One of our favorite things to do is to share stories from our partners. And, in this article, we have the chance to tell you about Julie Dochow. What makes Julie’s story great is that she wasn’t seeking to adopt a child when she traveled to China last year. However, something happened, and soon she was on the journey toward adoption. And, as often happens with families, her family too needed adoption fundraising ideas to help raise money to adopt a son. The following is Julie’s story.
An Unexpected Journey in China Begins
As we mentioned above, Julie traveled to China last year with an organization called Loving Ambassadors. The purpose of the trip by the Americans was to gather information on children waiting for adoption. Meaning, they gathered this data with photos, videos, and any updates for their files. As Julie tells it, “While I was there, I met some amazing, delightful kids. But there was one little boy that completely stole my heart.” Soon, Julie was on an unexpected journey and looking for an adoption fundraiser.
Excellent Adoption Fundraising Ideas
Julie explained that when she returned, she was “motivated to do whatever it takes to get back to him as quickly as possible.” But as adoptive families understand, it involves a lot of paperwork—and patience. And, yes, it also means having to raise money in most cases. While there are various kinds of awesome ideas, one of the women who traveled with Julie gave her a creative adoption fundraising idea.
The woman who went to China with Julie spoke to her about a shoe drive fundraiser. It turns out that the other woman recently completed a shoe drive fundraiser with Funds2Orgs for her adoption. Candidly, Julie shared with us that she never heard of a shoe drive fundraiser. However, she was game and thought if the other woman could do it, so could she. Also, she was excited more to ask people for money rather than money.
The Success of a Shoe Drive Fundraiser for an Adoption
As Julie tells it, she was a bit nervous about collecting 2,500 pairs of shoes. The reason she had a bit of anxiety was that she did not have an extensive social network. However, she was thrilled that once she got started on this adoption fundraiser that she was “surprised how many people wanted to get involved and help.” She did a bit of investigating about the fundraiser by merely talking to the people she knew. As she explained, she wanted to see what people thought and to gauge interest.
Since shoe drive fundraisers are one of the most fun adoption fundraising ideas, the people she spoke to were happy to jump on board! So, in short order, Julie decided to get started on the adoption fundraiser. (Check out how to do a shoe drive fundraiser). Once she decided to move forward, she announced her adoption fundraiser on social media. As she tells it, she planned to gather shoes from friends, but also put some collection boxes around town.
Promoting an Adoption Fundraiser Around Town
Of course, social media always works to get the word out about any fundraiser. However, it’s still important to promote your adoption fundraiser in various ways. Since it was garage sale season at the time, Julie took flyers with the boy’s picture and information to garage sales. In the process, she asked people to please support her cause with gently worn, used and new shoes. What’s more, at the garage sales, she asked people to please give the shoes toward her adopting instead of selling them. Guess what happened? People gave the shoes they no longer wanted or needed.
Julie also reached out to the local public school and the gym she attends. As you imagine, those two places are excellent sources for collecting shoes and sneakers. Something great that happened was that the gym agreed to become a drop-off location. And, it turns out that it became the most successful collection point as people gave their shoes for the adoption fundraiser. Julie’s oldest son also got involved with his high school. Another fantastic experience for the family and Julie was that her son’s high school decided to support the fundraiser. In the process, they made the shoe drive fundraiser part of the community service hours for a school club.
Julie watched fundraising videos on YouTube. By the way, families have promoted their adoption fundraisers through YouTube. (Check out this video of one of our other adoption partners).Still, Julie had another creative idea for spreading the word about her family’s fundraiser. She reached out to her church and also to groups she knows for homeschooling. Both of these groups were generous, and she collected a lot of shoes. She explained the best part, “when people from my groups went to their own circles that I’m not a part of and collected for me.” For example, a ladies Bible study that Julie does not attend collected many shoes. Also, one friend of Julie’s asked her whole extended family and through the holidays.
Julie’s husband happens to travel extensively for his job. And, when he took a trip through the U.S., he carried an empty duffle bag with him. Yes, you guessed it. On his trips, he collected shoes and brought them back home for the adoption fundraiser. Julie offers that as a tip for families who may have someone who travels often and gets a free checked bag.
In the end, Julie mentioned that she stretched. She knew nothing of fundraising, and yet she found herself researching adoption fundraising ideas. She said, “This whole process of adopting and fundraising has really grown and stretched me in that area.” Julie and her family are looking to adopt the little boy in China soon. And, from our family to Julie’s, we wish them lots of luck! Thank you for doing a shoe drive fundraiser and allowing us to be a part of your family’s journey.
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