I had lunch with a really interesting guy a couple of days ago at Waterstreet Cafe in Gastown, Vancouver – it’s been a while since I’ve eaten there and have to say the food was excellent! Thanks Lance. Ward Bingham started a venture 6 months ago called Mondonation, a concept born out of a tragedy he experienced at the height of his design career when over 20 if his close friends perished on a boat he was on. After a rough yet introspective period, Ward came up with a concept to produce t-shirts that allowed people to wear their inner beliefs on the outside. Each shirt has the slogan “I Believe” on the front. On the back, you can write your personal belief. And a portion of each shirt is donated to charitable causes chosen by you or Mondonation.
It was interesting to hear that Ward received a lot of publicity early on, including appearances on breakfast television, 2-page magazine spreads, countless mentions in newspapers but none of it turned into significant sales. It is then when he discovered YouTube and posted some videos about Mondonation. Soon others started posting their own along with their beliefs, and it has since started to swell. One video that has particularly gone viral is the BUFUMUFU video contest which is closing in on 600,000 page views. Another one that is getting attention is the I Believe in YouTube video. Interesting enough, my colleague Robert Miggins based in San Antonio, Texas is the one who first brought Mondonation, a Vancouver-based business to my attention. He was impressed with their marketing efforts. The power of the net.
Ward shared a story that drives home the purpose of his movement in bringing an increasingly low touch society into higher conscience. A lady emailed Ward about how she was in a bank line up wearing her I Believe shirt. The person behind her read the print “I believe I’m a survivor” and inquired what it meant. She explained how she had recently survived breast cancer. To her astonishment, the lady behind her was also a cancer survivor. Two strangers in a line up that would likely not have connected, now speak at least 5 hours a week with one another. The shirt and the message enabled this connection. This is Ward’s vision – to see this connection repeated many times over, all over the world. I believe in this movement. I believe it will happen. And I believe if you haven’t heard of BUFUMUFU, you will.