Something that often comes up when discussing getting attention for an organization is “who can we get to trumpet out cause” – “what celebrity has the most appeal we can use to help us?” 

Often I’ve wondered whether it’s appropriate to have celebrity endorsements, and have had some heated debates on the merits or otherwise of these types of endorsements.

One of questions I often ask is “why would they support, is it for their own purpose, or for the belief they have in the work of the organization?”

More often than not the responses are something on the lines of “they have the potential to bring attention to our cause” or “they’ll look good supporting us”.

When organizations only look at the pulling power of a celebrity do they have it wrong, or should there be more to it than the celebrity’s ability to raise awareness?

Should there be some ‘heart’ in why a celebrity endorses an organization?

I’ve seen cases where ‘celebs’ have been contacted to assist a cause, only to be told that it needs to be approved by their agent, and that a fee is required – in these situations it’s more a business than philanthropic transaction.

When reading “Most people take no notice of celebrities promoting charity messages, survey finds”  it made me wonder if this is the case the world over, or just in certain countries.

Majority of poll respondents have never been prompted to support a cause by a famous person’s endorsement or have been put off by it

Almost two-thirds of people take no notice of celebrities who promote charity messages or even find them off-putting, according to new research.

A poll of 2,842 people found about half took no notice of the celebrity’s message and a further 14 per cent were put off it. A third said they became more aware of the problem or charity and a small number were motivated to support the cause or change their behaviour. 

The research, commissioned by the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University and the University of Guelph in Canada, found that 79 per cent of respondents had never been prompted to do anything for a good cause by a famous person’s message. Of the 21 per cent who had been motivated to act, 44 per cent had tried to learn more about the cause and 43 per cent had visited a website or clicked on a link.        

 Read the full story here


Some of the comments are very valid, such as:

“These are interesting findings. However, surely the flaw in this research is that it does not measure how many people were influenced through something they saw in the media which was only covered by the media because a celebrity was involved. The reason for using celebrities in a campaign is not always to gain donations, sometimes its to ensure that the campaign actually receives coverage. Unfortunately media coverage is becoming harder and harder to achieve, especially on broadcast media. The celebrity or famous people is the only assurance that the campaign will actually be covered.” (David Knight)

It would be a shame if this is the case everywhere, but unless organizations do some polling of their own we’ll never know.

Are you using celebrity to endorse / support / promote your organization, if so what benefits have you gained?

What would it take for you to support an organization promoted by a celebrity?

Do celebrities make you want to support or know more about an organization?


2 thoughts on “Celebrities and charity endorsement

  1. Thanks Alex, yes your ambassadors are really ‘into’ what Y for YOUTH is all about which is great. I’ve seen ambassadors get on board with organisations for only what could be seen as ‘publicity opportunities’ – it’s a shame really.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s