SELLING LEMONADE TO FIGHT TYPE 1 DIABETES

It’s the beginning of summer. Temperatures are inching into the 90s. Fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere. Kids are out of school. Lemonade stands are popping up. In honor of summer and some of the great things it brings, I’m reprinting one of my very first blogs.

Last summer, one lazy afternoon, I was sitting out in the strong Montana sun amidst vacationing golfers and tennis players and swimmers…oh! and beer drinkers (incidentally I noticed several orders for Goose Island — shout out to my hometown Chicago brewery!) Eventually, I gave in to the heat and, drenched in sweat, began my walk back to my townhouse there.

The Pitch

A short ways down the path, I could see three little girls – the oldest looked no more than ten – with the typical lemonade stand set-up. Table, sign, money jar, big pitcher of lemonade, small paper cups…you get the picture. But as I got closer and could hear the girls hawking their wares, I was in for a surprise. Not the usual 25 cents for a cup of lemonade. Instead, their pitch was:”Donate to Cure Type I Diabetes; Get a Free Cup of Lemonade!”

Now, first, I must say, I was impressed with the marketing strategy – tapping into our openness to giving for a good cause; and our obsession with getting a “free” gift – both at the same time. Brilliant!

The Impuse to Give

But I digress. I wondered what had led these girls to their decision to “give back.” So I asked. At first, they explained, they were just going to have a “regular” lemonade stand and collect money for themselves. But their cousin has Type 1 diabetes and they hit upon this as a way to help her.

Developing the Giving Habit

I began to think: What if every kid who sets up a lemonade stand – and there must be hundreds of thousands each summer – chose some cause near and dear to their hearts to receive the proceeds.

For the recipients of the donations, every little bit helps. But, maybe more important, our children would be having a positive experience with giving at a very young age. They would be involved in the choice of charity, which would require them to think about what means most to them. And they would experience the joy of making the world a better place while doing something fun. You know how children who are read to at a young age often get the warm fuzzies later on when they think about reading? Well, same concept here. Wouldn’t it be great for children to develop the warm fuzzies for giving, starting them on their way to becoming lifelong givers.

Pass it on!

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