What is the One Man Project?
The mission of the One Man Project is to encourage more men (ages 24-44) to volunteer with charitable organizations and engage in community projects that make our communities a better place to live and work. Highlighting the theme that ‘every man can make a difference’, the One Man Project is a campaign that rolls out in individual cities and creates opportunities for men to volunteer and make a difference.
The One Man Project is a 501(c)(3) public charity that:
- Provides a community engagement platform for 20 young men and their affiliated non-profit organizations in each city
- Develops innovative community service projects that can be replicated by charities and business organizations throughout the country
- Demonstrates how-to get more men engaged in non-profit organizations and in the community through a research-based tool kit for charities and business
- Creates valuable business and personal connections for individuals and charities
A primary component of the One Man Project is a search in key U.S. markets to select men aged 24 – 44 who represent the best of their community from the perspectives of community involvement, intelligence, personality, and leadership capacity. The one person in each city ultimately selected as One Man is involved in his community, passionate about his career, has a variety of interests, is easy to engage with, maintains his own sense of style, and has exemplary ethics. Any man residing in the community between the ages of 24 – 44 can apply or be nominated, and 20 finalists are selected from all applicants. Each applicant must select a charity with which to affiliate.
In each city, the One Man Project incorporates both in-person events and social media/online components. After a media launch party, the men and their charities are featured at a series of happy hours, where the general public is invited to meet the men and learn about the affiliated charities and sponsors. In addition to the happy hours, the men collaborate to create and execute an innovative community service project that attracts volunteers and benefits an affiliated charity.
The men’s pictures and profiles and charity profiles are posted online where individuals can register for a community service project and vote for their favorite candidate. Approximately 30,000 people vote online for their favorite finalist in each city.
At the conclusion of the preliminary events, local community leaders evaluate each of the 20 finalists based on a personal interview and interaction with the community service project. A main celebration event is held, where local hosts preside over an evening that culminates in one man being chosen as the point person for energizing men during the ensuing year.
Why is the One Man Project important?
The One Man Project brings young men together who develop unique, innovative ways to get more of their peers to engage in the community and become mentors for their peers and the next generation of leaders.
Organizations everywhere report a shortage of men stepping up to volunteer. For many non-profits that rely on men to make a difference (e.g. Big Brothers,) this shortage is resulting in many young boys not getting the male mentors they need. Many at-risk boys are on a waiting list for over a year to get a mentor, and some are never matched.
Additionally, our world is becoming increasingly us-versus-them. The One Man Project prides itself on bringing together a group of individuals who represent the diverse community in which they live. The best solutions occur when individuals with a variety of backgrounds and perspectives collaborate.
The problems that surface when at-risk youth don't have role models and organizations don't have the individuals to move positive change forward are increasing. The One Man Project is working on solutions in a manner that is unique, innovative, sometimes irreverent, and demonstrably successful.
Who serves on the board of the One Man Project?
The board is composed of Scott Mayer, Founder and Executive Director, as well as the winner of each One Man Project produced:
Mark Klukow, Minneapolis
Bill Tamlyn, Minneapolis
William Burfeind, Chicago
Raul Magdaleno, Dallas
Amir Omar, Dallas
What is the history of The One Man Project?
In 2009, after hearing from way too many organizations that that they can’t find enough young men to volunteer, Scott Mayer decided that a new method of reaching men could be a solution; and the One Man Project was created. With valuable assistance from Mitch Kelly, the project was launched in Minneapolis/St.Paul in 2009 and has also been successfully produced in Chicago and Dallas.
Since its inception, over one hundred men and hundreds of non-profit charities have directly participated in the project, and thousands of men and women have participated by engaging in community service projects, happy hours and online research and voting.
Why do some non-profit organizations find it difficult to get men to engage?
Women traditionally volunteer at a rate higher than men, and the reason for that is not because men are less community-minded or altruistic. The One Man Project believes it’s because the tactics used to engage men are the wrong ones. The number of women working at nonprofits has increased over the past decade to where now 82 percent of workers at small non-profit organizations are women. It’s a natural tendency for individuals to work from their particular perspective, and a primarily female work force designing volunteer recruitment strategies falls prey to this. The One Man Project’s research shows that what motivates men to volunteer is almost 180 degrees from what motivates women, and what motivates millenials to volunteer is not the same as the motivators for baby-boomers.
How can I participate in the One Man Project?
We’d love to bring the One Man Project to your community. Drop an email to email@example.com and let us know you’re interested in being One Man (or know one) who wants to make a difference.