Maybe you’ve raffled off gift cards as prizes at an adoption fundraiser or included them in gift baskets at your backyard BBQ and silent auction event, but have you considered using gift cards in other creative ways to generate funds for your adoption? Gift cards offer an easy way to tap into funds that you probably haven’t even thought possible.

I hate fat wallets. There have been occasions where I couldn’t even snap my wallet shut because I had so many credit cards, coins or gift cards in there. Super frustrating. What’s even more annoying are the gift cards that I find myself hauling around with me everywhere I go knowing good and well that I won’t be using them anytime soon. Case in point, I have a Jamba Juice gift card from 2012 when we lived in Denver with about $7.45 on it that continues to maintain its place in my wallet even though there’s not even a Jamba Juice within a 20 mile radius of my house!

So what are my options? I can certainly continue to haul it around with me, yes. And while I refuse to throw that Jamba Juice gift card away, the only other option is to take it out of my wallet and put it in some box or drawer at home, only to be forgotten forever. I mean, I can’t “re-gift” it with a $7.45 balance! However, there is another option that many people aren’t aware of: selling it online in exchange for cold, hard cash.

Now, how does this relate to adoption fundraising, you might ask? Light bulb!

Sell Gift Cards To Fundraise For Adoption

Ask your friends and family to donate unused and/or unwanted gift cards to you, cash them in, and apply the funds toward your adoption expenses! You can sell gift cards online and get up to 92% of the value in cash. You help donors by offering them a way to get rid of their “Jamba Juice” gift cards and they support you by helping to fundraise for a great cause. Genius.

And don’t think that there aren’t a lot of “unwanted” gift cards out there. A 2014 report showed that more than $44 BILLION in gift cards have gone unused in the past 6 years! Safe to say I’m not the only one with a bulging wallet full of gift cards.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Send a message to your friends and family about your Gift Card Fundraiser. Ask them to mail or hand-deliver the cards to you. Announce it on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and on your blog. Make a big deal out of it and continue to get it out in front of people over 2-4 weeks. Maybe even consider offering a “prize” of some sort to the top gift card donors, such as a Christmas ornament or an adoption t-shirt.
  • Once you have the gift cards in hand, it’s time to cash ’em in. There are several websites out there that cash in cards, but after researching them all, a couple stand out above the rest: Cardpool and Gift Card Rescue. Create an account on one or both sites and enter the cards’ info, and viola, a check will be mailed to you within the week!  They will even provide you with a pre-paid mailing label to send in your cards that have to be physically mailed in.
  • If you receive gift cards that have small amounts, say $5 or less, instead of trading them in for cash, you may want to hold onto those for other adoption-related expenses. For example, if you are given cards for an office supply store, you could use those to purchase supplies for an upcoming adoption fundraiser.

Buy Gift Cards To Save Money For Adoption

Ok, so now you’ve sold unwanted gift cards donated to you by friends and family. Now, it’s time for you to BUY gift cards as another way to fund your adoption! Say what???

Here is our challenge: plan out your shopping for each month, including online shopping, birthday/wedding/anniversary/graduation/baby gifts, gas, groceries, dining out, clothing, electronics, etc. Nearly all of the top brands offer gift cards, probably because they know the full value will not be redeemed. It’s free money to them. You can play the game too. The more you play, the more you save.

Now, hop on Cardpool or Gift Card Rescue to purchase the gift cards you need to do your shopping. For example, if you have estimated that you will be spending $200 in fuel that month and have a BP gas station nearby, purchase a gift card for $200 and use it to fill up your car. You can buy a BP gift card at approximately 4% off, so take that savings of $8 and put that toward your adoption expenses. We did some quick calculations and determined that we could save about $80/month using this method. If your adoption takes a couple of years to complete, you could potentially save about $2,000 toward your adoption out of your own pocket without reducing the amount of money that you actually spend. Brilliant!

Want to take it a step further and save even more money on your everyday expenditures? This is what our family does, and it only takes about 1 minute extra of our time. Now that have your gift cards in hand and are ready to do some online shopping, first go to Ebates.com and find your merchant. When you click on that store or website, it opens up a “ticket” and takes you that webpage for you to do your shopping. Once you place an order, you will earn cash back that will be deposited into your Ebates account. Again, more cash saved that you can put toward your adoption.

Refer-A-Friend and Everybody Wins

Invite your family and friends to get in on the action and save money too. Every time you refer a friend and they sign up for an account, you get $5. The amount is the same on both sites, Cardpool and Raise. There is even bonus money for your friends and family if they create an account using your referral link. Bottom line: you save money, you introduce your friends to an easy, practical way that helps them save money, and you get paid for it. How cool is that? 

We love these amazing sites that offer discounted gift cards for you and me to save big bucks and apply the funds toward our adoptions. Get Started Now!

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Lori Resmer

Child Advocate. Entrepreneur. Fitness Junkie. Mommy and Wife. Lori is an adoption fundraising coach that provides creative strategies and resources that empower families to adopt without debt.

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