Be Bold, Be Bald! Interview Pt. 1 with Small Army's Jeff Freedman

Posted by Kate Jurras on Fri, Oct 8, 2010

MITX has some pretty amazing members. In this blog post we get to hear from one of them: Small Army's Jeff Freedman who gave us some insight into their annual fundraiser Be Bold, Be Bald. Read both blog posts and see if you finish not wanting to wear the cap on October 22nd!

What is Be Bold, Be Bald! and where did it start?
Be Bold, Be Bald! is an annual fundraiser for cancer organizations, where individuals wear a bald cap to honor cancer patients/survivors – and get people to sponsor them for doing so.  We created the event in honor of my former business partner, Mike Connell, who died of cancer in November 2007.  Last year (our first year), we raised close to $100,000, with more than 1,600 people participating all over the U.S.  With considerable learning in year one, we hope to double our success this year.  

What have you learned in your second year running this cause?
Most of our learning came from year one, and we have made some significant changes/improvements based on that.

Last year, the event was in mid-September; however, the high interest from business and school teams caused us to change the date.  We moved the event date to October 22 to allow students more time to prepare in the new school year.  It is also on a Friday, when business dress codes are a bit more relaxed.  

Be Bold, Be Bald!

Last year, participation was free. However, several people who signed up did not raise enough money to cover the costs associated with their participation.  Therefore, this year we instated a $15 participation fee to cover the cost associated with the participation package (bald cap, t-shirt, button, postage, etc.).  This not only helps to cover our costs but, more importantly, ensures that the highest possible amount of funds raised can go directly to the charities supported.

Last year, we were not associated with any specific cancer organizations.  The board of directors determined who would receive grants based on input from the participants.  This year, based on that participant input, we selected five beneficiaries for the event – the Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Lance Armstrong Foundation/LiveSTRONG, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the International Myeloma Foundation, and the Susan Love Research Foundation.  Upon signing up at http://beboldbebald.org, participants choose the organization that they want their proceeds to benefit.  These organizations represent a range of cancer types, are all entrepreneurial in nature, and also have been actively involved in promoting the event with us.

While traditional media helped get the word out in 2009, online and social media provided the greatest results.  Therefore, we have focused the majority of our marketing efforts accordingly, with active online community development, participation and outreach.  

Who would you love to see wearing a cap on October 22nd?
Anyone who has been impacted by cancer in some way should be wearing a cap on 10/22.  Although it is a vanity challenge, it is an easy gesture to make – and one that cancer patients do not have a choice about.  Ultimately, I’d like to turn on the TV on 10/22 and see all the local and national newscasters and celebrities donning their bald caps—from Tom Brady and Lisa Hughes to Lebron, Ellen, and Oprah.   It requires no training or time off from work/school.  You can do it from wherever you may be.

…Part 2 of this great interview is coming soon! Stay tuned.