Nonprofit leadership by dying your hair pink?


          Kim Anthony is the CEO for Make A Wish Southern Alberta. Yesterday morning Kim and I got up early to have our hair dyed pink live on Breakfast television. We did it to launch the 2nd annual version of the Hair Massacure in Southern Alberta. You may have read about this event already in my post The event is quickly becoming my favorite event for a number of reasons. Firstly the event was created and sustained by one family whose daughter, Kali, fought cancer and won- that in itself is worthy of a cheer. The family has created a great deal of community support in Northern Alberta and as of last week has raised over $ 8 million dollars for children’s cancer research and for charities who support families whose children are fighting cancer. Reason number two to love this event is that we get to work with Make A Wish- we love these guys, and we love what they do for our kids. The southern Alberta proceeds are divided equally between the two charities. Some nonprofit leaders don’t want to work together with another charity as they have to split the proceeds. I kind of like it- I think it is really attractive to our donors to know they are benefiting two charities that they believe in at the same time

          Okay back to the pink hair thing – We dyed our hair pink and need to walk around like this for three weeks until on March 14th we will shave our heads bald. Kim is still toying with the idea of just cutting her hair really short- but I will be working the peer pressure.  During these three weeks the pink hair is to raise awareness for the event and the charities. Also during this time we will be doing our best to raise as much money in pledges as we can. The head shave is obvious; many of the children we work with lose their hair during their treatment. The head shave is to raise awareness for their situation as well as to create an experience for the participant that in a very small way creates some level of understanding of what our kids are going through.

          My wife thinks the head shave is no big deal it pales by comparison to what our kids really go through. She does think the pink hair is a big deal as she feels my hair is my best feature- she is of course a little biased.  A good part of a nonprofit leader’s job is talking about their charity and what they do. When you are almost fifty and you are walking around with neon pink hair you get yourself involved in a lot more conversations with people on the street than you might normally stop and introduce yourself to. I think a nonprofit leader always needs to be looking for ways to make their cause top of mind for supporters and potential supporters. I also think as a nonprofit leader you need to be willing to not take yourself too seriously from time to time.

If you want to support these two great organizations (you knew I had to ask)  –here is my pledge page:


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