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Celebrities and charity

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Be strategic

Only include celebrity support as part of a wider strategy. Always start with a good idea, event or campaign first. You should only consider celebrity support if it will add something extra to your initiative. Never base an event around a particular celebrity or start with a famous name and try and base your event around them.

Make sure your celebrity is relevant

Try and ensure that your chosen celebrity ambassador has something that connects them to the issue or cause. This will give your organisation and the celebrity credibility at a time when the public are more cynical about the celebrity spokespeople.

Personalise your pitch to celebrities

Make sure your letter is clear and to the point. State why you have approached them in particular, the difference they will make and what they may get out of the experience too! Give the celebrity a variety of choices of how they could get involved.

The importance of impact

You should be able to demonstrate what difference a celebrity can make to your event e.g. increase in fundraising potential and/or media coverage. If you can’t leave them out and use this precious resource for a time when they will make a difference.

Be creative

Make sure the celebrity’s role is interesting, unique and appealing. Celebrities get hundreds of charity asks a week. Make yours stand out. No more cheque presentations, shop openings or corporate dinners please!

Sell to media

Having a celebrity name attached to your campaign  alone is no guarantee of obtaining media coverage. You will still need a strong news hook, case studies and a news story as to why your particular celebrity is involved.

Make sure you know your audience

Does the celebrity really appeal to the people you are trying to reach?

Don’t use but engage

Use limited resources to build quality, long term relationships with committed celebrities that are right for your brand. It’s about quality not quantity.

Beware of corporate endorsements

If your initiative has a sponsor or corporate partner involved there is a fine line between a celebrity endorsing your charity and endorsing your sponsor. Be clear and upfront with the celebrity from the beginning about who is funding and/or organising the event or backing the campaign.

Future trends

More and more celebrities want a holistic and experiential engagement with their chosen charity. They may want to be advocates, trustees, volunteers, donors, fundraisers, specialists, aid worker, publicist, etc. Have you got the resources and strategy in place to enable your celebrity supporter to play the role they want to in your organisation?


Courtesy of: David Piner, PR Manager at British Red Cross

Media Trust