The Art of the Lemonade Stand
By Communications Task Force Blogger Roberta Barnett
UpSTANDers, like other activists and organizers, almost always face the issue of funding. Whether you’re trying to raise funds to go to the End Genocide Action Summit or just purchasing something to make your meetings more attractive to potential members, such as pizza, there are a few things all STAND chapters should keep in mind when fundraising. My chapter, Pelham Memorial High School STAND, just completed its first fundraiser for this year: the Lemonade STAND Against Genocide, giving me a perfect opportunity to give a few tips for successful fundraisers.
Tip 1: Learn from other groups and past experiences on campus.
In my high school, student organizations frequently host bake sales, so I knew that the concept of a bake sale had the potential to successfully raise funds for STAND. If you know something does or does not work on your campus, use that to your advantage.
Tip 2: Be creative
I did not invent the lemonade STAND concept, but I had been involved in one before. I knew that while it could have the profits of a bake sale, it would gain much more visibility next to the monotony of frosted cupcakes sold by other groups. Teachers and students alike approached me during the day to ask about the inventive lemonade STAND. I don’t think there has ever been much hype over a bake sale, but a putting a spin on a typical fundraiser can make it iconic.
Another fantastic example of this is STANDFast, an event in which students ask their classmates and teachers to give up one luxury item that they typically purchase (such as candy, tea, or dessert) for a period of time, usually between one day and one week, and donate that money to STAND. The concept of “giving something up for Darfur” tends to captivate students more so than just “donate money to Darfur.”
Tip 3: Keep in mind the initial outlay of funds
Before putting together the lemonade STAND, I asked some of my chapter leadership if they would be able to bake cookies to be sold along with the lemonade. This eliminates the potential to not profit from the fundraiser. Be wary of high gross profits and initial outlay of funds. If you choose to sell something that you have to purchase, such as organic fair-trade coffee, it is a good idea to first take into account the net profit per item. Having been a part of a coffee sale, I can say that I did not make much more money than I would have at a typical bake sale because the initial cost of purchasing the coffee was very close to the selling price.
Tip 4: Maximize your publicity
A few days before the fundraiser, I created an event on Facebook promoting the lemonade STAND, which helped to increase visibility of the event and of my chapter itself. If you have a fundraiser, make sure that you publicize the event well; more people at the fundraiser means greater profits, and that is probably one of the main goals of a fundraiser. At the event, we also had flyers advertising our chapter and information about meetings, and we encouraged lemonade STAND attendees to take one and join. In that way, a fundraiser can also be used as a recruitment tool.