You Can Make a Stand with Vivienne Harr
In Sweet Success (our free eBook with fresh ideas on the lemonade stand) there is an activity that suggests you connect your interests, a charity or a cause to your lemonade stand.
We found out about a girl who did just that in a very big way! We’d like to introduce you to Vivienne Harr. She learned about the plight of children who live in modern slavery (18 million of them) and decided to do something to help.
She committed to set up a lemonade stand every day for a year with the goal of raising enough money to free 500 children, keep them as safe as possible, and support their education in order to keep them free.
I wanted to learn more about Vivienne’s experience as Lemonade Stand expert and a Girlpreneur for Good so I contacted Make A Stand (the company her parents have created to continue Vivienne’s cause).
What did you do each day to set up your stand?
I’d make the lemonade with my mom, put up the wooden stand, and write the day (for example Day #27) on a chalk board. We’d also come up with a fun expression to write on the sign like “Compassion is not Compassion without Action” and “Hold Hope in your Cup”.
Where did you set it up?
Sometimes in front of my house and other times a local park. It was fun to do it at the park because other kids would come and hang out. Mom would sometimes take care of the stand while I took a break and played with the kids.
How much money did you make each day?
A cup of lemonade was $2. Sometimes I would make as little as two dollars! Then there were better days when I made $40 or $50.
When it was a customer-less day her mom would say “I’ll be your customer” to lift her spirits and make sure she made at least $2.
What did you do with the money?
On Day 20 I opened a bank account. It was really fun to set up the account and deposit the money. (She would carry her money to the bank in a pink, flowery lunch pail and share with the tellers how much she made that week). But that’s when we did the math and realized it was going to take something like a hundred years to make the $100,000.
On day 21 Vivienne changed the sign to be more clear that she was raising money for a cause. And she also added the message “Pay What’s in Your Heart”. She also came up with this great slogan “This lemonade is not for sale, because kids are not for sale.” Customers could now pay nothing or pay $100 for their cup of lemonade. That day someone gave her $120!
Did this new approach dramatically change the time needed to raise $100,000?
It made a difference but it was still going to be a long, long, long time to reach the goal.
Vivienne’s dad is a social media expert. He helped Vivienne set up a twitter account and showed her how to optimize it. Now she was able to go from word of mouth – “are you the lemonade girl?” at the local coffee shop to reaching beyond her town. On day #52, Nicholas Kristof a New York Times columnist who has 1.5 million followers retweeted Vivienne, and the “lemonade girl” became known well beyond Northern California.
Did you meet your goal of $100,000?
Yes we did!
Vivienne’s parents set up a Fundly campaign to raise $10,000. She had such a big total goal they felt she needed to do something more to help her and keep her motivated.
As a result of all the attention she got following the retweet by Nicholas Kristof, the Fundly campaign raised over $97,000. The Harr family sent the organization Not For Sale a check for $101,320. Vivienne had raised about $3,500 from the lemonade sales with the rest coming from the Fundly campaign.
They shared with me that Vivienne was pretty burned out after a year of daily lemonade stands but she wanted to continue to raise money even after reaching the $100,000 goal. So the family brainstormed and her parents have gone on to create a bottled lemonade business to continue to raise money to save children from slavery, you can learn more and support them at www.makeastand.com.
The lesson is that we don’t all have to do a stand for a year. We can each make a difference, one stand at a time, one day at a time. Please check out my blog series on Lemonade Stands for causes, including all sorts of tips to increase sales and have fun. My daughter and her friend used a combination of Lemonade Stands and other things to raise $1000 for pandas. We can all be Girlpreneurs for Good and learn so many great things along the way.