11 Tips to Help Get Celebrities to Back Your Cause

Whether you want to admit it or not, sometimes campaigns need the help of well known people to spread our message. If you don't have a celebrity or ambassador program, here are 11 tips to help you.

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Before you start, first check if you really need attention on your issue. Don't put the cart before the horse, or the celebrity before the theory of change. Ask yourself: will having attention brought by a celebrity bring about the change we want to see in the world? If your answer is, “It will raise awareness,” that's not good enough. Your organisation needs a solid theory of change about how a celebrity or influencer achieves your campaign objectives before starting down this path.

Okay, so the answer is “Yes, an influencer will help achieve our objective (and here's why)”? Let's get to it!

  1. Put the six degrees of separation theory to good use. Ask your organisation's staff, board and volunteers, if they have any personal or professional connections to a well-know person. Quite a few fantastic partnerships with well-known figures and influencers have developed with organisations I have worked with this way.

  2. Check if any have high-profile social media followers or existing supporters. You probably have someone well-known on your donor or activist database right now. We know of lots of organisations that have signed up celebrities for regularly giving programs via their street teams, or had a well-known name lurking in their supporter data. For organisations with verified Twitter accounts, you can easily see the other verified accounts who follow you. Or use a tool like Social Bro or Sprout Social to find high-profile followers. You may be surprised who “likes your work” already, which makes for a much easier approach to their management teams.

  3. Don't randomly pester well known people on social media. It makes you look unprofessional, especially to their management teams. Only contact them via Twitter, (and other social accounts) if they seem genuinely interested in your work/issue or have commented or posted about it, and given you a natural reason to join in their conversation.

  4. Work with people who already have the contacts you need. If you have worked or have a relationship with a PR agency, ask them to introduce you to talent and management agencies on your behalf, as they often have existing relationships.

  5. Don't always go for established or top-bill names. Working with emerging and new talent, as they will often continue to support your organisation as they develop and grow. This works really well with musicians and actors.

  6. Remember to include Bloggers, Vloggers and Podcasters. If you don't already have a blogger outreach program, start one today and work with bloggers that influence your existing or hoped for supporter profile. If you need help with blogger outreach get in touch with us.

  7. Have a range of different offers that celebrities and influencers can do to support you. Provide flexibility, so they can support you when they are not busy or can fit into their schedules. It could be anything from a list of suggested social media posts, to publicly supporting fundraising appeals or campaigns, to being an organisational ambassador or spokesperson, to become honorary president.

  8. Invest in staff time to manage your celebrity and influencer program. If you can't afford a full time position, hire an experienced PR professional for a short time to train your staff, help set up a program and make some connections for your team to follow up. If you need help setting up your celebrity and influencer program, get in touch with us.

  9. Scratch the agent’s back and they will be more likely to scratch yours. Be open to working with other people on their roster, that they are trying to build the profile for. This is a great way to gain their trust and show that you can deliver great opportunities for their clients to be involved with.

  10. Put together a great pitch. You are dealing with incredibly busy people. Invest in a fantastic five slide deck and have one sentence answers to the following questions:

    1. Why is the issue/campaign your organisation focuses on important?
    2. How is your organisation unique in solving the problem?
    3. What are the profile/demographics of your current supporter base and how are they relevant to the celebrity?
    4. Are there already other high-profile, influential or industry respected ambassadors or board members?
    5. What are three different ways the celebrity could lend their support? Always say you are open to ideas from the agent and celebrity themselves.
  11. Develop a better understanding of audience demographics. This great (and currently free) tool by YouGov gives you the UK demographics, income, interests and political tendencies of people who like certain celebrities, brands and people. Pro-Tip: if you are based in the UK, or have a sister UK organisation, you can check the audience profile of your organisation as well.

And just like that you could be seeing your campaign’s name in lights.

Have any other tips or experiences? Share them with a community of campaigners on Campaign Hub.