Five Steps to a Successful Adoption Fundraising Plan

By Cherri Walrod – Founder and Director of © April 2012

When my family began our first adoption process over ten years ago, there were so many times when we felt completely lost. It felt like we were crawling around in a dark room with a small flashlight having to feel our way around…especially when it came to the topic of adoption financing. There was, and still is, a lot of great information available to families about the adoption process, but there is still a serious lack of resources available to help families put together a solid adoption financial plan.

Since beginning over two years ago, I have talked to hundreds of adoptive families. It has become very apparent that you are still experiencing what I felt all those years ago. You need someone to come into the room and turn on the light!

These five steps will help guide you through a successful adoption fundraising plan.

1. Research

Investigation and research is building block number one because you much first know what is available to you. Many people are completely unaware of just how many options there are available today. When I first began my research into adoption grants and loans over ten years ago, I was amazed and encouraged by what was available. However, you must narrow those options down for what will most likely work for your family’s situation and needs.

There are four main categories for adoption financing options: Your own personal savings, adoption grants, adoption loans and adoption fundraisers. Within these categories there are some sub-categories. For example, there are three types of adoption grant options: Direct grants, matching grants and fundraising grants. Likewise, adoption loans have several options as well as some limitations.

Many of the adoption grant and loan options do have some kind of application criteria as well. Examples of common application criteria includes: Marital status, religious affiliation, income guidelines, and so on.

Thankfully, there are now tools available to help you. is the direct result of my desire to help you sort through the maze of options and narrow down your list of viable options.

2. Planning

Once you have narrowed down all of the options for what will work for your family, you must take some time to develop a workable and realistic plan.

Networking with other families can be a great way to help you as you develop this plan. A few adoption grant and loan organizations actually offer some financial planning services to families. You may even need to invest in resources that can help lead you step-by-step through this process.

Since fundraisers and matching grant opportunities can function in a similar way, it would be a good idea to assemble a team of people to help you with this planning phase.

If you are planning to apply for other grants or loans, this is where you should begin gathering financial documents and the application paperwork.

3. Preparation

The preparation phase involves laying the ground work and figuring out all of the logistics so you will be ready when it is time to implement your plan.

Fundraising and matching grants: You should have regular planning meetings with the team you have assembled to work out all of the logistics.

Direct grant and loan applicants: You will need several people lined up who are willing to write letters of reference for your applications. Please be courteous and give them ample time to prepare their letters in advance of any application deadlines you may have. You may also need the services of a notary public. Be prepared for the fact that many adoption grant organizations require quite a detailed listing of your financial records.

4. Implementation

This is the actual “doing” the part of the plan where you may “get your hands dirty” if you will.

Fundraiser and matching grants: This is when you would actually host your event. In some cases this may be a process in and of itself. This may be true if you are sending out letters asking to support your fundraising event.

Grant and loan applicants: Working to write your story and complete your applications would fall in this phase for you.

5. Follow-up

This part of the plan involves tying up any loose ends, cleaning up, following-up and thanking those who played any part in helping you with the other phases of your plan. Demonstrating an “attitude of gratitude” is critical to any successful relationship and could certainly prove crucial of you ever need to enlist the help of others again. The summary here is this: clean up what you mess up, fix anything you tear up, put away what you got out, leave things in better shape than you found them and thank everyone who helped you!

This may seem like a lot of information to take in all at once. Please take heart and allow this information to empower and encourage you. There are tools, resources and people who can help you. Take one small step at a time and you will be able to reach your goal…holding your child in your arms.

Cherri Walrod is mom to six children and the Founder and Director of is the #1 educational resource for adoptive families seeking financial assistance. From help in writing compelling grant and loan applications to providing tips for fundraisers, Resources4Adoption offers personalized support for each family.

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