How does the whole thing really work? It’s much like a 5K walk or golf fund-raising event. Once an adoptive family or project manager has been approved by Lifesong for Orphans, they enlist the help of their friends and form a team. The team then sends letters out to their contacts asking them to consider a one-day sponsorship as they work on a widow’s house.
The adoptive family or project manager is responsible for locating a widow in their community who owns her home and but is not in a position to manage its upkeep. Once they have identified a widow and her needs, the team gives local merchants the opportunity to donate supplies for the day. The team then spends a day working on the widow’s house.
100% of the money raised goes toward the cause – the cost of the adoption, church adoption fund, or orphan care initiative. Nothing is taken out for the operating expenses of either Lifesong or Both Hands.
At what point in the adoption process can I apply and how long does it take to be approved? Applications are accepted after your home study is completed. The approval process usually takes 8-10 weeks. Through this application you can also apply for an interest free loan and matching grants offered by Lifesong. You can download the application here - http://www.LifesongForOrphans.org/bothHands. If you are only applying for Both Hands and foregoing the opportunity to apply for the loan/match grant, please indicate that on your application so it will be expedited for approval within 2 weeks.
What kinds of projects do you do? We usually recommend finding projects that are labor intensive (landscaping, painting, cleaning, de-cluttering) rather than supply intensive (major construction overhaul). If your team is composed of skilled construction workers with connections likely to yield donations of supplies, then major construction overhauls are more achievable.
When is the best time to hold a project? Both Hands projects take place year round (though winter tends to thin the pool of available volunteers). The best time of year really depends on the location of the project and types of projects being completed.
How much time does it take to put a project together? After approval, the Both Hands project process usually takes about 6-8 weeks to allow for planning and execution of the project. You can shorten or lengthen that timeline as it works best for you and your team. The critical factor in this process is the quality of your team.
Who is responsible for finding the widow’s house? Both Hands will help the project manager draw up ideas for places to find a widow in need. Your church’s benevolence department or senior ministry may be able to direct you to a widow in need. We have also had luck contacting meal delivery programs. The drivers and program directors can often identify a person in need.
How do we get supplies for the project? The supplies for the work on the widow’s house are donated by local businesses. After you have assessed the needs for the widow’s house, Both Hands will provide you and your team with a letter for merchants who donate. You and your team can then use the letter to gather donated supplies, food, etc. from local businesses.
Can money collected from donors be used to pay for supplies for the project? No, all monies donated to the project are administered by Lifesong for Orphans and those funds can only be used for the designated cause. For family projects, more information on what qualifies as adoption-related expenses, please contact Lifesong for Orphans. www.lifesongfororphans.org
What are expenses for the entire process? The goal is to have 100% of the supplies donated for the work on the widow’s house. That is why we usually encourage our teams to prioritize projects that are labor intensive rather than supply intensive. Cleaning, de-cluttering, landscaping, painting, etc. are examples of a labor intensive project. The printing and postage costs of sending out all the letters should be the only cost to the adopting family. Some projects have even been blessed to have the stamps donated by volunteers.
How is money raised? The money is raised through the sponsorship process. Each team member, as part of the team, is asked to send a letter (written for them by the project manager) to their entire list of contacts. The letter explains the program and gives people the opportunity to sponsor them as a worker for the day. The tax-deductable gift is sent to the adoptive family’s or designated cause’s account with Lifesong for Orphans.
Can we use social media outlets instead of sending out snail mail letters? The old fashion way of sending out letters first has proved the most effective initial contact to donors. You can use social media as an additional tool to promote your project.
We have discovered that most people require 3-4 impressions before they react or move into action. We recommend that team members send out the fundraising letter via snail mail, then follow up within a week to check to see if they received the letter over the phone and/or via email (with an attached digital version). Then after the project, follow up again via email with the link to the video created after the project.
What if volunteers only want to work on the widow’s house, but not fundraise? This is a BOTH Hands project—one hand for the widow and one hand for the orphan. Without raising sponsorship for the day of work it becomes a ONE hand project. The second hand, for the orphan, also needs to be served. You have to decide how you are going to handle this with your team. If you have a key worker who is experienced in construction and he/she is organizing the whole project, then it would probably be prudent to be content with that person not sending letters. Their contribution is their talent and organizational skills.
Keep in mind, if you continually let people on the team with no commitment to sending letters out, the funds you raise will be affected.
Who is Lifesong for Orphans? Lifesong for Orphans is a ministry that seeks to bring joy and purpose to orphans through adoption funding, global orphan care, church partnership, and foster care outreach. We seek to mobilize the church, His body, where each member can provide a unique and special service: some to adopt, some to care, some to give. In partnership with Both Hands Foundation, Lifesong assists in reviewing family applications and providing administrative support and bookkeeping. To learn more about Lifesong for Orphans, please visit our website: www.lifesongfororphans.org
Does Both Hands work with single parents who are adopting? Yes, contingent upon application submission and approval through Lifesong for Orphans.
Can I do a Both Hands project for post-adoption fundraising? Generally speaking, no. We have found that once the adoption is complete, the perception is that the goal has been accomplished and there is considerably less enthusiasm among potential team members to ask their friends to sponsor them for a project like this.
Both Hands and Lifesong for Orphans are 501c3 organizations. All donations are tax-deductable.