What do you get when you blend the finest Fair Trade, Direct Trade, organic coffee with a passion for helping people? Just Love. It’s coffee with a heart! In fact, in Just Love’s first 2 years in business, it gave over $200K to adoptive families, non-profits, and the arts. Giving remains tightly embedded in the company DNA.

In addition to its pursuit of the perfect blend, Just Love Coffee is committed to empowering adoptive families by offering an easy-to-use fundraising program to offset the financial costs of adoption. What’s not to love? Great coffee from the finest growing-regions in the world and a cause-based business centered around sustainability, fair wages for farmers and promotion of other social causes.

As much as we love the mission of the company, it’s important to accurately assess the effectiveness of the fundraiser so future adoptive families can determine if Just Love Coffee is right for them. This part is tricky. Like other fundraisers, there will always be some families who sold a ton of coffee, raised a bunch of money toward their adoption, experienced great success with Just Love Coffee and tell everyone this is their all-time favorite fundraiser. On the flip side, there are some families who promoted Just Love Coffee repeatedly all over their blog, social media and at their other fundraising events with hardly any money raised toward their adoption. The fundraiser was anything but a success and definitely not worth the time and effort to promote.

In our experience, a lot of our friends and people that we’ve talked with and read about online have tried this fundraiser…with mixed results. From families that don’t have much success, we repeatedly hear the following feedback:

  • It’s too expensive. For people that don’t care what coffee they drink, this may be true. But even the lower end brands from the grocery store will cost $7 or more for a bag. If you drink Folgers or another generic brand, you definitely don’t appreciate the taste of good coffee and Just Love probably isn’t for you.
  • Shipping costs are too high. Coffee is heavy and isn’t cheap to ship. The good news is that the Just Love shipping rates have recently been lowered significantly. 1-3 bags = $6 | 3-6 bags = $8 | 6 or more bags = $10
  • It’s not worth selling for the amount you earn per bag sold. The amount that you earn varies by the items sold (see below for details). For a regular 12 oz bag of coffee, you receive $5 per bag sold. Compare that with a t-shirt fundraiser and you will probably earn about $10 per shirt sold (net after expenses).
  • You’re constantly promoting and barely selling. Promotion is important for any fundraiser whether it be a garage sale, bowl-a-thon, or t-shirt campaign. The main difference between promoting for Just Love Coffee and a one-time event is that promotion for the coffee is ongoing and could last several weeks and months while promotion for the event will take place the weeks leading up to the event. If you lack endurance to promote, this fundraiser may not be for you.
  • Coffee isn’t unique or personal. While family and friends can buy quality coffee at a similar price or cheaper elsewhere, they buy from you because it’s great coffee that supports your cause. If you can get people to buy into that, you can really have great success with this fundraiser. That said, there’s no question this one can be a challenging hurdle to overcome and some supporters would rather give in other ways or for more personal items such as an adoption t-shirt.

Bottom line: we aren’t trying to convince you that Just Love Coffee is or is not the right adoption fundraiser for your family. We love what the company stands for! However, we know your time is limited and we want to provide you with enough information to make a good decision so you can be as efficient as possible while maximizing your fundraising efforts. If you decide to move forward with the Just Love Coffee fundraiser, here are a few tips for success:

Drink Just Love Coffee. If you want others to buy it, you should drink it yourself, be familiar with the blends and have your own favorites that you recommend. Why should anyone else buy it if you don’t?

Serve Just Love Coffee. When you have visitors and guests, dinner parties, small group get-togethers and even other fundraising events, be sure to serve Just Love. Give people as many opportunities to try the coffee before pushing it on them and asking them to blindly buy it because it helps you raise money. If the coffee is really that good, people who appreciate the taste of a good cup of joe will notice and gladly pay for it.

Sell Just Love Coffee. Use your other adoption fundraising events, like an adoption carnival, garage sale (especially early in the morning), and benefit dinner (with dessert!) as the platform to sample, promote and sell your coffee. If you’re selling t-shirts, jewelry, or anything else, be sure to include the coffee bags on the same table and have all the prices clearly labeled. Make announcements throughout your event encouraging attendees to visit your products-for-sale table and make a purchase. If you offer quality items, they make great gifts for family and friends. Coffee is a great gift in the fall and cold winter months and even makes a great stocking stuffer for coffee lovers!

Promote Just Love Coffee. If your adoption is anything like ours, it might take you over 3 years to finally adopt your kiddos. During that time, people will drink a lot of coffee! Commit to promoting your coffee fundraiser for the long-run and you might just pick up some regular customers who fall in love with your coffee and are already spending $10-15 for a quality bag.

Spread the word to people you see regularly at work, your kids’ school and sporting events, church and so on. When promoting on social media, use indirect promotion so your network can learn more about the company, its blends, its mission, the positive impact it has on farmers, the causes it supports, the benefits of Fair Trade and Direct Trade. Be creative! There are thousands of different ways you can promote without being “salesy” or annoying. When people purchase, thank them publicly by posting on their Facebook wall so their friends see it too. It might lead to some extra sales from people you may not even know.

Below is information taken directly from the Just Love Coffee website with more information about the fundraising program:

How Fundraising With Just Love Works

When Just Love Coffee Founder Rob Webb and his wife, Emily, were going through the adoption process, they found that many adopting families were frustrated by the lack of a good fundraising model. The Just Love Coffee Roasters fundraising program was born as a result. Our program is unique in that we don’t require you to purchase anything. What you do need to do is tell others about it. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Getting Started

  •  In the left sidebar, select the type of storefront that fits your need and click the “Register” button.
  • Once the registration form has been successfully submitted, your storefront will be immediately active and accessible at the URL you define in the form.
  • Once signed up, you’ll be able to add a description about your need, your fundraising goal, a picture and other information to your storefront.

Step 2: Getting The Word Out

We handle everything on the back end, from roasting the coffees to order fulfillment and customer service. All you have to do is get the word out about your store. Send the link to your Just Love web page to as many people as possible to generate sales for your account.

Step 3: Reaping The Benefits

You can login to your user account to view your sales, and we will send you a check for your proceeds once a month.

That’s it! It’s very simple and requires no legwork by your or your organization other than marketing your store.

What Are The Proceed Amounts?

12oz. Coffees (non-small lot): $5
8oz. Coffee (non-small lot): $3.00
10-count Single-Serve Cups: $2.50Tastes of Africa (4) 8oz. Sampler: $7
Tour of The World (4) 8oz. Sampler: $7
Coffee Cupper’s (11) 8oz. Sampler: $19
Jamaica Blue Mountain (small lot): 4oz. ($3)  13oz. ($9)
Special Blend–I Love Mom: $5
Special Blend–Pinky Beans (Available in October only): $0
T-Shirts: $5
Sale T-Shirts: $3
Sale Hoodie: $4
Beanie: $3
Hat: $3
Stoneware Mug: $2
16oz. Steel Tumbler: $2
Aeropress: $5
Aeropress Microfilters: $.25
Coffee Scoop: $1
Chemex Brewer: $3
Chemex Filters: $0
LaMarzocco Espresso Machine: $0

photo credit: Onio-n via photopincc

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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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