MOvember: in your face fundraising

Written by  November 30, 2011

What once started as a satirical, Ozzy fashion statement has become an international fundraising initiative generating millions.

Presently known around the world as MOvember, this global campaign began as nothing more than a friendly challenge between a group of mates in Australia. In 2003, founder Adam Garone and company decided to start growing moustaches for no other reason than to bring the look back. What the men weren’t aware of at the time, is that their actions would spark a very noticeable change in the face of men’s health across the globe – quite literally. A year and many comments later, Garone realized the appeal and potential influence Fu-Manchus and Handlebars could generate. Initiatives for breast cancer at that time were plentiful and powerful; so Garone searched the landscape for a male-centric cause. This is where he discovered the need for dialogue and research related to the male-equivalent of breast cancer, prostate cancer. Thus surfaced MOvember – mo being slang for moustache in Australia.

The branding and marketing of this campaign was obvious. They would not be asking participants to lace up their runners and partake in a 10km run, nor would they ask their patrons to purchase little tiny pink ribbons or rubber wristbands. All that is required of supporters, is to model their best stache proudly for 30 days– a free (minus the maintenance costs I suppose) and fun way to demonstrate one’s advocacy. And let’s be honest, what guy doesn’t drool at the opportunity to grow (or attempt to in many cases) ridiculous facial hair that completely annoys their girlfriend, horrifies their mother, and pumps their head so full of testosterone that they actually think they look good! Despite the female grievances derived from this campaign, it cannot be denied that its benefits far outweigh any face scratching or embarrassing ego-fueled outbursts that result.

In 2010 alone, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas from Australia, New Zealand, the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland, raised $76.8 million globally, almost doubling their earnings in 2009 (http://ca.movember.com/about/money/). That is a huge chunk of change considering the campaign only runs for 30 days. Asides from the fact that the boys in Melbourne were able to turn a stache into cash for a great cause, this campaign should also serve as an example of how to turn your passion into action. It is effective – in part - because there is a two-way give and take present. Unlike many other charities and fundraisers where you give and they just take, MOvember is a unique and engaging campaign that rewards both the supporter and supported. Remember, as MOvember exemplifies, no idea is too small or too facetious to generate great global change.

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Published in Editor's Desk
Jemma Young

communications, events

Originally from a small town in south-eastern Ontario, Jemma has long dreamed to voyage beyond her native environment. Trips to the Dominican Republic and Honduras, where she volunteered at a primary school, allowed her to take her first steps in fulfilling this desire. Voted “Most Likely to be a Journalist” in her high school yearbook, Jemma - unsurprisingly - graduated from Canada’s Capital University with a degree in Communication Studies.

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