Fundraising Facts 101
Many of us in the adoption world are affectionately referred to as “fundraising families.” For the purpose of this post, we will go with FF for short. Our numbers are growing…and for good reason.
Those who “affectionately” refer to us are basically…well…US! We are a tight bunch. We empathize, sympathize, strategize, rationalize, visualize, and sometimes even hypothesize on what all this fundraising stuff really means.
I don’t have hard numbers, but I heard it said not too long ago that the number of families entering the adoption journey that will be fundraising will be 8 out of 10.
So, being a FF in the homestretch of this part of the journey, I thought I would share a few thoughts on what I have learned thus far. I guess I’ll start off by being a “negative Nellie” and then end on a super positive note.
Fundraising Fact #1
There is no easy way around it. It is simply hard. And, with hard comes not always fun as well. Oh, it is loads of fun when the t-shirt orders are pouring in, and the agency deadline is far enough away you are pretty optimistic it will all come together before it’s due. By the way, we missed the deadline more than once with our agency. But, there are the many days where there is just silence. One of the plagues in Exodus was darkness. God’s word says the darkness was so strong it was felt (see Exodus 10:21). Well, in fundraising, there is silence. Often, the silence is so loud, it is heard. And, that silence leads to discouragement, loneliness, and even despair, leading us right back to hard and not always fun. Even those in the cyber community who make it look easy will admit it is hard, but each will also admit that the hard is worth every single tear, cry, and groan.
Fundraising Fact #2
The 80/20 rule applies.
Actually, according to other FF’s, it is really more like the 90/10 rule. In other words, 90% of the funds raised seem to be given by only 10% of the people with whom you are journeying through life. And, while your heart is strengthened by these generous donors, you realize the entire 30-34K (estimated cost of an international adoption) cannot be obtained by these precious few…and they realize it, too. Which leads us to…
Fundraising Fact #3
“Where did everybody go?”
They didn’t go anywhere; you did. They are where they have always been and probably where you once were as well. You have in your life your “go to” people—always there for each other, always will be. But, the fact is many others are just not going to understand with their heads or their hearts where you are going. It just is what it is. They may smile and admire what you are doing, but the truth of the matter is they just don’t get it and THAT IS OKAY!
When my 12 year old was questioning the lack of support at one point, I tried to put it in a way he could understand. I asked him if his sister were kidnapped, and I needed a million dollars ransom to save her, could he help me? He looked at me long and said, “I can’t, I don’t have it to give.” You can’t give something you don’t have to give. For some reason, known only to their hearts, these “where-did-everyone-go” people don’t have the support to give—money completely aside. You have got to let yourself off the hook with this one. The time and heart energy wasted on trying to convert even closest friends and family members is not yours to take on. Surrender it, and give it back to God. It’s His job. Can He use you? Sure, but probably not in the way you envision right now. Let it go. Or, at the very least, put it on the back burner for now.
Cause here’s the deal…
God has called you to an incredible journey. He is entrusting you with that which breaks His heart. It is so clear in His word He favors the orphan, widow, and the least of these. He trusts YOU to steward this journey, not them, at least not now. Whether these people around you ever “get it” or not, whether they come around and support you with a financial gift or fundraising support or emotional support or not…
That is THEIR journey!
Take your eyes off them, and put them on Him. He will amaze you with new people who will encourage you in so many ways. Some of the people I thought would walk shoulder-to-shoulder with us simply cannot or will not. Others I knew only as acquaintances I am now “doing life with.” Further, some people I have never met in person have provided faithful support and encouragement. God is drawing together a community. He’s good like that. I was discussing the plagues in Exodus with my husband and was amazed at how God continued to harden Pharaoh’s heart over and over. But, you know, others needed to see. They needed to see God’s power and believe. The same is true for some hardened hearts watching your journey.
Fundraising Fact #4
God funds what He favors.
I know on the “silence” days, you really wonder if it will all come together. Let me let you in on a simple truth I wish I had embraced early on. It’s real deep; steady yourself. It is four simple words but full of truth:
It is already done.
I told you it was deep. It really and truly is already done! It is already accomplished. It just has not been delivered yet, and the reason it has not been delivered yet is because God has a purpose greater than the adoption costs going on here. Your journey will look like what He needs it to look like; fraught with struggles and successes; covered in tears and triumphs; filled with hope, dreams, faith building and worship. Because, it really is not about you, and it really is not about the orphan. It is about Him, and it is about the Gospel. Each of these little journeys is a picture of the Gospel. No wonder it costs so much. For Jesus, it cost his life. No wonder it is so hard. No wonder others don’t have it to give. No wonder.
Being the picture person I am, I liken the journey of my family and your journey to pieces of a big, beautiful painting, sort of picture tiles building side-by-side and on top of each other to form the final masterpiece. As I said before, our “tiles” will take as long as He needs them to take and will look like what He desires them to look like so that He can draw from the other tiles pieces that will form around ours and continue to form the grand picture . Wow. I’m sure that is full of theological holes, but that’s what I wish I had known from day 1.
I would not for a minute dissuade you from entering the journey of adoption due to lack of funds but rather encourage you to take the next step. You don’t have to have the end in sight. You don’t even have to have the step after the next step in sight. You just have to start. A fence is no place to sit. No matter how you dress it up, a fence is a fence, and it’s just a barrier. Hop off one side or the other. You’ve already been on “that” side. And while it may be safe, your “picture tile,” is losing its color. Watch as He blows your socks off with what He will do with your story. In the end, there WILL be enough, because He is enough.
Dale and Kim have been married for 24 years and are busy parents of three childen (14, 12 and 9). Although they thought they were “done” and even made it official they would not be enlarging their family, God led them to His heart for the orphan. They are now waiting on a referral of a toddler girl from Ethiopia. They consider it an privilege to steward the fundraising journey and have agreed to “never say never.” You can read more about their family and follow their adoption journey on their blog.
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