Shara Lawrence-Weiss of Mommy Perks Talks About Twitter Charity Hats
Shara Lawrence-Weiss of Mommy Perks has a unique way of using social media to raise money for charity: her Twitter profile picture is a photograph of herself wearing branded hats (real or photoshopped) in exchange for a charitable donation.
1. What gave you the idea for Twitter Charity Hats?
You can read all about that here. I posted this today just for you guys! This will explain the journey…
2. Do you have any input on the charities that receive the donation?
Yes. I won’t take anything political and I prefer that the charity be focused on helping children, single mothers, families, etc. I was a single mother myself, years ago.
That said, I’m happy to promote any charity that is helping the homeless, veterans, families, the military, etc. It doesn’t have to be focused on women (as some have implied that I ought to be doing). I understand that there are people with needs – everywhere – regardless of their gender. There are so many charities now that help women and children. I think that the male charities are actually being over-looked these days (drug rehabs, homeless shelters, abuse counseling, etc) in the same way that female charities used to be over-looked. The pendulum has swung the other way. I’m more than happy to support any charity that someone’s heart feels led to support – men, women, children, special needs or seniors. All humans have needs and need to be supported, as I see it.
3. How much money have you raised to date for charity?
$305 but only a few of the businesses have actually made their donations – the rest are coming.
I have more folks to add to this list soon, also! I’ve got over 20 on the wait list now.
4. Is there an archive of past hats?
Just the collage we made for you. However, there are far more than that. We picked a few of the most popular ones to display. Sadly, I left out “Earth Day” – when I wore a grass patch on my head. That was pretty popular, too.
5. Do you also wear hats for charities to raise awareness?
Not yet but I have been thinking of doing that. At this point, my waiting list for the logo hats is at 6+ months. So perhaps I can modify my plan along the way and fit charity hats into the line-up as time allows.
I’m very dedicated to helping small businesses – especially those run by mothers. So the logo hats + charity combined gives me the chance to help two entities at once: both the mother and the charity they select.
6. What feedback have you received from companies after the experience in regards to both their charitable goals and their marketing strategy?
To be honest, nothing as of yet. The people in my community (Mommy Perks) are typically very giving and generous. No one, so far, has even asked me for click rates, stats or return data. I don’t think they care! I really believe they all jumped on board with this simply because they wanted to help and thought the idea was a fun and unique one. That would appear to be the case, anyway.
7. What feedback have you received from your audience and community?
Lots! They are pretty jazzed about the entire concept and many of them have posted, tweeted, blogged or linked to my press release. Merchant Circle featured the press release today. She Posts put up an article about it. Examiner.com has the press release listed. I have people tweet daily telling me what a great idea this is and asking how they can get involved – or simply help to promote it. The positive energy is a big part of why I’m doing this!
8. You have a wait list–why do you think Twitter Hats have such an appeal?
Well, as I wrote about in the “Trip down memory lane” post, the hats became a hit on twitter a few months back. People wanted to know “What’s next?” It became a game of sorts and friends/clients would DM, asking me about the hats and wanting to know if I would have a hat up for a particular holiday, etc. When I told people about the Twitter Charity Hats they immediately jumped on the idea. No questions asked.
Where else can you globally promote your small business for a $20+ donation to charity?
9. Which is your favorite hat so far and why?
Of all the hats, including the pre-logo ones? The World Turtle Day hat was super creepy but got a LOT of laughs. I also love the Pull-Up hat – that’s probably my favorite one. That hat was the turning point for everything, though, so it holds a special diaper-like place in my heart. LOL.
Of the Charity Hats, I’d say that Ficklets is my favorite so far (it goes up tomorrow). My daughter insisted on making the ASL sign for “I love you” and the story behind this photograph holds great value for me – emotionally and spiritually. That said, I love them all. Each one has special meaning in its’ own way.
10. If you could support one charity, which would it be?
Goodness. Just one? I don’t think I’d make that choice but if I had to I’d most likely choose to support a single mom charity – or a group that helps young mothers (I was a young mother). I also feel very drawn to Foster Care, Adoption Agencies and Homeless Shelters. My father ran a homeless shelter in Oregon during my youth.
My son lost is right eye as a baby and wears a prosthetic eye. So I’d love to donate to an organization that helps to pay for prosthetic eyes (they are very expensive).
11. Any special plans in the works for the future? A calendar of Twitter Hat Photos? Expanding the effort to include other Tweeters?
I’ve considered both options, yes. I don’t take each photo until the hat is ready to launch but I do plan to display them all in a post soon. “A look back” so to say.
Regarding other tweeters – if they wish to join in, they certainly may. At this point I’m pretty busy just keeping track of my own hats/list but at some point, I could invite others to join the mission, sure!
12. What’s your favorite Twitter application?
I don’t use any! I’ve tried several, for fun, but I stick with plain old twitter (as one of my followers calls it). Just plain old twitter works great for me.