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The man behind Movember on why not-for-profit is a 'bullsh*t term'

And how a four-man operation used fun – rather than fear tactics – to become a global fundraising juggernaut.

Image: Twitter/adamgarone

NOT-FOR-PROFIT is a “bullshit term” for charities because good fundraising should be all about getting the most money possible for your cause.

Adam Garone, one of the founders of the Movember movement, said the not-for-profit idea gave some charities the sense they “didn’t have to worry about profit”.

“It’s not a term we use at Movember because we’re all about profit – we are about minimising our cost base to a certain degree and maximising profit, the only difference is instead of our profits going to the shareholders of the organisation, in our case the profit goes to funding programs,” he said.

“The more profit we can make the more research that we can fund the sooner we can get to the point where we’ve cured these diseases.”

Movember started in 2003 after Garone and some friends came up with the concept of growing the then-deeply uncool mustaches over Sunday beers at a Melbourne pub.

It now runs in 21 countries and has garnered €409 million for research into prostate and testicular cancer, the biggest single fundraiser for the diseases in the world.

Feel the fun, not the fear

Garone, who appeared at the Dublin Web Summit today, said Movember’s success had come from focusing on the “fun aspects” which made men want to participate.

“We don’t use fear-based tactics – a lot of charities will use statistics around how prevalent a disease is and then draw people in using that sort of fear-based marketing,” he said.

We don’t do that. We try to have inspirational marketing messages and really draw on the fun aspects of Movember. We have a whole heap of gamification and ways for the community to unite globally around this cause.”

Garone said his advice to others looking to kickstart a fundraising drive was to never underestimate the power of a room full of people.

“That’s literally how it started – with the four of us inspiring a room full of 30 people, then that 30 people went on to inspire 450 people the next year and then a state and then a nation and then 21 nations now.”

READ: Doing Movember this year? Here’s the sports stars’ guide to your facial fuzz options >

READ: Movember mustaches fund groundbreaking prostate cancer research >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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