J. Paul Getty famously said, “I’d rather have 1% of the efforts of 100 people, than 100% of my own efforts.”

Crowdfunding is the collection of funds from backers, the “crowd”, to finance a project or initiative typically through online platforms.

By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard of crowdfunding, right? If not, you’re either “old” or asleep at the wheel. I know I know, that probably wasn’t the most effective way to connect with our readers, but there may be some truth to it. Here’s why. In 2013, crowdfunding websites raised a staggering $5.1 billion, a 91% increase over the prior year. Crowdfunding is getting really big really fast and is expected to continue to grow very quickly. And that’s GREAT news for adoptive families!

You’re probably wondering, are there crowdfunding platforms that allow families to raise funds for adoption? You bet. A lot of them. Our favorite adoption crowdfunding site is Pure Charity, which is why we’ve partnered with them. Another good one with fewer bells and whistles, AdoptTogether, is a crowdfunding platform developed specifically for adoption. Since it was founded in 2012, AdoptTogether has helped for more than 1,200 adoptive families!

Crowdfunding is different from other traditional forms of fundraising and can help with your adoption in 3 major ways:

1. Crowdfunding campaigns are perfect for social media which provides immediate access to a massive audience that you can share your story with. It leverages the power of people. Your people. And your people’s people. It doesn’t require sending letters or awkward face-to-face meetings asking friends and family members for money. You can still do those things if they fit your style and personality but you don’t have to. Create an awesome story on video and promote it on social media. More people will see it and give.

2. Fundraising is completely online. In fact, it’s quickly turning mobile. Gone are the days of waiting several weeks for checks to arrive, clear and be recorded. Today’s campaigns are updated real-time and donations are made from EVERYWHERE! Within a matter of minutes, you have the ability to receive a donation, get by an automated response letting you know how much was given and from whom, and say “thank you” to your donor.

3. Small donations from a lot of people. They add up quickly. There’s an old saying, “many hands make for light lifting.” Instead of getting one $1,000 donation from a family member, it’s very possible to receive one hundred $10 gifts from family, friends and people you don’t even know.

While crowdfunding sites offer tremendous benefits and are quickly growing in popularity, crowdfunding may not be the best place to start for every adoptive family. For example, consider matching grants. Let’s assume you were approved for a matching grant by Lifesong For Orphans up to a maximum of $2,500. That means if you raise $2,500, Lifesong will match you dollar-for-dollar up to $2,500 for a total of $5,000. That’s $2,500 in free money you would be giving up if you started with a crowdfunding platform that doesn’t offer a match.

Of course, it depends on your fundraising strategy and what you’re comfortable with. You could run a small fundraising campaign to select family and friends through Lifesong to raise the $2,500 and receive the matching grant funds first for a total of $5,000. Then switch to a crowdfunding platform, like Pure Charity, and open it up to all of your existing network on social media. By doing this, you maximize the amount of funds available to you and don’t leave any money on the table (just like if your employer offered a dollar-for-dollar match of your 401(K) contributions and you declined – you would be turning down free money).

Adoption crowdfunding is having a profound effect on how families fundraise for adoption. Some families are even using it to finance their entire adoptions…we’ve seen it as high as $50K!. These days, most people are very comfortable online, willing to share personal stories and important life events via social media. If that’s you, consider if crowdfunding should be a key part of your fundraising strategy. Start A Fundraising Profile Now!

Do you have a successful crowdfunding story? Tell us about it. We’d love to share your story and help other adoptive families.

photo credit: Ryan McGuire via gratisography

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Jeremy Resmer

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

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