Garage sale sign "China Adoption Fundraiser"

Fundraising Do’s and Don’ts

•  •  •   DO  •  •  •

Involve your friends and community. They want to help, and they’ll be excited to be a part of your adoption journey.

Talk about why adoption is still critical in the country you are adopting from. Raising social awareness about the needs of children around the world will help friends understand why your adoption journey is so important.

Keep it simple. Garage sales (ask friends for donations!), bake sales, craft fairs and other DIY projects have huge potential.

Ask for airline miles or other travel-related vouchers. Travel expenses are about a third of your total adoption-related costs, so this type of assistance will help a ton!

Do exhaust all your other options first. Look into the adoption tax credit. See if you qualify for employee or military veteran benefits. Also, apply for grants — LOTS of grants.

Wait to fundraise until you are homestudy-approved. If your family is not approved to adopt, having to return fundraised dollars will make a tough situation more difficult.

Look for ways to save money by reducing lifestyle, entertainment or other “extra” costs. It’s amazing how fast savings add up!


Partner with organizations like Both Hands Foundation or Their programs will help you reach your fundraising goals through tried-and-true methods.

•  •  •   DON’T  •  •  •

Do not use fundraising as your first method to cover adoption costs. Adoption is a life-long commitment and adding a child to your family will affect your finances long term.

Do not post identifying information about your child on the internet. While the temptation to share photos of your beautiful child is hard to resist, overseas officials, governments and child protection workers may be researching your family online, and sharing personal information about a child in their care or ours violates international safeguards for children waiting for adoption.

Do not be disrespectful of your child’s birth family, or share personal details about why your child became eligible to be adopted. Children are relinquished or abandoned for many, many reasons, and it’s important to be conscientious of their loss and that their story belongs to them.

Do not sell weapons, alcohol or other items that may be confusing or controversial to child welfare professionals or send the wrong message about adoption.

Do not ask family to give donations or money directly to your adoption agency and receive a tax deduction. Non-profit agencies are not allowed to take tax-deductible gifts and apply those donated funds to one specific family.

Don’t over-share your story. Before you start fundraising, decide how much you will share about your adoption process, your agency experience and your child. And then stick to it. People will be curious about your motivations, your child and more. Remember, you are representing a very important cause. Presenting upbeat, positive information is the best way to inspire other families to adopt, too.

Don’t get upset if some friends and family don’t offer financial support. Adoption fundraising can be confusing, even to some of your closest family and friends. And that’s okay. 


Check out Holt’s website for a comprehensive list of fundraising organizations, grant options, potential adoption tax benefits and inspirational stories from families who fundraised 100 percent of the costs related to their child’s adoption.

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