Stars Shine for Social Profitability

Celebrities lend their support to worthy causes

Charities working to achieve Social Profitability recognize the importance of fostering relationships with stars for their ability to increase awareness of their endeavours.

For so many celebrities from the world of television, music, film, fashion, sports or the arts, commitment to a cause means more than paying it lip-service. Impassioned by their beliefs, whether through personal circumstance or the desire to do something good, each one wants to use their fame to make a difference in the lives of others.

Having a celebrity endorsement can make a world of difference to a not-for-profit organization or cause. Celebrities can be spokespersons, board members or even a founder of a charity. Some show their commitment through raising awareness and educating the public, while others use their time to organize and run events, raise funds, make large personal donations, or are seen buying or endorsing a product that generates public awareness.

Celebrities have the power to make us aware of causes that need support. Think of a cause and more than likely there is a celebrity already connected to it. Children and youth, medical research, health, education, disasters, poverty, ecology, mental health, human rights, animal rights, faith-based causes… the list goes on.

Their support helps raise the charity’s or cause’s profile by reaching a wider audience, generates additional media and social media attention, allowing the cause to access valuable celebrity contacts and secure additional donations from their fan base.

Most celebrities endorse more than one cause or charity, and show their loyalty to a greater or lesser degree. Some jump on the bandwagon of the ‘cause du jour’.

There are different types of celebrities. Charities should carefully consider the impact each would have. The ‘Heroes’ have done something spectacular to generate attention, for example an astronaut or Olympic gold medalist. The ‘Stars’ have gained prominence through their public persona or talent. There are also celebrities that shoot to short-lived fame, such as reality-tv stars.

The public is more likely to support organizations whose celebrity endorsers demonstrate a sincere commitment and are knowledgeable about the causes they support, therefore strengthening their credibility. Take the example of Paul McCartney. Regarded worldwide for his views on animal cruelty, PETA is a charity that he lends his time and endorsement to their benefit.

Counter that with Naomi Campbell, who, as a PETA supporter, wore fur on the fashion runways. PETA lost credibility as a direct result of these and other actions of Ms. Campbell, which still affects them.

According to the Institute of Fundraising, a celebrity involvement policy and written agreements with celebrity endorsers clarifying the expectations of both parties should be in place.

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