Working with celebrities, politicians, or influencers seems simple enough but there are a number of considerations to keep in mind before moving forward with engaging these individuals. Read on to review the second half of our tips and reminders around engaging celebrities, influencers, or politicians in your nonprofit. (You can read the first half here!)
- Be respectful of their time. This is one of the most frequent things we hear back from celebrities that have engaged with nonprofits. They want to be told exactly when they’ll be needed, what they’ll be doing during that period, and how they can easily slip away after that. At the end of the day, the time that they give to your nonprofit is time that they could be doing something for their career, or time they could be ‘off’ and away from the exhausting feeling of having to constantly be ‘on’.
- Value their handlers. This relationship is often overlooked in the hope of impressing a celebrity, but their handlers – the managers, agents, assistants, and even glam squads – can all be very helpful in building a relationship with the celebrity brand. For example, a celebrity had visited a nonprofit site for an anniversary celebration the year prior and the nonprofit was hosting a groundbreaking that they were hoping to have a few celebrities attend, to garner additional news attention. The celebrity was scheduled to be across the globe promoting a film but because the nonprofit executives had spent time cultivating the relationship with the celebrity’s handlers as well, one of them took it upon themselves to get the celebrity to film a video message and send some signed swag to display at the groundbreaking. A good reminder to not forget the team behind the star.
- Discuss social media expectations before agreeing on anything. Just because the individual you invite has a significant social media presence, doesn’t mean they’ll tweet about your nonprofit. In fact, its very likely that they don’t even mange their social media accounts and that they have a specific positioning strategy affiliated with each account. Be sure to explain in advance the social media expectations, including if you plan to post about the celebrity. On occasion, actors may be on a media embargo or will need to have images approved before posting.
- List the ways you’re hoping the celebrity will engage. But understand, you may only get one. If a celebrity is giving their time to attend their event, then they may not want to also talk to guests. Believe it or not, each ‘ask’ will be considered on its own, and very rarely do celebrities attend events from start to finish like every other attendee.
- Think of a meaningful thank you. Celebrities receive a lot of branded products with the hope that they’ll be photographed using it. A reusable shopping bag with your logo is likely to get passed on to their assistant; just like the t-shirts a company gifted the celebrity. But don’t let this stop you from doing something. Even flowers with a thoughtfully written thank you note can be appropriate.
- News anchors make wonderful emcees. Our number one tip for a successful program and live auction is to go with the news anchor. They do well reading from a teleprompter, making witty bitter to stall or move things along, and can change pace quickly if needed. Many local news anchors are well known names in communities and can bring a celebrity feel to an event. Keep in mind that it takes a good relationship with your station to get them to release them if your event falls during a time that they’re normally on air.
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