Campaign to watch: Whiskers for water

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campaign: Whiskers for Water
campaign goal:$5,000
has been fundraising since: March 23, 2012
mission statement: “It’s that time again — time to celebrate Cinco De Moustache! That sacred day when men around the country grow their face fuzz just because they can. But this year, our celebration will be a little different. We’re going to harness the power of the beard for good. Incredible good.”

Cinco de Mustache

What happens when you give men the chance to grow out their facial hair and change the world? Cinco de Moustache! This May, Steve and his friends took the initiative to grow out their moustaches and beards to raise funds for clean water. The highest bidders got to choose a design to be shaved on their faces. Steve gave us an update — the results were pretty hairy:

How did you first hear about the water crisis?
My interest in the water crisis started about five years ago when my pastor spoke about it at church. Thankfully, he used enthusiasm and hope instead of guilt to motivate us. That hope of seeing every child with access to clean water has stayed with me. I realize now that guilt is really good at motivating for the short-term, but hope generates a lifetime of motivation.

“I realize now that guilt is really good at motivating for the short-term, but hope generates a lifetime of motivation.”

I heard about charity: water when Jon Acuff, author of “Stuff Christians Like” and “Quitter,” mentioned Scott Harrison’s work. I was impressed with the efforts charity: water has made to eliminate all reasons for not giving, [such as] GPS coordinates and the 100% model.

What was the inspiration behind this campaign?
Every year since college, my friends and I have grown out beards and shaved them into moustaches on May 5th. This year, a friend of mine, Chris Jordan, suggested we do some sort of bidding around Cinco De Moustache to raise money for a charity. The idea was this: put your head on the chopping block (literally) and let others bid on what your shave your face into. I loved it. Being a huge fan of charity: water, I suggested we give the money to them.

Tell us about the guys behind the crazy facial hair.
Chris was the one with the original idea, and he began growing his beard before anyone else. After hearing about Chris and I growing out our beards, my brother, Michael, agreed to join us. He’d donated to charity: water before, and he was a big support for me during my last campaign. We announced it at our weekly Friday lunch and had about eight other coworkers join us. We called it “A Call to Facial Hair.” Doug Wood jumped on board almost immediately. He would eventually have his face shaved into the “Monkeytail Beard.”

Bobby Nation donated his beard which was shaved into the “Friendly Mutton Chops.” Chris Meadows tore his shirt to emulate Hulk Hogan after his likeness was shaved. Randy Doyle sported the “Napolean Imperial” with cornrows, Michael Williams donned the “Captain Jack Sparrow,” and Jeremy Adams had the “French Fork.” At the last minute, we had Craig Musser donate his head to the cause. The winning donation for him was the “Friar Cut.” Chris Jordan was the first to donate his beard and hair to become the “Checkerboard,” and my brother and I were voted to both be the “Two-Face.”

How long did you have to grow your beards and moustaches out?
We began growing our beards around February. Some of us trimmed a bit along the way, but most of us kept the facial hair going as long as we could. We wanted to have as much to work with as possible.

whiskers for water -- the look

What was fundraising like?
Fundraising was a lot of fun. We didn’t take ourselves too seriously, and I think that helped everyone have a good time along the way. The beards generated a lot of buzz as people kept asking “When are you shaving those things off?” It was pretty ridiculous seeing all these guys with massive beards every day at work. Vertafore, where we all work, looked more like a lumberjack yard than a software company. When it came time to give, the generous people at work did so cheerfully. We even had our boss Niel Snowden shave the back of his head into a company design to generate more money.

What was your favorite design?
The Monkeytail. Without a doubt.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to start a campaign?
The water crisis is a very serious topic — but your campaign doesn’t have to be. Humor and hope motivate far better than guilt and shame. Start a campaign and have fun with it! Leverage whatever talents you have. If beards can be used, surely painting, singing or playing basketball could raise money. Also, the power of social media is incredible. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, email or YouTube. I think you’d be surprised how supportive your friends and coworkers will be.

Shave your facial hair in a funky design, kayak down a river, bake bread — you can do just about anything to fundraise for clean water! Get started here >

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