The United States Australian Rules Football League (USAFL) and Movember established the USAFL Movember Challenge in 2019. Since that time, over 250 USAFL Movember community members from 18 clubs nationwide have participated in Movember, raising over $54,000 and moving over 4,000 miles in support of men’s health. By leading incredible fundraising initiatives, hosting amazing events, and executing impactful marketing campaigns across social platforms, the USAFL’s Movember efforts provide a terrific blueprint on how a sports community can help change the face of men’s health.
USAFL community members sign up to fundraise by Growing a Mo, taking the Move Challenge, hosting a Mo-ment, or Mo-ing their own way. They join their club’s team on movember.com and compete in a friendly fundraising competition through the USAFL Movember Challenge. These Movember supporters then engage their own networks to raise funds and awareness for men’s health.
To kick off moustache season, the USAFL incorporates Movember into their annual Nationals Tournament, typically held in October of every year. The USAFL Movember committee as well as a Movember ambassador encourage players and clubs to participate in Movember and share updates on the work they have helped to fund over the last year, building excitement for the hairiest month of the year. Individual players and clubs also host Shave Downs and Kickoff Events, often raffling off the right to shave down team members to the highest bidders!
At the conclusion of Movember, the league hosts an awards ceremony where the USAFL leadership recognizes top fundraisers and present some epic prizes.The league also highlights player and club participation across their social channels and gives weekly updates on where teams and players stand in the fundraising challenge.Individual players share video stories on the importance of Movember and why they participate, providing a sense of community and camaraderie across the league.
During Movember 2020, there were some strong team and individual fundraising efforts, with the Austin Crows earning a bit of redemption by raising over $11,000 and taking home the team fundraising title after falling just short to the Denver Bulldogs in 2019. Ben Altman ($2,099 raised), Movember champion from the Austin Crows, has been supporting Movember for 10 years and reflected on the impact of his team’s tremendous efforts. “I helped pull some of the (Austin) boys together and extend it to our personal network - it’s a good way to bring the community together and really raise awareness” said Ben, also citing his appreciation of Movember expanding its focus beyond cancer research into mental health, which he has personal connections to.
The highest individual fundraiser and Denver Bulldogs Movember team champion Dylan Braun ($4,091) has very personal story about his Movember connection that inspired his actions and commitment during 2020, in turn leading a monumental individual effort that gave him the edge in the individual portion of the 2020 USAFL Movember Challenge.
Movember appreciates all that the USAFL community does to enable men to take action to lead happier, healthier, and longer lives. The 2021 Movember USAFL Challenge will undoubtedly be another incredible effort in support of men’s health. The only question that now remains – who will take home the top spot?