We are still waiting to hear back from our home study agency to start scheduling our home visits, so our paper chase is on a temporary hold. During this time, we are trying to take advantage of our spare time by getting as much fundraising out of the way as possible.
Our t-shirt sales ended this week and overall, I would say were quite successful.
I thought I would share a review of my experience with the T-Shirt sale,
in case any of you adoptive parents are considering doing a
campaign to raise money for your own journey. Even if you are not an
adoptive parent, maybe you have to do a t-shirt campaign for another
organization or cause. Either way, here is a recap of our experience:
My biggest surprise was how much better the adult shirts sold than the toddler's or children's sizes. I was thinking that the bright colors of the shirts combined with a very kid-friendly design would really be a hit, especially among adoptive families (and you better believe I was cross posting that sale all over different adoptive family Facebook groups). Unfortunately, we ended up only selling 6 toddler sizes and 3 children's, and we ordered 1 of each category. This seems to be a fairly common occurrence- maybe it's because parents figure their children will grow out of the shirt too fast to make it a wise investment, but who knows. The good news is that we sold 75 adult shirts (and yes, at least 5 of those were for us, but I am still very pleased!)
We used the website TeeSpring, mainly because I had done a couple of purchases through them for fundraisers put on by the animal rescue I volunteer with and found them to be very user friendly, simple, and easy to work with. I know that with the first sale the rescue did some of the shirts came in sized a little weird, and Teespring was very flexible in offering refunds to buyers. There is also zero upfront investment from the seller, and they handle all of the shipping, which is nice.
In case any of you are considering a T-Shirt fundraiser for your own journeys, here are my personal opinions based on the experience we have had so far-
In hindsight, here are the downsides to using Teespring:
-The only times to reach anyone by phone is during working hours
-I kept having issues where it would show I made a purchase successfully but then I never got a receipt. Upon further review, it would show my order was cancelled, even though I never requested that. I really hope it was just a glitch for me and no one else!
-You have do launch separate campaigns for children, adult, and toddler sizes, and because we sold so few of the kid's and toddler's shirts, we netted almost zero profit from those campaigns.
-They do not disclose to you who ordered, so if people don't let me know, I will never know exactly who placed orders, and what colors and designs they chose.
And you have to take the bad with the good, so here are the perks of using Teespring:
-The design tool is very easy to use and they have a large selection of pre-loaded graphics. I did have a little trouble getting the Mandarin characters to carry over (I guess it's glitchy when you have two languages in one design), but the support team was very responsive in getting it fixed right away for me when I called them
-The site is fairly advanced, and lets you offer promotions, discounts, and up-sell incentives to buyers
-They handle all of the shipping
-Communication with buyers and sellers is excellent- clear, concise, and very quick
-I love the feature that allows you to message all of your buyers for your campaign
-Not having to pre-buy the shirts and then re-sell them and worry about shipping them out was a HUGE perk for us!
-The shirts shipped in less than 12 hours from the campaign ending, so they are very quick!
All in all, we made a little over $630 profit from the sale, which I am very happy with. Subtract out the $150+ we spent on shirts for ourselves and our little one, and we still made almost $500, which will certainly be a help to us. I knew going into the endeavor that it wouldn't be a huge money maker, but what is more important to me is that every time someone wears one of these shirts, it will help raise awareness for orphans worldwide. I hope to make a photo book for our child of everyone wearing their new shirts so they can always know how many people contributed to their adoption.
One tidbit of wisdom for any sellers- keep reminding people, even though you feel like you are being so annoying about it! We launched a 21 day campaign, and had a very slow 10 days in the middle, and then everyone seemed to scramble to get their orders in at the last minute. I created an "event" on Facebook, as well as posted on my own timeline. Ask your friends to share your posts to help spread the word.
Our next big event is a Yard Sale/Bake Sale/Pop Can drive we are planning for September 13th. I've been passing out flyers around my neighborhood and have already had a few friends drop off items to be sold. Now it's time for me to get busy pricing those items and getting everything organized! There was a post a while back in one of the fundraising groups I belong to about a traveling banner, and I lucked out and got on the reservation list. It's a "pay it forward" process, where the only thing you need to do in order to use the banner is agree to mail it to the next person on the list... how neat!
If you live in the Grand Rapids area, come on out on the 13th to check out our sale! We will have a TON of items, as I've got quite a few friends and family members donating so far! If you'd like to contribute items to be sold, pop cans, or baked goods please let me know. Or maybe you'd just like to help out the week before with sorting, pricing, or sign making... I'll be needing all hands on deck!
If you do not live near Grand Rapids but would still like to help out... you of course can mail us your bottle slips :)
Another tip I learned from one of the Facebook groups was to get a credit card reader. Thankfully Square has them for free, and you get the first $1,000 in swipes processed without any fees. Additionally, if anyone else signs up under me they get $1,000 in swipes free, and we get an additional $1,000. I think having this device will really help our sale- I know there have been so many times I've driven past a yard sale and wanted to stop but I didn't have any cash on hand.
Here is the link to sign up: https://squareup.com/i/A4CF8CD0
If you are an adoptive parent, and looking for fundraising ideas, here are three very helpful Facebook groups I have found:
-Red Thread Trading Post
-Shop With a Purpose- Support Adoption Fundraisers
-Adoption Fundraisers and Support
I'm also working my way through the book "Adopt without Debt" written by Julie Gumm which so far has been very insightful.
That's all for tonight- stay tuned for an update as soon as we hear back from our Home Study social worker.
Here is a picture of the banner which we will be using in front of the house: