Cause Marketing for the Hirsute

Cancer is a hairy beast that needs to be capped. And to help, Boston ad agency Small Army has put together a fun campaign that has potential lessons for nonprofit fundraisers.

Called ‘Be Bold, Be Bald!’ here’s how it works. Order a $20 fundraising kit online ($25 after October 1, 2011) and Small Army will send you a bald cap and, a t-shirt to wear on Be Bold, Be Bald! Day October 21, 2011, along with a wealth of fundraising resources. Money raised goes to your choice of more than 20 cancer fighting organizations.

Small Army wants you to seek out sponsors, like in one of those race events that nonprofits are so good at producing. But there’s no training involved so the only the only sweating will take place under the bald cap on October 21.

(Not being hirsute myself I'm quite sure that wearing a bald cap all day for me would indeed be a sweaty affair!)

Small Army has promoted the event widely and well. The ad above was in Time magazine. They’ve also put together a very complete fundraising approach that doesn’t miss many tricks. Sign up, pay your fee, and you’ll get:
  • The kit with the t-shirt and bald cap
  • A customized fundraising page
  • Facebook messaging, including formatted templates
  • Twitter messaging
  • Banner ads for your website
  • Sample emails
  • A ‘Cheat Sheet for Spreading the Word,’ forms, and other downloadable items
Basically Small Army has created a inexpensive version of the race and peer-to-peer fundraising SAS offerings from Convio, Blackbaud, and others.

Small Army’s motivation stems from sad personal experience. One of the agency’s founders and the former creative director, Mike Connell, died of cancer in 2007.

So complete is Small Army’s approach that I wish they’d consider offering it for a nominal fee to small charities as a ‘white label’ event fundraising service. The big charities can afford really full-featured (some say bloated) offerings from Blackbaud and Convio. But those services can be out-of-reach for smaller charities.

Now obviously Small Army isn’t going to sell Be Bold, Be Bald! But it would be a great service to the small nonprofit sector if they sold the back office portion of the campaign.
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