Money can shield high-profile charities from objective external critical appraisal. Look at Movember - its income legitimises its work. Who'd criticise it? It clearly does good, though we all know income isn't the outcome. But as participation drains away, critical analysis is overdue. It's time to secure the legacy of Movember before it dissipates.
What is the legacy of donor investment? What is the evidence that Movember has improved things for men in the UK? I can't really tell. I can't find any independent evaluation or analysis of Movember's UK outcomes. No one with a profile in men's health would risk alienating Movember with a critique. The Canadians, bless 'em, are having a go. For example, Movember's aim is to "create conversations" about men's health, especially prostate and testicular cancer. Content analysis of Twitter from 2013 showed it didn't. Only 0.6 per cent of tweets made reference to either.
Movember's UK board consists of eight Australians. One is a prostate cancer cell biologist, but no one else seems to have professional knowledge, interest or expertise in men or men's health, our third sector, or any obvious connection to the UK. No wonder the strategy for men's health in the UK is so feeble.
Movember has raised about £84m from the UK in the past five years, but UK MoBros have not been expertly informed on UK men's health nor nurtured by good donor support. Participation is now plummeting. Movember could have been so much better for so much longer by being more transparent, more local, more intelligence-led and a lot less sure of itself as a paradigm shift in campaigning and fundraising.
Chris Hiley works in the health voluntary sector