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Ross Valley Girl Turning Lemons into Nonprofit Fundraising

Fairfax resident Vivienne Harr has been getting lots of attention for her effort to end child slavery and human trafficking.

Ross Valley Girl Turning Lemons into Nonprofit Fundraising


Vivienne Harr is an 8-year-old girl whose lemonade stand has taken on global proportions.

All summer long, , and donating 100 percent of her sales to Not For Sale, an organization that fights human trafficking and modern-day slavery around the world. And she's not planning on stopping any time soon. 

"She said, 'Yeah I'm not stopping, I'm going to do it after school every day.' Maybe it becomes hot chocolate for the winter months, she's leading the charge here," said Eric Harr, who grew up in Fairfax. 

Vivienne's campain Make a Stand started on a family trip to Sonoma, when the young Harr became deeply effected by a photography exhibit which depicted two very young boys in Nepal hauling rocks on their backs.

"Vivienne looked up and said isn't this illegal?" said Eric Harr.

Right then and there, Vivienne decided that something needed to be done about today's shocking reality of 30 million child slaves.

Harr's goal for her campaign is to reach $150,000 by the end of the year, and she's already raised a wopping $28,555. 

But how does a child make enough money to pay an entire year of college tuition in just one summer spent selling cups of lemonade? Her father has helped her to use social media to spread the word—seven different platforms, to be exact. 

Vivienne's  Twitter account has gained almost 15,000 followers, including an 8-year-old girl in England, one of Vivienne's first followers who set up "Make a Stand Worcester." And when New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof tweeted about Vivienne and Make a Stand, he generated more than $18,000 donations in 24 hours.

Vivienne's father has been fundamental in giving her campaign the social media push that put it on the map, and her story has gone viral, picked up by CBS News, the Huffington Post, AOL News, Canada Radio, and The New York Daily News to name just a few.

Some, however, have been a bit critical of the social media campaign. On Twitter,  Casey Driscoll ( @caseydriscoll) responded to Kristof's tweet and said the campaign "seems a bit forced, like a parent is pushing to hard or something." He wrote to Eric Harr too, saying there is "to much polish for this 'campaign.' The blog, the integration, the twitter, the hashtag."

You can follow Harr's financial progress towards her goal on Fundly, the largest crowdfunding platform for social good. Similar to Kickstarter, which helps individuals fund their creative projects, Fundly has helped over 25,000 non profit organizations reach their fundraising goals. 

Dave Boyce CEO of Mountain View-based  Fundly, spoke to Patch about the emergence of crowd funding.

"We have officially entered the crowd funding revolution, I think if people pick a year to pin that to it’ll be 2012," said Boyce, who gives two reasons for crowd funding's gaining popularity and success:

"One is just the pervasiveness of social media, I mean there's a 90 percent penetration of social media in households, 60 percent of browsers in the U.S. are simultaneously logged into one or more social profiles regardless of whatever else they may be doing," he said. 

The other reason is that online software has evolved to the point where you can launch fairly sophisticated campaigns like a fund raising campaign, in just minutes.

Vivienne Harr's Make a Stand campaign also utilizes Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, her website, and most recently, Indiegogo, where she's trying to raise an additional $50,000 to start business of bottled "LemonAid."

According to Vivienne's father, they hope to sell the LemonAid at Whole Foods Market, and they hope to sell it for donations only, so it wouldn't actually be for sale.

"And we could lose our pants but I'd rather fail gloriously than try to profit, we just want to do it differently," said Eric Harr.  

Check out Vivienne's unique recipe for Make a Stand Lemonade and make your own  here.

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