But Girls Can’t Grow Moustaches! (or: Why Nonprofit Professionals Should Volunteer)

But girls can't grow moustaches! But we can volunteer.This month I’m raising money for Movember. And no, that’s not a typo. Movember is a national fundraising and awareness campaign for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Since launching in 2004, the campaign has raised close to $250,000,000 globally, and growth continues exponentially.

It’s a genius campaign, actually. Throughout the month, men across the world grow facial hair in various shapes and sizes, effectively becoming walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. And their friends, family and social networks join in the fun by tracking their mo-progress and becoming their mo-sponsors.

But girls can’t grow moustaches! Fortunately, this is an equal-opportunity fundraising campaign, and as a mo-sista I have committed to tapping my own networks to raise money and awareness around this critical issue.

Why Am I Doing This? Why Should You?

Aren’t I busy enough? As a nonprofit professional who sits on a couple boards and volunteers in my free time, why on earth would I want to take on another cause? And an even better question, why am I encouraging you to do the same?

It’s volunteering.

Just because we get paid to do good doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also give some free time to it, as well. Volunteering for causes you care about enriches your life in ways that paid work just can’t seem to do. It’s also an opportunity to try out new skills and meet new people.

It’s meaningful.

When I was a teenager my grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, he was treated early and fully recovered. Unfortunately, more and more people have similar stories, many of them not ending as happily. With my grandpa in mind, I want to help end these horrible diseases once and for all.

It’s important.

  • 1 in 6 men in the U.S. will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes.
  • 660 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day in the U.S.
  • Every 15 minutes, a man dies from prostate cancer in the U.S.
  • Over 90% of prostate cancer cases are curable if detected and treated early.

Enough said.

It’s fun.

Our work can be stressful. Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on the bigger picture when we’re bogged down with the day-to-day craziness that surrounds us as the many hat-wearers of nonprofit staff people (especially this time of year).

Movember is all the things mentioned above, and it’s also a ton of fun. I get to giggle at my friends’ funny moustaches, rally my social networks and raise money for a good cause. Nothing better to refresh and re-energize me for the holiday season.

So I urge you to find your own Movember – some fun way to blow off steam while doing good. You can choose to help out in a different role within your organization, or you could volunteer for another cause you care about. Either way, find a way to keep your passion alive.

(And, if you were moved by my Movember manifesto, feel free to donate to my campaign or spread the word. Every $5 donation means more resources for men’s health and cancer prevention and treatment.)

How do you keep your passion alive?