Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation Blog

You can't ever say Thank you enough! Here are great ways to thank your supporters

You can't ever say Thank You enough! 

by Jenna Caroccia, ALSF Donor Appreciation and Development Coordinator 

Lemonade Days is quickly approaching and you’re all ready to host an outstanding event. You’ve chosen the date, ordered the lemonade and publicized your stand all over town. You have a fundraising plan and with that, something amazing will happen - you will raise funds for children fighting cancer and make a positive impact in the world. All of us at ALSF are so thankful for your amazing help! 
After the photos are posted and the funds are turned into ALSF, it’s time for you to thank your supporters!  Did you know that the most important thing you’ll ever do in a successful fundraising campaign is to say thank you? Saying thank you is not just an expression of gratitude and good manners, it’s the way to build meaningful relationships with your donors. When done well, recognition will encourage future gifts and continued involvement, whether through volunteering or being an ambassador for your stand. It also helps encourage gifts from other networks or companies. When people see their friends and family members are passionate about a cause, they might consider supporting as well - that’s the true power of a thank you. 

Follow these 10 tips and tricks and start thanking!

1. Write a Handwritten Thank You Note
Handwritten notes are becoming a thing of the past, but sometimes they're the best way to help your message stand out. Taking the time to write a thoughtful, handwritten note shows your supporters that they mean a lot to you.  

2. Share Your Progress
Share your stand success with pride! By adding a sentence about progress, this allows your donor to see the tangible difference that they are making. “This year, we have proudly raised $1,500, which is $500 more than last year. We could not have done it without you! Thank you!” 

3. Don't Ask, Just Thank
Thank you notes should contain gratitude, and make your supporter feel appreciated. If you thank them with enthusiasm now, you should definitely ask again in a month or two—and if you do it right, they’ll be more than happy to give next time.

4. Include a Photograph 
Say lemonade! What better way to thank your supporter than sending them a special reminder from the day. Whether you send a photo of them or of the kids mixing and pouring, it is sure to be appreciated. 

5. Be Specific about Where the Money is Going
Be specific and report to your supporters with pride that they have helped raise money for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, a national childhood cancer foundation dedicated to raising funds for research into new treatments and cures for all children battling cancer.

6. Pick-up the Phone! 
Try to take time out of the week for you or your kids to call your supporters and volunteers and thank them for all they do! Bonus points: If you happen to get a voicemail, add some pizazz and come up with a special thank you jingle or song.  

7. Keep your ALSF Stand Coach in the Loop! 
Always remember to keep your stand coach in the loop of how your stand went and your awesome donors and volunteers. If you had an extraordinary donation or a company supported your stand, connect with us and we will be happy to send them a thank you note or phone call, too! We are here to help you every step of the way! 

8. Record a Video Message
Break out the video camera, and start thanking! This is a fun, interactive way to say thank you. It's a great tool to use on social media platforms, too! 

9. Host a home-cooked meal for your top donors and volunteers
If you have top five donors or a planning committee, why not go the extra mile and plan a thank you dinner. (Bonus tip: Check out Alex’s Table cookbook for some inspiration!) 

10. Say it from your Heart 
No one can share your story quite like you. When you believe in something with your mind and your heart, you bring it to life. 

No matter how you express your gratitude, say it often. When you send a sincere thank you note or take the time to give your volunteer a call, it shows that their donation and effort has been noticed and appreciated. Not only that, but your thank you message is a chance to deliver the warm feelings of goodwill that drive people to give. 

Thank you for all you do and thank you for joining us in our fight against childhood cancer. (Oh, and thank you for reading this article, too! ☺) 

Jenna is a proud employee at Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. As the Donor Appreciation & Development Coordinator, Jenna enjoys working with individual donors and building meaningful and relationships with our supporters. She says she's never been happier than she is right now putting her talents and her energy to work as part of a team committed to achieving Alex's dream of finding a cure for childhood cancer. 

Lemonade Days

by Jaime Horenstein, ALSF Social Media Specialist

Calling all social media mavens! You can harness the power of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social platforms to spread the word about your lemonade stand and join the fight against childhood cancer. Social media is such a great way to announce your event, invite your community, raise funds and tell everyone about how you are helping cure cancer, one cup at a time! 
1.  Share your fundraising page on social media. Have family and friends from out of town that can’t make it to your lemonade stand? Share your fundraising page with your network and have loved ones donate online. 

2.  Change your Facebook profile picture frame. Show your Facebook friends you’re fighting childhood cancer by choosing from two frames that highlight Lemonade Days! We have a quick how-to video for you to use. Changing your picture frame takes just 2 minutes! 

3. Tag Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  I see it all! When you tag us on social media, I can like and comment as Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Plus, you help me by giving me great content that I might be able to share on our ALSF social media pages (more about that below).

4. Share ALSF content. We post every day about heroes, campaigns, research and lots of other ways to get involved. If you see a post (because we know you already follow us ;)) share, like or comment to help explain our mission to your followers. 

5. Check out our blog, Hero Hub and YouTube Channel.  You can also share blogs, hero stories and videos from our website! Our blog is filled with inspirational and informational stories, including in-depth research profiles and explanations about how treatments work. Our childhood cancer Hero Hub is filled with stories of amazing kids fighting for a cure! And of course, our YouTube page holds videos that help with lemonade stands, explain critical research and tell stories of childhood cancer heroes.

6.  Be featured on our pages. Take photos at your lemonade stand, tag @AlexsLemonade and use #LemonadeDays and you could be featured on our social media pages! You can also send photos to your event coach after your stand who can forward them to me so I can give you a shout out for your hard work and dedication!

See you on Social!

Register your stand today for Alex's Lemonade Days! 

Jaime Horenstein is the ALSF social media maven! She loves connecting with families and reading their amazing inspirational stories. 

Lemonade Days
Great lemonade stand tips from an experienced lemonade stand host.

Above, the Lemonettes (AKA the Martelli family) at their annual Lemonade Stand

by Jeff Tepper, City Dads Group

About five years ago, Don Martelli’s daughters Kayla and Jordan (now ages 13 and 10) started a summer bucket list, at the advice of his wife Susan. One of the ideas was to hold a lemonade stand and donate the money to charity. Don took to Google for some direction and found out about Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). The rest, as they say, is history. His kids were touched by the idea that they could raise money for other kids in need, and he and his wife couldn’t imagine the struggle facing the parents of kids affected by cancer. With those feelings as their motivation, the Martellis embraced the mission to hold a lemonade stand and raise money for pediatric cancer.  Don and his family have held the stand every year since, and have raised over $15,000 for ALSF.  

For Don, an active father and member of the Boston Dads Group (an outpost of City Dads Group), involving his kids in the operation of the stand is paramount. His daughters participate every step of the way, from painting the stand to helping spread the word, and of course serving the lemonade. His kids are also the focal point of the stand’s identity. Using his background in marketing, Don felt his stand would benefit from having a brand name. His girls named themselves “The Lemonettes,” and the name stuck. Don created accounts for The Lemonettes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and the family uses Snapchat geo-filters during the stand’s operation.  

The start was humble.

“We had no clue what we were doing,” Don said. “Other than inviting our friends and family to come by the house for some lemonade and a barbecue. We didn’t promote heavy on social media and we bought a cardboard lemonade stand, which was super flimsy and hard to keep up when the wind blew.”  

Despite the inexperience and difficulties, the family still raised almost $2,000. The next year, the Martellis bought a better stand, used social media more and by the third year, Don built a collapsible stand out of 2x4s, which he now uses each year. He also started to notify local politicians and media outlets, and they responded by stopping by. In the fourth and fifth years, the family used paid social media posts and made some tweaks to their setup to gain more visibility. Going into the sixth year this summer, The Lemonettes stand has become a staple in the neighborhood that all look forward to. With as many as 50 folks present at any given time, they stop traffic and draw attention.  

When asked for some advice to pass on to other stand holders, Don said, “In the end, fundraising is all about tapping into your personal and professional network, and then having them do the same. The more people talk about your stand [in person and on social media], the more the stand will grow. I think we've been so successful because we are very aggressive about marketing the date online and doing so in a way that is fun, engaging and reminds people about this important cause. Now that we've done this five years in a row, we have a foundational support base that will always donate every year.” Five years in, the Martellis’ challenge is continued growth and expansion of that network. As they get ready for their sixth year fundraising for ALSF, it’s a safe bet that The Lemonettes won’t be stopping anytime soon. 

Jeff Tepper is a co-organizer and blogger for Dallas Dads Group, an outpost of City Dads Group. A full-time licensed clinical social worker, Jeff also helps City Dads Group identify and work with nonprofit agencies to help charitable causes. A native of Massachusetts who moved to Texas in 2010, Jeff loves Boston sports, still thinks ‘Nique was robbed in ’88, and has never been able to decide if his favorite hip hop group is A Tribe Called Quest or De La Soul.

City Dads Group is a dynamic and diverse community of fathers dedicated to being active in their children’s lives and, by example, redefining what it means to be a dad in the 21st century. City Dads Group has chapters in over 20 major metropolitan areas throughout the United States, which host meetups for dads and kids to get together for socialization and support. City Dads Group is also active online and on social media, publishing blog posts and The Modern Dads Podcast.  For more information, please visit

Brain tumor cells use the process of autophagy to survive. Childhood cancer researcher Dr. Levy is working to stop the process and kill cancer cells.

An ALSF-funded researcher is working to combat the process of autophagy and destroy brain tumor cells. Above, brain tumor cells under stress show a high level of autophagy, as exhibited by the brown spots. 

by Trish Adkins

In order to survive, the cells of the body are constantly recycling within themselves, taking proteins inside the cell, scooping them up, breaking the proteins down and releasing the energy back into the cell as new building blocks. Every cell in the body performs this process, called autophagy. The word literally means “self-eating,” and in addition to giving cells an internal source of energy, autophagy also helps cells remain healthy by keeping invaders like bacteria, viruses or chemotherapy out. Cells that live in harsh environments—environments like the brain where cells have limited blood supply—are skilled at using autophagy to survive. 

Brain tumor cells are experts at autophagy and use the process to survive chemotherapy, becoming resistant to treatment, leaving doctors without effective tools to stop cell growth and leaving children and their families without hope for a cure.

Until now. 

Jean Mulcahy Levy, MD, an ALSF Young Investigator grant recipient, is studying how stopping autophagy can be an effective treatment for some types of brain tumors.

Autophagy: Key to Cell Survival 
Dr. Levy's research on autophagy is based on the discovery of the 2016 Nobel Prize winning scientist Yoshinori Ohsumi. Ohsumi first detected the process of autophagy in yeast. The process helps explain how human beings can survive in extreme situations, like starvation, and also how cancer cells can survive treatments that should work, but simply do not. 

Anytime cells become stressed out—whether by treatment or cell environment—they ramp up their recycling process to survive.  

Autophagy and the BRAF Mutation
Dr. Levy’s research discovered that brain tumors with a BRAF mutation inhibiting autophagy can stop the tumors from becoming treatment resistant, allowing chemotherapy to work and eliminate disease. 

The BRAF mutation is the most common genetic mutation found in human cancers and is found across a variety of low grade and some of the harder to treat high-grade brain tumors, such as high-grade glioblastoma.

Dr. Levy used chloroquine, a medicine originally created to treat malaria in the 1950s, to inhibit autophagy. Since it is already approved for patient use, the drug is safe and readily available.  In the treatment of malaria, chloroquine stopped the malaria parasite from living in the blood cells. In the treatment of brain cancer, Dr. Levy’s hope was that chloroquine would stop autophagy and overcome the resistance to chemotherapy, killing the brain cancer cells and bringing children closer to a cure. 

And it worked. 

In Dr. Levy’s lab tests and with three patients battling relapsed brain tumors with the BRAF mutation, chloroquine used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation resulted in positive clinical outcomes. The brain tumor cells became susceptible to chemotherapy protocols.

The next step for Dr. Levy’s research is a clinical trial, which will expand the number of patients treated and continue to prove the safety and efficacy of chloroquine for autophagy inhibition in patients with the BRAF mutation. 

“Identifying new treatment options like autophagy inhibition, allows us to treat patients who have exhausted treatment options,” says Dr. Levy. “It also provides another option for patients for whom newer immunotherapies have failed.”

Dr. Levy’s work, “Autophagy inhibition overcomes multiple mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibition in brain tumors,” was published in the January 17, 2017 issue of eLife.

Read more about Dr. Levy’s work here. 

How to get the most out of your online lemonade stand page.

by Ernie DiLullo, Digital Content Specialist ALSF

When you register your lemonade stand, you automatically get an event page. Your event page is a great way for you to communicate with your network and collect online donations. There are a wide variety of features that you can use to help promote your event, inspire donors and meet your fundraising goals! 

1. Customize Your Page
When creating an event page, always make sure that you have the correct date, time and location so people who are searching for events near them can find you. You can also customize your message with event details and anything special you have planned at your event. We have default banner images that you can use, but users are able to upload their own images.

2. Post Stand Photos to Your Wall
One of the core features on our event pages is the ability to post messages and photos to your wall. It’s very easy for page owners to create posts that can be shared with your family and friends. This is a great way to let people know why you are hosting a lemonade stand -- to fight childhood cancer

3. Use Our RSVP System
A newer feature on our event pages is the ability to invite friends and family to attend your event. On your stand page, you can scroll down to the “RSVP” tab and click on “Invite friends and family to come to your stand.” After clicking on the RSVP tab, a pop-up menu will allow you to choose a template for your email invitation. You can then fill out the emails of all the people you want to invite to your stand. You can customize the email and include an image.

4. Share Your Page
We allow users to easily share their event pages with friends and family. You can share your page with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn network and personal email contacts. All you have to do is click on one of the icons next to “Share this page.” You can select from 3 different messages or you can write your own! This is a quick and simple way to get the word out about your upcoming event.

These are just some of the many ways that you can get the most out of your event page. During Alex’s Lemonade Days, don’t forget to display the event ID at your stand so people can indicate on their check that they want their donation to go towards your stand.

Alex's Lemonade Days are held June 3-June 11, 2017.  Pick a day (or days!) that week and host a stand! Sign up here (it's easy!) Thank you for joining us to find cures, one cup at a time! ​

Ernie DiLullo is the Digital Content Specialist for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, who is in charge of making updates to our website and ensuring that it is as user-friendly as possible for all of our supporters.


Lemonade Days