Cause Doctors: Movember mo-ments in a virtual world

Frank Palmer and Karen Howe share ideas on how the non-profit could adapt its flagship fundraiser if the pandemic lasts into the fall.

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For generations to come, 2020 will be remembered as a year of innovation, reinvention and collaboration  among businesses, people, even governments. Strategy is taking a page out of the books of many others during the crisis, and doing its part to help organizations today survive for tomorrow.

Our new “Cause Doctors” is the cousin of “Brand Doctors,” a series from strategy’s archives that enlisted marketing vets to devise solutions for a brand facing new and ongoing struggles. Now, we’re turning experts’ attention to vulnerable non-profits, which are suffering from major disruptions that hinder their ability to fund life-changing programs.

Strategy asked a dozen creatives, marketers, academics, consultants and strategists to offer their guidance. And we’ll share their recommendations, one cause brand at a time, throughout the month. So check back regularly to see the advice our experts have given other non-profits, and make sure to visit CauseConnect to find out how you can personally give (and get) help.

  • Non-profit: Movember
  • Backstory: The organization exists to change the face of men’s health – to help men live happier, healthier, longer lives. Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men.
  • The challenge: The organization is looking to develop a contingency plan to pivot its marquis November fundraising campaign should the current pandemic continues to impact fundraising events into the fall.

Frank Palmer, CEO, Elevator Strategy

Too many young men die because of prostate and testicular cancer. While there are so many worthwhile causes, everyone’s attention is focused on the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Motivating people to support Movember at this time is a tough task, given everything they’re dealing with almost 24/7.

COVID-19 has changed our entire day-to-day and social lives. If there is anything good that comes from staying at home, maybe it it’s that we become better parents, listen more, learn how important friends are and just how grateful we should be that we can communicate with them through technology.

Can you imagine how much stress we would be under if we couldn’t see or talk with loved ones? Because we are at home, all the usual things or events we are used to doing, aren’t open or available. No concerts, no sporting events, no group gatherings.

FrankPalmer2But, also, no visits to the barber or hairdresser. Maybe because of that inability to get a haircut, there’s an opportunity for all of us at home to assist with raising money for Movember?

So, here’s the challenge: donate some or all your hair salon savings from the quarantine to Movember.

Donate the money that you are saving by not going to the barber or salon for styling, cutting and colouring. Some statistics indicate that women spend $100 per month or more, and men spend $25-$30 per visit. That’s $1200 for women and about $200 or more for men as they go about six times per year.

We all know that women outlive us men. Maybe they can out-donate us this Movember too!

Now, is there an advertising agency willing to create the campaign?

Karen Howe, founder, The Township

Movember and its hirsute reinvention of November has been part of the Canadian charitable landscape since 2007. In fact, Canada is the largest contributor of the 20 participating countries around the world.

Movember’s mission is “to change the face of men’s health,” an important subject that too often flies under the radar. Movember, as a brand, has built a strong annual platform. It also anchors a dreary month that needs all the help it can get.

As a Cause Doctor, my diagnosis involved consultations with regular Movember participants like Connor Leach. For him, community was key. Participation was effortless: don’t shave part of your face. The ribbing he and his “Mo Bros” got for looking like they belonged in a bad ’80s action movie was half the fun.

But this is a tough year for charities. Layoffs and wage cuts are rampant, and purse strings have tightened. It’s a hard time for organizations to ask for money. This year we should consider a pandemic pivot. With men being almost twice as susceptible to COVID-19, and headlines growing bleaker daily, the toll on mental health is profound.

Leach felt that Movember leads the charge for that important conversation.

Karen HoweThe marquis Mo should be elevated to “priceless health equipment” status. We need to support each other on all social platforms. Thought-starters include creating Mo-ments on IGTV with participating celebrities, everyone from beloved chefs to local heroes. Follow the lead of TikTok and invoke the involvement of medical front-liners. Feature a fundraising leaderboard as a welcome distraction from coronavirus stats.

While even micro-donations are welcome – and have the power to help – what this campaign can really do is unite Canadians. Once again it can prove that a little moustache has the power to make a big difference – one that extends well beyond your upper lip.