requires little planning and upfront costs. The challenge could be selling the experience to dads (but moms will love it!). Partner with a hair stylist and host a date night for dads and daughters. Dads get to learn to do their daughters' hair from a professional, paint nails, and spend quality time with their girls. Daughters get one-on-one time with dad, their hair done, and their nails painted. Include snacks, fancy beverages, girl’s magazines, and cute hair accessories for the girls in the ticket price.

Charter Bus Trip
4. Charter Bus Trip

Plan a bus trip for women (shopping), men (sporting event), or families (water or amusement park). Bus trips can build community within a church or school while supporting your adoption. Moms love bus trips because they don’t have to plan anything. They just pay and show up!

Snack Stand
5. Snack Stand

A snack stand is an easy fundraiser to pair with an already existing event. Ask organizers if they will allow you to sell snacks and beverages. Set up in an area with a lot of traffic and sell something that appeals to everyone. For a state-wide cross country meet on a cold fall day, we sold warm cinnamon roasted almonds (from a crockpot) and hot chocolate. A local marathon, festival, or even a long sidewalk sale can provide a great opportunity to raise money with minimal effort.

Kickball Tournament
6. Kickball Tournament

A sports tournament can bring in a lot of cash quickly. You can charge teams to participate, sell t-shirts, and make money from snack and beverage sales during the event. The downside is that there is a lot of planning involved. Kickball is a great choice because it’s a game for all ages, it’s not too rough, and it requires little skill. Plus, who doesn’t like kickball?

Yard Sale
7. Yard Sale

Ok, so this isn’t very “creative,” but it is a classic fundraiser because it is a guaranteed money-maker. Ask family and friends to donate their gently used stuff (you’ll be overwhelmed with donations), promote your sale, price everything, set up, and take money from strangers. Be sure to make a large sign informing shoppers that the sale is to raise money for your adoption. They’ll be less likely to haggle over prices and they may even make a donation. A large sale can make upwards of $1,000 in a weekend.

Rake, Mow, Shovel, or Collect
9. Rake, Mow, Shovel, or Collect

Youth groups, tweens, and teens can get in on the action by raking leaves, mowing lawns, shoveling/blowing snow, or asking neighbors to donate their empty soda cans. With a large group, you will “rake” in the cash (Ba-dum-bum!).

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Kelly Meldrum

Kelly Meldrum is a writer and advocate for foster care and mental health. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or at kellymeldrumwriter.com.

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