Fundraising campaigns are everywhere you turn this time of year, and honestly, seeing all that goodwill makes my heart feel warm and fuzzy. One of the fuzzier campaigns being the recently popular Movember, where men spend the month cultivating ‘staches that range from cringeworthy to glorious (Ron Swanson, anyone?), but it doesn’t matter, because it’s for a good cause. I remember when guys were participating in “No Shave November,” which is a bit more flexible in terms of facial hair and grooming (more on the guidelines later), but this was more of a “let’s see how crazy my beard can get” than “let’s grow facial hair for charity” situation. The only thing better than a man with a beard? A man with a beard who cares about charity.
How did someone come up with this, anyway?
The Movember movement originated in a bar roughly eleven years ago. It started as a friendly mo growing competition (Aussies call mustaches “mo”s, because they have cool names for things) among friends, and was ultimately fueled by a few beers. These facial hair sprouting gents had kind souls, and decided to turn this competition into something that would benefit others. So, they chose some charities which they found relatable, and away they went. The original 30 members paid $10, and it’s been growing ever since(…get it?).
“By encouraging men (who the charity refers to as “Mo Bros”) to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides annual check-ups, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of family history of cancer and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.” – The Movember Wiki Page
So, you just grow a mustache?
Well, not quite. There are rules for partaking in Movember. At the beginning of the month, men start with a clean-shaven face, as rule #1 suggests. My favorite is #5: “Each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman…” The rules are straightforward, much like the rest of the Movember marketing plan.
Why is it successful?
Movember isn’t just about who can grow the best mustache (though it’s definitely an incentive). The idea is that participation becomes a conversation starter. It raises awareness/increase funding for programs that aid prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues. In the past, men haven’t exactly been encouraged to talk about their feelings or illnesses. There’s been a stigma attached to men expressing a certain sensitivity, which I personally find absurd, but it exists. The Movember project is cool because it encourages men to be open and involved with their health. Going back to its roots, Movember represents a conversation.
It’s also an inclusive conversation: women can participate, too. Even though the foundation raises money for male-related issues, it doesn’t mean that ladies have to be cut out of the conversation. Women can still show their support, regardless of their ability to flaunt a ‘stache. This approach allows the discussion to grow- if the goal is to increase awareness about certain topics, limiting the audience is going to limit growth.
Another way the foundation has spread the conversation is collaborating with some corporate sponsors, such as Adidas, College Humor, Discovery, Toms, Jameson Black Barrel, and The Prevention Institute. They have a free App available for iPhone and Android, sell t-shirts and hats on their store, or offer collaborative items (shoes from Toms, razors from Harry’s) on their online store, too. In other words, they’ve taken the time to make connections and partner with other organizations that have similar target audiences or missions. This shows that they’re serious about their own mission and are willing to do the legwork to get some big names on board.
The Movember Foundation’s philosophy is simple: do something fun for a good cause. For “Results We Seek,” the foundation has written “Havin’ fun doin’ good.” Now, there’s a mission I can get behind.