How to Fundraise for Adoption
50+ of the Best Adoption Fundraising Ideas
Once you know how much adoption is going to cost, your next questions are probably about how to come up with money for an adoption. The cost associated with adoption can be one of the most difficult things for families to overcome. It can seem overwhelming, especially when you are just starting out and see all of the numbers for the first time. But the good news is you don’t have to go it alone.
You’ve heard it said that it “takes a village” to raise a child. Well, sometimes it can take a village to help a child come home. That’s where adoption fundraising comes in. We hope you can find some great adoption fundraiser ideas on this list.
If you're a prospective birth mother reading this, we know having a support system when placing a baby for adoption is important. As your adoption agency, we work to help provide you with financial assistance throughout your adoption journey. You can find a complete guide to financial help here. You can also fill out our free online form to connect with a professional today.
How to Raise Money for Adoption: The Best Adoption Fundraising Ideas
In addition to applying for grants, taking advantage of the adoption tax credit and exploring your other adoption financing options, many adoptive families wonder how to fundraise for adoption. With a little creativity and the support of friends and family, there are many ways to get money for adoption.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled the following list of adoption fundraiser ideas. Remember, how to get funding for adoption can be different for everyone. What works for one family might not work for another. If you try one adoption fundraising idea and it doesn’t work, pick another. Don’t get discouraged. We’ve seen families pull off some truly amazing adoption fundraisers thanks to the help of a supportive community, and we think you can do it, too.
Read on to learn more about some of the most successful adoption fundraising ideas we’ve seen to date.
1. Community Potluck
The table brings communities together. Whether it’s your neighborhood, school, church or other social group, host a potluck with a suggested $5 donation for your adoption. It doesn’t ask too much from your friends, and it’s an opportunity to not only raise funds for adoption but also build relationships that could become a support network during your adoption process.
2. Bake Sale
Cookies, cake, muffins or whatever your specialty is — there are plenty of great bake sale recipes, and you can turn your baking skills into an adoption fundraising opportunity. Pick a nice Saturday morning to invite your neighborhood over for a big driveway bake sale, or ask your church or community center if they’d be willing to host on Sunday after service. If you have a local farmers’ market, you could also set up shop there on a weekend morning. There are a lot of ways to get creative with a bake sale.
3. Lemonade Stand
If you already have children, this is a great way to help them feel involved in the adoption process. Help them set up a lemonade stand and invite all the neighbors to come by.
4. Taco Night
Tacos are an easy dish to make for a lot of people, making this a relatively easy adoption fundraiser. Set a suggested donation of $5–$10 for a plate of two tacos and let the fiesta begin. You can get creative with your taco recipes and offer multiple options.
5. Adoption T-Shirt Fundraiser
An adoption t-shirt fundraiser requires more upfront investment, but it can also have a bigger reward. Find the best t-shirt vendor that works for you, set a reasonable price for your shirts (maybe $20) and include a link to your adoption fundraising site on the back collar. You and your friends have the opportunity to spread the word about your fundraising efforts when you wear your adoption fundraiser t-shirts!
You never know which adoption fundraising campaigns will go viral. If you have the time and resources to create a video or blog telling your family’s story, you can inspire people to get involved by giving. Unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe releases your funds regardless of if you reach the goal you set. That way you can be sure you won’t lose anything in your adoption fundraiser. American Adoptions has seen adoptive families have great success through crowdfunding campaigns like this.
7. Start a Social Media Campaign
Start a hashtag. Ask all your friends to change their profile picture to a photo associated with your adoption. Ask all your Instagram followers to give to your adoption fundraiser for one week instead of getting their morning latte. There are so many ways to use social media for adoption fundraising.
8. Church Dinner
Church communities can be a big support to families in the adoption process and a great place to turn when fundraising for adoption. If your church is up for it, host a dinner Sunday night after service and ask everyone who comes to make a donation to your adoption fundraiser.
9. Organize Your Own Half Marathon
This is for all the administrative personality types out there. It’ll take quite a bit of planning, but you can put together your own 5k or half marathon and use it to get adoption funding. You can set an entrance fee for runners and ask everyone who comes to watch to make a donation.
10. Ice Cream Social
This is another great opportunity to help your kids or the kids in your community feel involved in fundraising for adoption. Organize an ice cream social and put a donation bucket at the end of the ice cream line. People don’t have to give a lot, but it’s a great way for everyone to get involved and have some fun while raising money for adoption.
11. Noonday Collection
There are many ways to raise money for adoption by partnering with other organizations. Noonday Connection is a company that sells jewelry at home parties. You host a party, invite your friends and family, and show off Noonday’s beautiful collection. Noonday has a special connection to adoption — it began when the founder was raising money to adopt her son from Rwanda. Now, Noonday’s jewelry is made by artists in impoverished nations, and a percentage of sales help adoptive families.
12. Parents’ Night Out
This adoption fundraising idea is not for the faint of heart. For those who believe in their abilities to watch many children at once, offer your services for a parents’ night out. Pick a Friday or Saturday night, and let your friends know that your house is open to all takers who would like a date night without the kids. You can set a standard amount, maybe $50 for the evening, or ask people to pay by the hour. Your friends get a date, you get funds to help with adoption.
13. Car Wash
A car wash is another great option for an adoption fundraiser if you already have kids who want to feel like they are a part of the adoption process, too. It helps if you can set up in a public place, like a school parking lot, that will get more traffic than your neighborhood.
14. Adoption Fundraising Letter
It may sound a little old school, but this is something many hopeful adoptive families have success with. Write an adoption fundraising letter and send it out to friends and family. Receiving a handwritten fundraising letter clearly shows that you put in the effort, and a lot of people respond enthusiastically.
15. Toy Auction
Collect new or gently used toys and then host a raffle for families in your area. Make it clear that all funds are going directly toward your adoption, that way parents can have a little fun with it. Who knows, maybe a generous soul will bid $50 on a lightly used Thomas the Tank Engine!
16. Birthday Campaigns
This fundraising model was popularized by an organization called charity: water, whose founder gave up his birthday to raise money for clean water and sparked an international movement. Take the same idea and apply it to adoption fundraising: instead of birthday gifts, ask for funding for adoption. You can also ask friends if they would join in by donating their birthdays to your adoption fundraiser.
17. Christmas Campaigns
Similar to birthdays, you can ask for donations instead of Christmas presents. The Christmas season is the most charitable time in America, so people are already in a generous mood. It is the most wonderful time of the year, after all, and the perfect time to ask for adoption funding assistance.
18. No-Shave November
Continuing with the theme of seasonal adoption fundraising ideas, why not tackle this quirky adoption fundraiser during National Adoption Month? Think of it like a fundraiser marathon, but your face is the course and your beard is the runner. Ask people to sponsor your No-Shave November. Set a goal — maybe $500 — and promise to keep the beard going through New Year’s Eve if your friends can beat the goal.
19. Fantasy Football Fundraiser League
Are you ready for some football? Put together a league with friends, family or coworkers. Set the buy-in at $25 a team, with all of the money going toward your child adoption fund. Since there isn’t a cash prize for the winner, you could pick up an inexpensive trophy for the champion.
20. NCAA Bracket Challenge
March Madness is another great opportunity to turn a fun event into a meaningful adoption fundraiser. Start a bracket challenge with friends and, just like with fantasy football, charge a buy-in. Do your research, pick your teams and hope for the best. All the money goes toward your funds for adopting a child, but the bracket winner still gets bragging rights.
21. Video Game Tournament
This is a great chance for friends of all ages to get involved in your adoption fundraising. Get a couple games together — the old-school ones like Mario Kart are always a hit — and have participants sign up beforehand. Create a bracket, and let the gameplay begin. You can either have a donation basket present for anyone who comes, or have a set buy-in to participate.
22. Driveway Basketball Tournament
Depending on how many participants you have, this can be a team tournament or individual games. Make a bracket with 3 vs. 3 teams, or play knockout or 21. Charge $10 per person or $30 per team to join the tournament. Look for a local park with an outdoor court or a YMCA willing to host.
23. Garage Sale
A double-win: raise money for your adoption fundraiser and create some space for your soon-to-be baby. Declutter your way to a fundraiser that many adoptive families have found very helpful.
24. Outdoor Movie Night
You need a couple things:
A DVD player
A surface to project onto — either a screen or a flat, lightly colored side of a house
Pick a feature film, probably something family-friendly. If you charge $10 a ticket, you’re still offering a better deal than most movie theaters. This is a great adoption fundraising idea because it offers something fun in return for people’s generosity.
25. Sell Homemade Jewelry
If someone in your house is crafty, you can make and sell homemade jewelry as an adoption fundraiser. You may want to look into a platform like Etsy to sell your product, that way you can have a larger reach than the people immediately around you.
26. Craigslist Purge
In 2017, Bloomberg reported that American spending on nonessential items was at a 17-year high. What that means, in short, is that many of us have a lot more stuff than we need. Purging nonessentials from your home and selling them on Craigslist can create space, peace of mind and raise funds. A win in more ways than one!
27. Benefit Concert
Do you have any friends in a local band? Are you in a local band? Could you be in a local band? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you can throw a benefit concert for your adoption. Charge admission, or pass a basket and ask for donations during the show.
28. Worship + Fundraising Night at Church
Communities of faith can be a great source of adoption fundraising. People seriously involved in any sort of religious group are more likely to donate in a charitable way, according to studies. Whether you are Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or adherent to any other type of faith, you could ask to host a night of worship and charity for your adoption fundraiser.
29. Start a Family Change Jar
Adoption fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint. A family change jar is easy to start, and it will add up over time. While you are busy planning some bigger adoption fundraising ideas, keep adding to your change jar. Itll be in the hundreds of dollars before you know it.
30. Lawn Mowing and Babysitting
When you’re looking for ways to raise money for adoption, sometimes it pays to keep it simple. Tasks like lawn mowing and babysitting offer value to your friends while giving them a chance to support your adoption fundraising efforts.
31. Both Hands Fundraiser
Both Hands is a nonprofit organization that helps adoption fundraisers while they help someone else. What does that mean? Basically, you sign up for a service project to do maintenance work on a widow’s home. Put a team together, and a Both Hands coach will help you plan the service project. You send out letters to raise support for the project, and the support raised helps fund your adoption. While some fundraisers are modest, Both Hands has also seen projects that raise tens of thousands toward a family’s fundraising for adoption.
32. Host a BBQ
Fire up the smoker — it’s time for a backyard BBQ. Whether you’ve got brisket, pulled pork or burnt ends, you can give your friends a savory slice of meat and a chance to support your adoption. A per-plate charge or donation bucket will work for an event like this.
33. Pet Sit
It’s good to have a couple adoption fundraising ideas that are more than one-time events. Let any of your friends and family with pets knows that you’re available to pet sit on an ongoing basis. Every dollar counts.
34. Dog Wash
While we’re on the pet theme, how about a dog wash? Set up a washing station and invite the canine owners in your community. A clean dog means a happy dog owner, and it’s a great opportunity to contribute to your adoption fundraiser.
35. Baby Bottle Campaign
Baby Bottle Campaigns are a fun way to get a whole group involved in adoption fundraising. Create a small insert (around the size of a notecard) to put inside a bunch of baby bottles. On that card, explain the adoption journey you are on, and how your friends can help by using this bottle as a change jar. After a month, collect all the bottles and count up the funds.
36. Photography Sessions
If you or someone in your family is a photographer, you can put out an offer to take senior photos or engagement shoots in exchange for donations made to your adoption fund.
37. Benefit Dinner
Feeling fancy? You can host a fundraising dinner. Decide on the number of guests you’d like to invite, the type of meal you want to serve and your fundraising goal. After dinner, stand up and make a brief speech. Tell your story and communicate why a gift from everyone at the dinner can go a long way in helping you complete your adoption. Then, ask your friends if they would financially contribute to your adoption. It can feel awkward to ask for funds like this, but the people you’ve invited care about you, and they know the purpose of this dinner. So that your night doesn’t linger on this moment, ask after dinner and then move on to desert.
38. Trivia Night
All you need for this adoption fundraising idea is a place to host and a good set of trivia questions. You can fundraise by charging each trivia team an entry amount, or by suggesting donations from everyone who attends. It’s a good idea to have food and drinks during the trivia contest, too.
39. Golf Tournament
Planning a golf tournament takes more time and effort than some of the other ideas on this list, but the return can be worth it. Try to find a local golf course that would be willing to host and advertise about the event. Charge a fee for each golfer.
40. Coffee Adoption Fundraiser
Just Love Coffee is a Tennessee-based company whose mission is to help those who are trying to make the world a better place. That sounds just like you! You can organize a coffee adoption fundraiser with this company by selling to your friends and receiving a portion of the proceeds. Just Love Coffee handles all of the logistics, like shipping the orders out, so all you need to do is sell.
41. Run a Popcorn Stand
Did you know you can rent an old-school popcorn machine? Well, you can! It’s relatively cheap, and if you have the right event to set up at, you’re sure to make back the cost. If you have other children, you can get them involved as little popcorn salesmen while fundraising for adoption.
42. Facebook Fundraising
A couple years back, Facebook rolled out a brand-new fundraising tool that anyone can use. It’s simple, and Facebook has a step-by-step guide to teach you how to make the most of your fundraiser. Online fundraising can be one of the most efficient and cost-effective types of adoption fundraising.
AdoptTogether is one of the largest adoption fundraising websites online. Similar to GoFundMe, you can create a profile for your family where people are able to donate toward your adoption fundraiser. Set your goal, track progress and tell your story through updates to your supporters. Several American Adoptions famileis have used this services and raised thousands of dollars toward their adoptions!
44. Donuts with Dad for the Future Dad
Donuts, coffee, dads — what more can you ask for? Plan a morning for fathers and sons to get breakfast together, and leave a donation basket at the end of the donut line. You could invite people from the school, neighborhood, church or any other group.
45. Muffins with Mom for the Mom-to-Be
Host your Donuts with Dad and Muffins with Mom events together or separately — whatever works best for you! Also, it’s okay for moms to eat donuts and dads to eat muffins. Don’t let alliteration keep you from the tasty morning pastries you want.
46. Dance Marathon
The more people who sponsor you, the longer you have to dance. To spice it up, you can let people who donate more than $100 choose the playlist you dance to. You can also ask other people to dance with you and gather sponsors of their own.
47. Silent Auction
If you can find a local business to donate auction items — kitchenware, toys, electronics or clothing — then holding a silent auction can be a great adoption fundraising idea. Find the right space to hold your event, provide some food for the guests, and auction away. Since the items were donated, all proceeds can go toward the adoption, which could potentially mean adoption fundraising for large amounts of money.
48. Restaurant Fundraiser
Many local (and sometimes chain) restaurants are willing to help your adoption fundraiser. Find a restaurant that will host your fundraiser, set a time and date and then start spreading the word. Typically, a restaurant will donate a percentage of the profits on a given day to the cause being supported.
49. Pampered Chef Party
Pampered Chef is a cooking brand that sells products through third-party vendors. But instead of selling Pampered Chef products for a profit, you can sell them for your adoption fundraising efforts. A portion of proceeds from all sales will be directed toward your adoption fund.
50. Poker Tournament
Work with a local bowling alley to host a bowl-a-thon for your adoption fundraiser. Each participant pays an entry fee that goes toward the adoption funds. You could also see if a local restaurant would donate food for your bowling competitors.
52. Puzzle Piece Fundraisers
Puzzle piece fundraisers are a great way to help people feel involved beyond giving. Find a puzzle, or create a custom one with a family photo, and set a price per piece. Donors purchase one piece, and they can write their names on the back. When all the pieces have been spoken for, put the puzzle together and frame it. Once your adoption is complete you can tell your child about the puzzle, and how all the names on the back represent people who care about them.
53. Give Shoes, Get Funds
Most of the time, our worn-out or gently used shoes are still good for use. But, so many of us end up just tossing them out. Instead, why not donate your shoes to those who need them while also fundraising for your adoption? This fundraiser is a great option for many families. It's simple, easy, effective and supports sustainability!
So, What Are You Going to Do?
There are so many different adoption fundraiser ideas you can use to raise funds for your adoption. The cost of adoption can seem prohibitive, but it is possible. Get creative and have fun. You can do this!
Did we miss the best adoption fundraising idea ever? Let your adoption specialist know about your fundraising ideas for adoption or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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