Covenant House Alas­ka: mous­tache march’

August 31, 2009
Medium of Communication
Face to face, online
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Children, youth and family, poverty/social justice
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
March, 2009

SOFII’s view

Covenant House helps homeless and runaway youth in Alaska. It’s not an easy cause to raise money for and their event, so it’s great that their ‘moustache march’ has brought new supporters to their cause, as well as raising much-needed funds.

SOFII would encourage all nonprofits that run new events like this to pay close attention to building strong relationships with the event participants and their sponsors. It’s the most important next step and one that is too often overlooked.

Covenant House now has more people to ask to become regular monthly donors or to support their organisation in some other ongoing way. While the event raised a substantial $17,000 (net), by working to convert participants and sponsors into long-term donors, moustache march has the potential to net much more long-term and sustainable income.

Creator / originator

Rich Mystrom, Sheila Parker, Katherine Allison and Lauren Rice.

Summary / objectives

Our goal was to introduce Covenant House Alaska to the 25-40 year-old-age group to encourage volunteering and philanthropic involvement.


We were approached by the son of a board member who was interested in the idea of growing a moustache and gathering donations for it. We brainstormed and came up with ‘moustache march’, when we would ask men in the community to embrace their upper lip and their determination to grow a moustache.

Thirty men – including local radio and television celebrities and our chief of police – agreed to flaunt their facial adornment for the month of March. They paid a US$10 entry fee and raised money by asking their friends, family and tash fans everywhere to make donations.

We had a page on our website dedicated to the event with photos of all the participants. The pictures were updated regularly so their fans could track their progress. Our ‘men of moustache march’ encouraged people to go to the site and make donations to Covenant House in honour of their moustache.

At the end of the month we had a party to celebrate the tash and to award prizes in the following categories: best moustache, best attempt, best transformation and Mr Congeniality. We also gave an award to the moustache that raised the most money.  

Special characteristics

Moustache march was a fun and unusual way to introduce Covenant House Alaska to a new group of potential donors. The men who participated loved the attention their moustaches brought them and were proud to explain why they were growing it.

Influence / impact

By enlisting local radio and TV personalities we were guaranteed airtime every day for the entire month, which increased our visibility and exposed us to a new audience of thousands of people at no cost to us. The participants were motivated to be recognised as the one who raised the most money so they actively solicited donations on our behalf. They came up with creative ideas to spread the word to their friends and family, again at no cost to us.


Our overhead for this event was exceptionally low. We only had to pay for printing costs, website hosting and part of the final event, so our total money spent was just $1,017.


We raised $18,000, a net profit of $16,983.


This event was a new and different way to raise funds for an organisation that has been active in Alaska for over 20 years.

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A bevy of likely lads with acceptable upper lip adornments all line up for the first moustache march.
View original image
Their folly is recorded for all eternity on Facebook. But they did raise a pile of cash.

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