Movember is a worldwide phenomenon that has raised some $174 million for cancer charities across the globe since its inception in Australia in 2003.
The appeal, particularly to men, is twofold: men grow mustaches—unclipped—throughout the month of November in order to fundraise for prostate/testicular cancer charities and research and in return, enjoy having the excuse to grow massive mustaches outside of annoyed wives and girlfriends (or husbands and boyfriends).
And Paul Overett, a Long Beach attorney, created one of the most successful Movember groups in the nation, with 102 members raising $31,997 (and counting until fundraising ends on December 9). That puts them at number 18—out of a staggering 14,331 U.S. teams.
"I set in my mind the number 100 from the beginning," said Overett. "Since it's our first year participating with Movember, we really didn't have any idea how friends and family would react. The first 60 was fairly easy. The rest required some work through constant emailing, calling, texting, and general harrassment of anyone I came into contact with from mid-October to mid-November. It was a crusade!"
Their strategy was simple: highlight the fact that a mustache—particularly when you've never regularly have one—is an ice breaker which engages in random conversation. In shorter terms: people inquire and it provides each "MoBro," the moniker provided to the mustached men partaking in the fundraising, a chance to tell someone about the importance of men's health.
"When people see you are committed, its much easier for them to make a donation and feel good about it," explained Overett. "I tell everyone that laughs at my mustache that they have to pay the price of admission. They are usually happy to."
The inherently male epicenter of the movement has brought forth the chance for men to discuss things normally off the table—call it chauvinism or stereotypical, but men often like to keep things out of mind when out of sight, especially when it comes to their sexual functioning.
"The mustache is the ultimate expression of man," said Overett. "Most of us participate in so many different charities that it's nice to take care of our own a bit and have some fun doing it. The comaraderie amoung the 'Stachehood is like no other, the bond is much stronger than I ever imagined. Sounds ridiculous, but my MoBros know exactly what I'm talking about."
And considering it's the groups first go-round, Overett is rightfully proud. As for next year?
"Planning for next year is already in the works," he said. "We will have better events, grow our numbers in quantity and quality, and go for the top ten nationwide next year."
To donate to Paul's team, click here.