Hot Seat: Adam Garone says Movember will reverse its fall in income

The charity's fortunes have dwindled but it intends to fight back. Susannah Birkwood reports

Adam Garone
Adam Garone

When Movember was launched in the UK in 2007, asking men to raise funds for men's health charities by growing moustaches during the month of November, it raised £1m and 6,000 people signed up.

In four years, the UK arm of the charity that began in Australia – grew dramatically. In 2012, it attracted 363,990 participants and raised £27.1m, of which £13m went to Movember's main charity beneficiary, Prostate Cancer UK.

The following year, however, Movember UK raised £20.5m, almost a quarter less, and 255,394 people took part – a 30 per cent decline. And the amount raised up to last month from Movember 2014 was £9.6m from 138,540 participants, according to the charity's website. This was about a third of the funds and participants achieved two years ago.

The campaign raised about £69.3m worldwide in 2013, its accounts show, down from about £71.8m the previous year. The Movember website shows that the total for 2014 as of last month was £50.2m.

What has caused the decline? Adam Garone, chief executive of the global parent charity the Movember Foundation, told Third Sector that Movember lost about £50m in revenue worldwide last year because the first and last two days of November – the busiest of the campaign – fell on a Saturday or Sunday.

Garone says grooming trends also played a part.

In 2012, he says, the moustache had a resurgence, but beards were in vogue by 2014, ruling out many potential participants.

He also believes that Movember suffered in 2014 from increasing competition from donor-led initiatives such as the ice bucket challenge.

Garone says that in December he presented to the board a strategy to address the decline. Movember 2015 will be accompanied by a side campaign called Move, which will challenge women to do something active for the charity, such as a yoga session or a walk.

He says more emphasis will be placed on the activities of the global parent charity. Supporters will be encouraged to run the London Marathon for it, high-net-worth individuals will be targeted and fundraising dinners will be held.

"It goes without saying that we would love revenues to return to 2012 levels," says Garone.

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