Jun 15, 2021

Celebrity Endorsements: Are They Worth It To Your Organization?

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Celebrity Endorsements

To most people, the assumption exists that the key to immediate fundraising campaign success is to get a celebrity endorsement. There’s a belief that celebrity endorsements will directly translate to the increased popularity of an organization’s mission.

It wouldn’t be fair to say that those thoughts are completely wrong, given the attention that the ice bucket challenge and Red Nose Day received. In that case, it isn’t difficult to see where this belief sprouted from. Nonprofit organizations searching and waiting, for a celebrity endorsement may want to think twice about whether it would really be beneficial.

The Costs of Celebrity Endorsements

While there’s a large potential upside to celebrity endorsements, you must also consider the downside and its implications for your organization.

By associating your nonprofit’s brand with that of a celebrity, a new risk is introduced.  If the celebrity’s public image takes a hit in the public eye, it could also affect the image of your cause. Your nonprofit could be viewed as disingenuous and not truly devoted to its cause. And just like companies drop professional athletes if they are involved in a scandal, this critical issue could result in a serious loss of donors for your organization.

Costs may be a determining factor for whether you secure a celebrity endorsement or not.  Celebrities that ask you to pay for their time without any other guarantee of performance or contribution, could be a big gamble for a non-profit organization.

Success Is Possible Without Star Power

Researchers have found that the public is more likely to support fundraisers for personal reasons, such as family connections, than they are for celebrity endorsements.  By introducing a celebrity into the mix, a nonprofit could even risk losing some of its donor base that disagrees with the decision or have a personal stake against them.

Two surveys were conducted, which found that 66% of more than 3,000 people were unable to even identify the celebrity in a major charity campaign. More than likely, a well-executed crowdfunding campaign could more easily broaden your database by 60%, increase donations and build awareness for your organization.

Still Want To Pursue Celebrity Endorsements?

Even after considering the costs, if you still choose to look for celebrity endorsements for your nonprofit organization, try to follow these steps when approaching potential.

  • Think carefully about which celebrities you might approach about potentially becoming the face of your campaign. If they’ve got a checkered past, spotted with things that may conflict with your org’s mission, you’ll need to deliberate carefully to decide whether or not it could be a problem in the future.
  • Accessibility is another consideration.  Given that you may be more likely to get them to agree, and join your cause, if you meet them in person versus discussing terms via email, you will need to figure out exactly who you would be able to approach.
  • Local celebrities who mean more to constituents in your surrounding areas might be a great fit instead of trying to reach someone, more famous, that’s on a national, if not worldwide, stage.

Depending on the current status and future goals of your nonprofit, you may be capable of gaining access to a more known celebrity. It’s important to recognize the extent of your nonprofit’s reach to do this effectively.

If All Else Fails, Don’t Walk Away Empty Handed

Even if you aren’t able to get the celebrity to endorse your nonprofit, ask each one who turns you down to contribute either cash or items that your organization can auction at your next fundraising event.  By donating items to your cause, with the proceeds going to your organization, they can help without much effort or cost on their part.

Also, with the power of social media, just getting mentioned on their social media pages could go a long way to promoting your cause to a larger audience.


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