Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Creative Fundraising {Guest Post by Chantel}

Hey friends, I'm Chantel and blog over at A Harvest of Blessing. My husband and I are in the process of adopting from South Africa and I think the only person that is more excited than us is our three year old daughter, she keeps asking for a brother AND a sister.

When we decided to take the first steps forward in our adoption nearly two and a half years ago, we knew that it wouldn't be financially possible for us to do this on our own, which is probably one of the reasons God asked us to step forward - our trust needed to be in Him. That being said, I don't think that gives us license to just sit by and ask God to move - we need to be willing to put work in too. Over the last few years we've done a few different things to help fundraise for our adoption, some of them have been official fundraisers and other things have been unofficial (like when we sold our kitchen table and chairs, we didn't tell the people that bought it that the money was going towards our adoption).

Since most couples I know don't have savings accounts of $30,000+ already waiting for them, I am excited to share a few of the things we have done to raise the money needed. We haven't had one huge fundraiser that brought in $20,000, we've raised it $100 here and $100 there, and over time it adds up to $1,000 and then $10,000.

  • extra work – since I have my teaching certificate I am very fortunate to be able to work as a substitute teacher. I’ve been getting a few days a month and we have been able to use all that money towards adoption expenses. My husband has also been doing some web stuff on the side in the evenings and on the weekends. For us this brings in about an extra $500 a month (except in the summer when I don't teach). 
  • arts and crafts – I have seen many people turn their creativity into something they can sell (Beth Cupitt is the master at this and the one that totally inspired me). I made canvases for a few months and was able to raise around $1,000-$1,500. I have also made and sold some herb planter boxes and wooden growth charts, that was about another $800-$1,000. Each year shortly before November our town has a craft and bake sale, this year there were a few families that are adopting that were selling baking and I was there selling some crafty stuff, right before Christmas is a great time too because everyone has someone to shop for!
  • photography – I had a photography business a few years ago and decided to use those skills. Two years ago I booked sessions over the course of a few months and did the shoots by donation. This last fall I set aside two weeks and advertised 30 minute sessions (again by donation), I had about 12 sessions and made about $1,500 during those two weeks. (I know not everyone is a photographer, but if you know someone who is, chances are they would be willing to donate their services for a few sessions.) I also have a photography workshop I teach, both in-person and online which has brought in just over $1,000 in the last few months. 
  • selling stuff – we have gone through our house and purged a lot (like the aforementioned kitchen table) as well as clothes, other furniture, books and videos. Most of it I've sold on a local Facebook buy and sell page (in our area that's the easiest and quickest place to sell stuff). 
  • affiliate programs – there are a couple different affiliate programs out there, we were able to fundraise through Ordinary Hero and Once Was Lost
  • furniture restoration - last summer we were able to find some awesome vintage pieces at garage sales and thrift stores that we repainted and then sold, like an awesome vintage ladder, wooden chairs, night stands and old school desks turned into chalkboard desks. We even have a couple projects sitting in our basement now, waiting for the weather to warm up so we can start working again! (Just a tip if you go this route: most of our paint we were able to buy was mis-tinted so it was quite a bit cheaper than buying new paint off the shelf.) 
In the last two years we've been able to raise about $20,000 through our various avenues, a HUGE help! There are so many other ideas out there as well, these are just the ones that we have done. I hope this has helped to inspire you a little. Even if you don't think these are things you can do on your own I would always recommend asking a friend to help. Furniture restoration not your thing? Ask a friend who would be great at it to help, you can purchase the supplies and they can donate their time!

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