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What causes do men care about? Kids, and moustaches
Women give more to charity than men. But with the rise of the sensitive, modern man, that could change. - photo by Lane Anderson
The Golden Halo Awards are given every year to exceptional marketing campaigns for causes kind of like the CLIO's for charities and the winners get recognized in Advertising Age.

The highest honor for video last year went to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's campaign to drive attention and dollars to Run for the Cure. The video, called "The Moment," opens with a serious-looking doctor sitting behind a desk, facing an apprehensive couple.

Soft piano music plays over the scene while the couple looks at each other with grim concern while the doctor delivers his prognosis. The camera closes in on the wife's face, then cuts to her husband stroking her arm, when the woman buries her face in her hand in tears. Then, the scene turns and when she lifts her hand, we see that she is smiling. Her husband pulls her into a hug. "Catherine just learned that she's been breast cancer free for five years," flashes onto the screen. The camera frames the couple, faces touching, wiping away happy tears. Then, the words: "Let's run for more moments like this."

It's a touching ad, with a clever turn, and it feels both real and uplifting. But there's something else going on here, too, said Brittany Hill, vice president of research at cause marketing firm Good Scout, with offices in New York, Texas and California.

"The focus on the man in the story makes breast cancer more than a woman's concern it shows how it affects men," she said.

Women give more to charity in almost every income group, according to data from the Womens Philanthropy Institute, but could that gap be closed if fundraisers made more efforts like this to reach out to men?

Hill said the nonprofit industry tends to focus on females in their marketing, so her firm conducted a survey of 1,500 men in the U.S. of varying ages, ethnicities and social status. It found that 52 percent of participants support or would support charities that help children, for example.

"As strong as the response from women can be, overtargeting women causes us to fail to include men," said Hill. "We need to ask not if men will engage, but how we should work to motivate them."

Gender and generosity

It's not clear why women give more than men. A 2010 study from Indiana University found that women at every income level give to charity more often than men do and they tend to make bigger donations.

It's hard to isolate who is doing the giving among couples, so the study focused on households headed by a single man or woman and found that women gave more almost across the board, but even more in wealthier households. For example, 96 percent of women who made more than $103,000 gave to charity, while three-fourths of men who made that much did.

As a result of stats like these, fundraisers have been increasingly courting women.

If you do not pay attention to women, you will lose out on a huge audience," study author Debra J. Mesch said. "This trend will continue as women continue to gain income, education and wealth."

But don't be so quick to dismiss men, said Hill. Volunteering rates for men have shot up over the last few years, and 71 percent of men find ways to serve their communities outside the wallet, according to the Good Scout report.

"Men love to share expertise," said Hill, so many men help in building projects like Habitat for Humanity, and serve on nonprofit boards. That's the "gateway" to giving, said Hill. Once men become involved, they're much more likely to donate money as well as time.


The No. 1 cause men support, according to Good Scout's report? It's children. Over half of men surveyed support or would support causes for children with disaster relief and health causes coming in second and third.

This is part of a national trend, said Hill, who points out that, increasingly, advertising aimed at men is aimed at dads. She calls it "Dadvertising."

"Dads are not just breadwinners now, they are in tune," said Hill.

She points to February's Super Bowl ads, such as the wildly popular Dove Men Care ad celebrating fathers with a montage of scenes of children saluting their father by calling him "Daddy," Da-da" or "Dad."

This trend suggests that moms won't dominate consumer or charitable marketing in the near future, but will give fathers who increasingly share child care and household duties their due.

Moustaches and ice buckets

The usual fundraising tactics like Instagram campaigns and heartwarming ads aren't likely to get men giving, research indicates.

Unlike women, who share their causes and activities on social media, men aren't into that. According to the Good Scout survey, 71 percent of men have not shared their charitable support on social media. Popular social media campaigns like the UN's #GivingTuesday, which is promoted using "unselfie" photos in which participants take selfies with the name of their favorite charity, are driven mostly by females.

Men prefer something, well, more manly.

"Campaigns work best when they appeal to men's competitive spirit, or something that's cool or funny," said Hill.

She points to social media exceptions like the Ice Bucket Challenge, which appealed to men and women alike, and the Movember Foundation which challenges men to grow moustaches during November to raise awareness and money for men's health issues like prostate cancer.

Why is Movember such a hit? "Its fun and often hilarious, even if people often dont know exactly what their donations are going towards," said Jeremy Douglas of cause marketing group Advice for Good. The fun is in the moustache, which feels like an inside joke, and the satisfaction from sharing that alone is enough to drive interest.

It's also low-cost, easy to share and visual. "Something particularly genius about Movember is the marketing power of a moustache. When you see someone sporting a moustache in November you instantly think of Movember. Their association with the campaign is literally on their face," said Douglas.

The success of Movember, which has raised $559 million to date and has participation in 21 countries, shows that men do like to use social media on their terms, said Hill.

"Movember cracked the code in encouraging men to share peer to peer," she said. "But you need a moustache or a challenge to tap into the competitive spirit and give men a push."
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