Top Ten T-shirt Fundraiser Tips - Part 2

By Cherri Walrod – Founder and Director of © June 2016

T-shirt fundraisers are becoming increasingly popular with adoptive families as a fundraising option. This is new territory to me so I reached out to an expert to get some tips to help guide you.

I talked with Tom Elliott from Bonfire Funds ( recently and we discussed how T-shirt fundraisers can be used for adoption. Because there is so much valuable information, this is part two of a two part series.

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help guide you to the best options for an adoption fundraiser using T-shirt sales.

Last time we talked about:

1. Legitimacy

2. T-shirt

3. Return Policy

4. Percentage of profit

5. Upfront cost and/or inventory

If you would like more detail for any of these, please be sure to look for Part 1 of this article in the May issue of Adoption Today.

Let’s finish up with the next five tips:

6. Available designs - What designs are available and which ones sell the best? The company you choose should be able to help you out with customizing your design or they can even recommend a design which has sold well for other families. We find that simple designs work best, especially ones with a universal message. Many shirts focus on the concept of adoption, but it seems like the more successful ones espouse ideas that are associated with adoption. (Love, family, hope) We’ve seen excellent one-word shirts like the Durham family adoption: or short phrases like the Koch family: or the Yax family Bonfire has a number of free designs located right in our free T-shirt design tool. We’ve also created a number of free adoption-centric designs in this blog post:

7. Fundraiser Timeline - How much time are you allowed to hold your fundraiser? One thing that I am learning about fundraising is that deadlines are a good thing. Holding your fundraising timeline to a maximum of three weeks is preferable. Either people will order in that amount of time or they won’t. Bonfire also recommends this shorter timeline because they print up all of the t-shirts for each fundraiser at one time. This keeps their cost down which saves you money in the long run. Absolutely - it’s best not to keep people waiting too long. Also, we find that fundraisers have that initial “bump” in the beginning when they’re announced, and then another bump when they’re about to end. Keeping your momentum up is key.

8. Fundraising Platform - What type of fundraising page or platform is used? When you use Bonfire’s Fundraising pages, their platform allows for people to make donations in addition to or instead of ordering a t-shirt. Using a fundraising platform has a number of advantages over traditional fundraisers. A fundraising platform lets you tell your story and use the power of social media to share it. A platform that allows supporters to leave a donation, buy a product (like a shirt) or both is crucial to maximizing funds raised.

9. Fundraiser payout - When are the funds paid out to the family? Bonfire sends the profit from the fundraiser directly to you within a week of the fundraiser end date. Once a fundraiser ends successfully, the fundraiser organizer gets an email notifying them that they have a payout available. Once they request their payout on and supply any additional financial information (PayPal information, etc.) they will receive the funds within four business days. In practice, payouts usually happen far sooner than that, in about two business days.

10. Social Media - Many adoption fundraisers have great Facebook pages or groups, Instagram accounts, and adoption blogs. The most successful adoption fundraisers use these platforms to build up their bases of support prior to their T-shirt fundraiser. Once they have a loyal following of their friends, family, colleagues and possibly others in the adoption community, the T-shirt fundraiser can help lots of people, far quicker.

Below is a link to a handy promotion checklist courtesy of Bonfire Funds. This is a general checklist so some points may not apply to adoption fundraisers, but the key points are all applicable:

In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns or need adoption funding solutions, please be sure to visit or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As always, I am happy to help in any way that I can!

Cherri Walrod
Founder and Director of Resources4adoption
Your Adoption Funding Solutions

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.

Questions? Don't hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.