Monthly Archives: February 2013

How does an idea go from zero to a movement in six years?

Today is Pink Shirt Day. It used to be Pink Shirt Day in Vancouver. Now, six years in, people across Canada are taking a stand against bullying. I first heard about the anti-bullying initiative in 2008  on Vancouver-based radio station CKNW. (If you haven’t seen this year’s TV commercial, invest the 30 seconds. It’s brilliant. The link above will take you to it.)

My pink shirt.

My pink shirt.

How does an idea go from zero to this in six years? Some organizations work for multiple decades and achieve less awareness. Here are some observations about Pink Shirt Day’s communication strategy:

  1. It’s relevant and timely.Leading up to the first Pink Shirt Day, bullying incidents had been covered significantly in the news. One story in particular provided impetus for the day. A Nova Scotia youth arrived for his first day of high school, wearing a pink polo shirt. He was mocked, but two grade 12 students, stunningly, sprung into action. (Follow the link above for more on the story.) This incident became a flash point. Clear across the country, in Vancouver, CKNW stepped up to draw attention to the issue and bring about change. 
  2. It has a single focus and a clear goal. The folks behind the day applied the tested-and-true Keep It Simple formula. (Notice they are not trying to raise funds and awareness.) Continue reading
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Let me tell you a story.

Somethings are worth getting up at 5:45 a.m. for. Breakfast with Faye Wightman is one them. I didn’t have her all to myself, though. About fifty of us gathered in the Fraser Valley on a Monday morning for an AFP* breakfast to heRain_Case for Support Blogar Faye, President and CEO of the Vancouver Foundation, speak about the things her mother has taught her about donor stewardship. Among other things, she spoke about knowing your donor, communicating clearly and the power of storytelling. Thinking back, what I remember most of Faye’s presentation are the stories she told, including this one:

An elderly woman, who looked like she had lived a hard life, lingered in a charity’s front entry. Continue reading

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