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How to start a campaign: Lessons from Movember

  November 1, 2016   

Image credits: Movember Foundation

For those of you who don't know, Movember, also known as 'No Shave November' is an annual event to raise awareness of three of the biggest men's health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer and poor mental health. The movement originated in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 and has gained support from over 5 million 'Mo Bros' and 'Mo Sistas' across the world in countries like the UK, Germany and Hong Kong.

So, how did this all begin?

The idea behind the campaign was inspired by a fashion trend and driven by a social cause.

Two mates, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery were having a beer at a bar when they joked about reviving an old trend - the moustache! After talking a couple of friends into growing out their Mo, they were inspired by a friend's mum who was fundraising for breast cancer and decided to focus their efforts around raising awareness for men's health and prostate cancer.

They then got to work, setting up the rules for Movember, designing a simple logo and deciding on a basic participation fee of $10 which would be donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. They sent out an email titled 'Are you man enough to be my man?' and welcomed their first 30 sign-ups. Within the first year, the campaign had raised £21,184 and that's when the duo knew they were onto something BIG. They then expanded the team and created a webpage for the Movember Foundation.

Let's recap some of our learnings on starting a campaign:

1. Find inspiration through talking with others.

Don't keep your thoughts to yourself. Grab a coffee or a beer with your friends and talk about things which matter to you, whether it's trends in the news or what you've observed from people around you. You might be surprised by how ideas which may seem a little random or isolated at first can develop into common interests amongst you and your peer group.

2. Mission: Keep the conversation going.

Once you've found an activity and purpose you're passionate about pursuing, share your idea and get like-minded people involved. Start drafting out your original campaign, do your research on the main cause and the charities which you can support. Tell others about what you're doing on social media and encourage them to join you! A catchy tagline and strong visuals can help you communicate your idea.

3. Expand the network and broaden your impact.

The guys behind the Movember Foundation did further research into the subject of men's health in Australia and found that depression was a critical issue affecting the people around them. So, they partnered up with a charity called beyondblue in 2006, to raise awareness of mental ill health such as depression and anxiety. A powerful campaign can speak for many, so keep an eye on broader causes related to your mission and lend your voice to others.

What are you waiting for? Start a conversation with a team of friends and get those campaign ideas flowing! We believe MyPlus is about challenging yourself to develop new skills and strengths, and sharing these with the world.

If you've started a campaign at university and have advice to share, we'd love to hear from you. Write to us at

Get involved with Movember on campus.

Read more about the Movember movement.

Read more on university life and careers at MyPlus stories.

These stories are tagged with: mental health movember depression university campaign cancer extra curricular campus