To suggest that The Sides of March 2016 was a success would be about as understated as Ambrose Burnside’s > very sideburns themselves. We followed a trail blazed by some similar facial hair charity based organisations and managed to eclipse many of their first year achievements by way of number of participants, funds generated and most importantly of all: the awareness raised.
The dust has now finally settled after Burns Night 2016 which marked the end of the first Sides of March sideburn growing charity fundraiser campaign. This however is merely the beginning as we are just getting started...
We absolutely smashed our monetary target of £10,000 and ended up generating in excess of £16,000 for Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). This with just one week’s lead time to March 2016. This helped fund their campaigns (you can see their latest Mandictionary and Propamanda campaigns now being advertised for example) and will help cover their helpline for several thousand calls to provide front line support where it is most needed.
Perhaps one of our most remarkable achievements was being ranked as top 1% of all donators in the Just Giving platform in 2016...a huge thanks to all our supporters.
As we originally stated however – money alone does not win this fight. It can certainly help and be put to amazing use as we have just highlighted but it also and maybe more so it is the raising of awareness and the delivery of the message which is the real measure of success.
During our first campaign (which was just 6 weeks long from the date of inception) we appeared on TV via London Live and the subsequent online video was viewed over 6,000 times in just one day via Facebook. We generated over 350 donations with an estimated 75 participants spreading the word via their sideburns all around the world from London to Vancouver and from Antigua to Albania. See our Facebook gallery for the hairy mug shots of just some of our participants: the Marching Army.
We generated almost 2000 followers on Twitter and on Instagram and appeared in a multitude of online and international press outlets including Uproxx, Mashable, The Evening Standard, The Metro, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mirror, The Sun and the world’s busiest news website The Daily Mail Online.
Our message spread far and wide and grew almost as much as our sideburns.
The end of the 2016 campaign was marked by our inaugural Burns Night hosted by our friends at the Holborn Studios. Tickets quickly sold out and the evening was an amazing cocktail of fun and hairy faces; emotion and empowerment as well as some incredible fundraising and prize winning.
Jane Powell, CALM’s Founder opened the show with a speech marking the first year of the Sides of March....somewhat poignantly on the exact day of the 10th Anniversary of the CALM Charity’s inception.
We had fun and games with Pin the Sideburns on the Donkey, corporate sponsorship from Love Smoothie Bikes and a huge array of prizes donated from all our friends and corporate sponsors for our Burns-bids and raffle.
The prizes included:
A weekend break for 10, Wembley FA Cup VIP Tickets. Wembley VIP Rugby Tickets, Boxing event tickets, Dinner at Sushi Samba, Martial Arts and Fitness classes, sports memorabilia artwork, designer clothing, gift vouchers and many, many more.
The Burn Off:
One of the highlights of the evening was the Burn Off which is a face off of the year’s top 10 sideburn growers with the winner being decided by a judging panel and the crowd.
See our Gallery page on Facebook or our website for some of the ‘Burners
The end of the event was marked by speech from our founder member emotionally thanking everyone involved for their incredible support and rally support for future campaigns. As he said: “The future is hairy...but hopefully a little less scary”
The whole Sides of March campaign was designed to face up to suicide. Literally. The sideburns are there on your face to create a talking point and encourage people to talk about a generally taboo subject. Ultimately to generate interest in The Sides of March in a fun and engaging way all for an amazingly good cause.
This is only the beginning and we will be back hairier and more vocal than ever in all our future campaigns and with your help we can really take this message global. We are affiliated to CALM and subsequently the Heads Together campaign spearheaded by the Royal Foundation amongst other top corporate sponsors so 2017 is looking like it will be huge:
We all have to do something to lower the alarming fact that suicide is the single biggest killer of men up to the age of 45. Growing Sideburns with us throughout the month of March is a great way to get involved.