It’s been sweltering back East, so The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Art Carey was intrigued by the mobile lemonade stand he encountered while walking his two dogs. Michael Rosen found some excellent fundraising advice in the business plan followed by the 7-year-old lemonade entrepreneur, LilyRuth Mamary.
LilyRuth and her sister HannahRose (their last name is pronounced “MAY-merry”) hope to clear about $300 this summer, and all the proceeds from lemonade sales are going to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Here are the elements that Rosen pulled from Carey’s account:
Mission. “LilyRuth explained why she wants to raise money for the SPCA, ‘If I could raise some money, that would really help animals, and they might get adopted and then another animal and another person would be happy.’ It’s a pretty simple statement. It’s not fancy. It wasn’t crafted by a strategic-planning consultant. But, it very clearly says what LilyRuth is striving for.”
Passion. “The Mamary sisters aren’t just satisfied with raising money for a good cause; they’ve ‘donated’ their home to four animals in need.”
Mobilize. “The sisters could have set-up a traditional lemonade stand in the comfort of their own front yard. Instead, they thought they could do more business by loading their lemonade on to a wagon and taking it to an area park frequented by dog walkers and joggers. As a result, business is booming. Fundraisers need to make it easy for donors and prospects to find them.”
Appreciation. “The sisters don’t just sell lemonade; they give their customers complimentary cookies as kind of a thank-you. What a nice surprise.”
Quality. “The sisters don’t serve lemonade from a can or carton. Their lemonade is made from organic lemon juice, real sugar, and water. It’s a quality product that shows respect for their customers. Quality counts.”
Tireless. “LilyRuth launched her venture the day after the last day of school. She works 4:00-7:00 PM most days. She didn’t take a week or two off for fun before starting her mobile lemonade project. She doesn’t slack off as the hot summer grinds on.”
Underwriting. “100 percent of the money raised from the lemonade wagon goes to the SPCA. That’s because Mom and Dad Mamary are underwriting the costs of the lemonade, cups and cookies. Imagine, at age 7, LilyRuth already understands underwriting support.”
Deliver. “On one evening, LilyRuth ran out of lemonade, but some folks were still willing to give her a dollar for the good cause. LilyRuth didn’t feel right about that. So, she quickly went home, got a refill, and trekked back to the park. She caught up with her donors. She made sure they got the lemonade they paid for.”
Cultivate. “LilyRuth did not begin her relationship with the SPCA by donating money. She began her relationship as a volunteer. She first became involved in the organization and then she became a donor.”
Rosen writes that nonprofit fundraisers can take a few cues from LilyRuth and her sister.