Every year since 2008, I’ve grown a mustache for Movember. Mine is patchy, wirey, and makes small children cry, but I take consolation in knowing that it’s not just about the mustache you rock — it’s also about the money you raise. And since lately my fellow philanthropic fellas have been asking me for fundraising tips, I thought I’d drop some knowledge on the hairy subject.
1. Set a goal. Donors like to see that they’re helping you reach a concrete number, not just whatever dollar value you happen to raise. Set your (handle)bar at an attainable level, make it public, and set it even higher next year.
2. Use all your social networks. Surprisingly, some of my biggest donors have been people that I never would have guessed. The more people you ask, the more you increase your odds, so broadcast your manly quest on Facebook, Twitter, blog, email, etc.
3. Offer small, fun incentives. Let’s mustache-face it: some of us need a little enticement to give, and everybody likes to be rewarded for their effort. I’ve had success with simple contests to let people name my mustache and receive an autographed photo in exchange for their donation.
4. Publish your progress. Whether it’s a picture every day or a weekly fund update, show others how you’re doing. It’s a good way to remind people to donate without having to outright ask, and it shows them how dashingly/disasterly you’re looking.
5. Customize the email Movember provides. Theirs is a great start, but be sure to add in your own humor, personality, etc. I also like to segment my email groups so I can tailor my message by audience (e.g. close friends vs. family vs. college buddies). After all, who wants to read the same form letter you obviously CCed 500 other people on?
6. Remind people without annoying them. I send out no more than one email to a given group per week. But on Facebook and Twitter, I post multiple times a week since it’s not as intrusive and a post may get lost in the feed anyway. Just remember: nobody likes a beggar, especially not an unkempt one.
7. When people give, give thanks. Unless they’ve asked you not to recognize them, thank your donors publicly. Others may see that and decide to give to your well-combed cause as well. And at least personally thank those who wish to remain anonymous - that’s just good manners.
8. Offer a big incentive for a strong, final push. For those who haven’t given to you after nearly 30 days of prickly perseverance, you may have to up the upper-lip ante. I’ve even waxed mine off and dyed it pink. You don’t have to go that far, but some level of challenge and/or bodily pain can produce an extra wave of charity.
9. Make a video and use it as a “thank you.” With a camera and iMovie, you can throw together a day-by-day time-lapse recap pretty easily. Then share it with everyone who gave to your worthy, whiskered campaign.
10. Comb through your successes. Take stock of what worked, what didn’t, and any ideas you didn’t get to carry out. You might even plan out some tactics for next year. And please, please, please be careful shaving that crusty caterpillar off your face.
If you’d like to support Movember with your money, you can give to myself, give to my team, or give to the cause in general. Thank you kindly.
Good luck to all the Mo Bros out there!