Fundraising Story – 7 – Year of The Beard Man

My name is Andy Hawkins and here’s my fundraising story –

My life has become a series of projects over the last few years. These projects range from personal challenges to ambitious expeditions to silly charitable initiatives. I carry out the projects for several reasons but mainly they stem from the idea that the world is there to be enjoyed and most people just plod on through, ignoring the chance to embrace life and have fun.

Last year on the 16th September 2012, I embarked on my latest project, the Year of Beard.

Essentially this involved me going from this:-

The Beardman before

 

 

 

To this:-

The Beardman After

 

 

 

 

Over the course of an entire year.

The simplicity was that I didn’t need to do anything. I just avoided cutting, trimming, waxing, shaving or plucking my beard and hair for 365 days.

Initially there was absolutely no point to this other than wanting to experience what it would be like to be a human yeti. As with many of my projects, I always knew there would be a charitable objective for the Year of Beard I just hadn’t come up with it at the onset.
After some thinking toward the latter end of the year it made perfect sense that my excessive hair growth could be used to help those unfortunate people who have lost their hair through illness or medical treatment. At this point I contacted the Little Princess Trust and explained my fundraising idea –

1) I made a video cataloguing the entire year of growth with a comical twist at the end

Thus raising awareness about the project and subsequently the great work of the Little Princess Trust.

2) I made a witty website www.yearofbeard.co.uk as a portal to everything about the Year of Beard and to allow people to donate money as sponsorship through my JustGiving page for:-

3) My hair donation. This is yet to happen. Hair donated to the Trust is made into wigs for children who have lost theirs through cancer treatment. When mine is long enough it will be in the post. Donating my hair is the easy part so as well as raising awareness my final mission was to help raise funds to pay for the wig that would be made from my hair.

4) As a final novel approach I created a calendar, A Year of Beard, with silly monthly pictures of my hair growth which can be purchased from the website. All the profits from sales along with the sponsorship money for my hair donation go to the Little Princess Trust.

They loved the idea and agreed to be on board with my crackpot scheme. To date I have raised approx. £350 from calendar sales and donations which is roughly equal to the cost to make one real hair wig for the charity. However, I’m still selling calendars and hopefully as Christmas and New Year approaches sales will increase.

The success of the Year of Beard has been somewhat further reaching than the money I have raised so far and hopefully I’ve made a greater general awareness about the work of the LPT. Here’s how it’s gone:

Firstly, TV Presenter Ben Shephard tweeted about his love of a good beard, my website address and the Calendars I was selling. Then I began to get a lot of coverage from local press both in print and online. My Video began to get more and more views, to date it has had over 14 and a half thousand views. To top off all my hard work marketing the Year of Beard, I made it on to the Mirror’s online weird news section where my video and story could be seen by a much larger audience. The spread of my charity campaign has since reached across news sites throughout Europe and the rest of the world to places including Romania, Belgium and the Czech Republic to name but a few.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my fundraising story. I really needed to think out of the box to help raise awareness about the LPT. It’s not over just yet I plan on holding a final haircut event in a prominent place in my local town to try and gain more money to donate.

And finally, watch this space, there will be another video charting my hair removal, even more ambitious than the first and hopefully even more viral!

Andy Hawkins

JustGiving – http://www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Beardman

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