Case Study: Beating Bowel Cancer

The bowel cancer charity's Decembeard campaign netted an impressive return


Organisation: Beating Bowel Cancer
Campaign: Decembeard
Agency: Campaign devised in-house

Inspired by the success of the mighty Movember, Beating Bowel Cancer launched its own facial hair-growing fundraising challenge - Decembeard.

The charity saw the opportunity in 2011, when Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans announced on air that he had missed Movember and was going to do Decembeard instead, raising money for bowel cancer in memory of his father, who died from the disease.

Graham Kelly, director of fundraising at the charity, says: "We thought this had potential, so for 2012 we wanted to own Decembeard and give it a bigger push."

With a budget of just £3,000, the aim of the 2012 campaign was to double the 2011 fundraising total of £20,000 and 80 sign-ups. So far, it has raised £65,000, with 750 people taking part.

The charity emailed its supporters and used Twitter and Facebook to promote the campaign, and former Everton midfielder Kevin Sheedy promoted Decembeard through media interviews.

"Challenges like these are a great way to get people involved," says Kelly. "I also think men like getting sponsored to stop doing something."

Kelly says one of the campaign's strengths was its online 'beardy community', which allowed people to share pictures of their efforts.

Supporters could also create fundraising teams, adding a competitive element. A phone call to welcome all sign-ups helped to ensure they raised money, rather than just growing beards, he says.

"We talk about bowel cancer being the last cancer taboo," Kelly says. "This is a good introduction to open a dialogue with people."

Kelly puts the campaign's success down to the power of social media, but says it is too early to tell how many 'beardies' will become regular supporters - they will all be contacted by the charity's community fundraisers.

EXPERT VIEW - Rachel Beer, founding partner, Beautiful World

Rachel Beer, founding partner, Beautiful WorldIt's a moot point as to how creative this is, but it is certainly fantastically opportunistic. What I really love is that the strategy was right for the charity's situation, and it was well planned and executed - resulting in an impressive net income and return on investment. Whether this could be as successful as Movember depends somewhat on how many men are prepared to grow beards, but even if the charity continues to run the campaign on a small scale, with an ROI like that it's still worth doing.


Creativity: 1

Delivery: 5

Total: 6 out of 10

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