Beating Bowel Cancer

The charity is using its website and social media to rally men for its annual Decembeard fundraising drive


What is it?

The charity Beating Bowel Cancer is using a rebranded website and social media to promote its annual fundraising campaign Decembeard, in which men are sponsored grow beards. Now in its fourth year, the campaign has a strong emphasis on masculinity and this year it is using the slogan "real men grow beards". In this competitive spirit, men are being encouraged to challenge their friends to take part by creating fundraising teams. There is also a leader board on the website showing who has raised the most.

What else is on the website?

The charity has a £250,000 fundraising target for this year’s campaign, and there is a counter on the website showing the results so far: at time of writing, 9 per cent of the total had been raised. There is also a light-hearted quiz through which men can find out which type of beard-wearer they are. As well as the fun stuff, there is some serious information about the symptoms of bowel cancer and what to do if you are worried you may have it.

What’s happening on social media?

The charity has created dedicated Twitter and Facebook accounts for the campaign. It has been posting photographs of men with impressive beards every day as part of its countdown to the first day of December. It is encouraging the efforts of participants and promoting the campaign using the hashtag #realmengrowbeards. The charity is also posting tips for "beards in training" and advice on how to maintain facial hair for those who are new to the idea. On Vine, the charity has been posting "What's in the beard" videos, where increasingly large objects are hidden inside someone's beard before being revealed.

Are there any celebrities involved?

The fundraising leaderboard on the Decembeard website is currently topped by the actor Christopher Biggins. The presenter Matthew Wright is also fundraising for the charity.

Third Sector verdict

Although Decembeard is obviously inspired by Prostate Cancer UK’s Movember campaign, this initiative is well executed. For a smaller charity, the website is impressive, with an attractive design that fits in with the campaign's theme of masculinity. This, along with the fact that the website is full of photographs of fashionable young men sporting beards, shows that the charity knows its target audience and is successfully capitalising on the current trend for facial furniture.

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