You’re Not Alone
“Feeling scared to ask people for money? Me too!”
Most of the families I have talked with about starting their AdoptTogether crowd fundraising say, “I am nervous to ask people for money.” I felt the same way when we started crowd fundraising for our adoption with AdoptTogether.
Our goal was to raise $35,000; it was the highest goal we had ever tried raising! My husband and I were seasoned fundraisers but I still had a knot in my stomach as were were planning and executing our AdoptTogether crowd fundraiser. We didn’t want to turn anyone off by asking (and continuing to ask) for financial support. I felt vulnerable letting people into the fact that we couldn’t adopt without help financially. There were so many unknowns in our adoption process, it felt very risky putting our story out in front of everyone one we knew and many people we didn’t know…How will it be received? Will people really give? Will we really be able to reach our $35K goal? I had many fears – know you are not alone in yours.
Share Your Story Well
The thing that really helped us, and I think is important for all people tackling a crowd fundraising campaign, is to shift your mindset about what you are doing when you fundraise. It can be intimidating to think of fundraising as simply “asking people for money.” It’s less intimidating and much more exciting to think about fundraising as an opportunity to share your story as an invitation for people to join you on your journey to and through adoption. When you share your story and journey with people it will inspire people to give not just their money, but also their time, and support and encouragement to your growing family. This new mindset eased our fears and helped us jump into the deep-end of crowd fundraising.
How do you share your story in an inspiring and effective way?
1. Invite people to into your adoption journey with a part of the invitation being the opportunity to give to your AdoptTogether crowd fundraiser. This give people the opportunity to have a front row seat to the exciting adventure of adoption. For those of us on the adventure of adoption, it might not feel very exciting at times (I know ours didn’t), but the people that accept your invitation want to be a part of it all. They will cheer you on every joyful and painful step of the way–they will be your community of people rallying you on.
2. Be uncomfortably personal when sharing your story. Let people into all parts of your adoption process, the highs and lows. People are more likely to be inspired by your vulnerability when you let them into your life. There is power in your story….share it! Think about personal and unique ways to get your story out there; make it reflect your family. By showing your vulnerability in financial need and in the ups and downs of adoption you give people the opportunity to join you; to financially support you, and to encourage you. I personally remember a few times along our adoption process when it was really hard to be vulnerable. I wanted to put on a mask and not let anyone into the pain of waiting, the pain of changed court dates, the pain of being stuck in country by myself not knowing when I could return home, but it was in those moments, we chose to be vulnerable. We chose to reach out to people, to include them and in return they brought such encouragement through their support, through sharing our story with others and through giving financially.
3. Be strategic. Make a plan on how and when you will share your story and adoption journey. Think about ways to create moments of momentum to drive people to your AdoptTogether page. My husband and I gave our birthdays away through a social media campaign. I asked for 32 people to donate $32 for my 32nd birthday, utilizing social media (always post your AT link in these types of posts). For the week before my birthday, each day I posted how many people I had left to reach my goal…In the end I raised over $1500 for my brithday towards our adoption. My husband raised over $2,500 for his (and I’m older- ha!). Find moments like this to create momentum for you – use a fee coming due, an anniversary, or special event. We tried to drive people to our AdoptTogether page a few times a month, but we created these types of “moments of momentum” every couple of months. As you to keep putting yourself out there, doing it in a strategic manner will help from burning people out. It took us about 9 months of intentionally sharing our story in new ways and with fresh updates in our adoption journey to hit our goal. Crowd Fundraising, is a marathon, not a sprint.
Simplify The Donation Process
Try to make the donation process as easy as you can for people. Go the extra mile to help people with the donation process. We had to help non-techy people understand check giving instructions and even talk over the phone and walk through how to give with a number of our friends and family in the donation process. If we didn’t take the time to help these friends and family, they most likely wouldn’t have given. The extra effort you take in helping people through the giving experience the better!
It’s important to make yourself available to people that have questions about your adoption. We also had many people approach us in curiosity about why we were adopting and why we had to raise so much money. A few people even challenged us on some of our choices or on things around adoption. We saw these as opportunities to share why we wanted to adopt and then to educate people on adoption and how many vulnerable kids there are that need loving families in this world. Some of these people decided to give and some didn’t. Regardless the conversations helped people join our journey.
When you take the time to meet people where they are at, help them get through the logistics of donating, and remain accessible, you will most likely inspire people to donate generously. Even if they don’t give financially to your campaign, you will still have educated your community on adoption and help them understand the process in new ways.
Find Peace Beyond Yourself
For us our faith is very important. We chose to put our trust in God throughout the process, as we continually took risks to put our story out in front of everyone. We found peace in trusting that he [God] who began a good work would carry it on to completion (Phil 1:6), it gave us peace and courage to be vulnerable in sharing our huge need for funds, our story and our adoption journey with everyone we met. I would encourage you to find peace beyond yourself in a way that will help you with the stress and struggles of fundraising.
If you come at fundraising in a way that is only “asking people for money,” you might reach your goals. But if you come at fundraising in a way that you share your adoption story and invite people into your whole adoption journey…you will be more likely to reach your goals AND you will have a crowd of people that are rallying with you in support along your adoption process. That is a beautiful thing!
by Andrea Wittig
- You’re Not Alone
- Share Your Story Well
- Simplify The Donation Process
- Be Accessible
- Find Peace Beyond Yourself
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