Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Adoption Fundraising Part 1: Mindy & Nick

Many of you have asked for me to share about fundraising for your adoption.  I'm super excited to share lots of ideas with you, because I have kind of become an Adoption Fundraising Specialist {I gave myself that title}. So I am putting together a post with LOTS of ideas.  {If you have one you would like to share, please email me and I will include it in my next post.}

In the meantime, I asked my friend Mindy to share with you about an amazingly successful event she and her husband put on for their adoption.

I have known Mindy since we were tots.  We grew up in the same church, and I used to babysit for her younger sisters, one of whom eventually became Penelope's nanny {when I was working at my business full-time}.  Mindy and Nick just brought their baby Silas home from Utah two months ago {they used our same rad agency}, who I am hoping will me Baby #3's boyfriend.  You can read more about the Kinnier's on Mindy's blog: Finding Sunday.

Here's one of the things they did that helped them raise $35,000 in three months {in Mindy's words}:

Way back when (in June), when we were working on raising $35,000 for our adoption, we hosted an auction and dinner at our house.  This was the fundraiser that brought in the most money for us, so I thought I would share some of the details in case anyone wants to do something similar in their own fundraising endeavors.  We figured this auction would bring in about $2,000, but in my little dream world, I secretly hoped it would bring in closer to $5,000.

We hosted dinner in our backyard.  We asked a couple different Chick-fil-A franchises to donate food, and they were so generous to provide enough to feed 100 people.  For dessert, I made a couple different kinds of cupcakes, with recipes from my sister Kim, who runs Caramel Cup.  We had a suggested donation of $15 for the dinner. We just left a little basket on the table next to this sign and let people drop in money if they wanted to.

Our friend Wes is an amazing DJ, and was kind enough to offer his services for the party.

Inside our living room was the auction. We moved all of our furniture onto our deck in the backyard for extra seating, so we had a cleared out space inside.  We put together some items ourselves, but we also had lots of donations.  We posted about it on social media and asked for donations in our support letter (here is a later version of that letter, if you're interested).  Lots of people donated items and services.  I'm including a list of all the items we had at the end of this post.  I'm so bummed that I didn't get pictures of it all set up before people got there, but, as per usual, I was running around up until the last minute trying to get everything ready.  So, here it is after all the items were gone...

And here it is during the bidding...

I designed this bid sheet to put with each item.  I just wrote in the item name, the value, the starting bid, and what the bids had to increase by. The auction was open from 7-9pm.  It was so much fun to see people strategizing and outbidding each other.  People got really into it.

I also ended up setting up all the stuff I sell at boutiques in our dining room.  It was not a part of the original plan, but it made sense.  I just put a little box on the table in case people wanted to buy anything.  I ended up selling A LOT, so it was a good addition.

We had such an incredible turnout.  There were so many more people than we expected there, some I had never even met. People ate, socialized, stayed late, and gave generously.

At the end of the night, we announced the winners.
Then, we had all this money to count!

The Grand Total:
Far exceeding our expectation and my wildest dreams.
Bottom line: God is good and we have incredibly generous people in our lives.
It was an AMAZING night!

Here are a few tips, in case you decide to do one of these for yourself:
  • Ask for donations for the auction in advance
  • Ask for food donations.  It is so much easier to not have to worry about making food.  If you can't get it donated, try to do it potluck style so you aren't spending lots of time/money preparing food.
  • Invite anyone and everyone you know.  We sent out a letter and invited all our friends. We also posted it on facebook and shared about it with our church.  We even let our friends invite people.
  • Delegate. Figure out the different things that need to be done throughout the night, and assign different people jobs.  Have someone oversee the silent auction.  People can direct questions their way, since you will most likely be pulled in a million directions. You can also have someone keep track of the food table to refill anything, someone to do trash duty, someone taking pictures, etc.  It would also be helpful to have someone that manages the items and money that get exchanged at the end of the auction.  We did not have someone do this, and things got a little confusing at the end....it obviously still worked out.
  • If you have other fundraisers that you are doing, like selling things, or some kind of pass along card (here's ours), consider putting those out too.

That's all I can think of for now.  If you have any questions or if you want any of the signs or bidding sheets for your own auction, feel free to email me at findingsundayblog@gmail.com.

And now for the list of items that were auctioned off:
  • Rip Curl Clothes and Hats (we have a friend who worked for them and donated TONS of stuff)
  • Trader Joe's Basket with lots of goodies and a gift card
  • Set of Burlap Pillows made by a friend (you can kind of see them in one of the pictures above)
  • 2 night stay at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort and Spa
  • Owl Purse with Lots of Goodies for a Little Girl
  • Basket of Children's Chapter Books
  • 5 Different Adorable Lamps made by a friend
  • Stella and Dot Bracelet
  • Pilates Basket with Pilates Gear and a Gift Certificate for a Class
  • Voluspa Basket
  • One Hour Photo Shoot with X & V Photography (the same photographer who took AMAZING pictures of Silas that I can't wait to share! You can see some of them on my Instagram.)
  • Picnic/Beach Basket
  • Adirondack Chairs made by Nick (my husband)
  • Basket of Children's Picture Books
  • Caramel Cup Cake
  • Quilt made by my Grandma
  • Twirpy Woods Block Frame and Birdhouse
  • Baby Basket with a Quilt made by Nick's mom and other fun Baby stuff
  • Knit Scarves from iKnit2
  • Custom Succulent Monogram Wreath
  • One Month CrossFit Membership to CrossFit Tustin

    In the near (hopefully) future, I'm going to write a post breaking down all the things we did to raise the $35,000 for our adoption.  But really it wasn't us.  It was God.  How else can anyone raise that much money in 3 months? 


  1. Great post, I appreciate you and I would like to read your next post. Thanks for sharing this useful information. try fundraising on http://www.rallyhero.com
    Start a fundraiser
    Fundraising websites
    Create a fundraiser

  2. Really? Actually this information can be motivating and inspiring as well for many. The best fundraising websites can use this for gearing up fundraising.

  3. Twitter is one of the most popular and fastest growing social media websites these days. There are thousands if not millions of users already on Twitter so chances are good that some of your supporters are already registered and tweeting. how to ask for donations online

  4. Impressive web site, Distinguished feedback that I can tackle. Im moving forward and may apply to my current job as a pet sitter, which is very enjoyable, but I need to additional expand. Regards. perpetual fostering