The Effectiveness of Celebrity Spokespeople in Social Fundraisers

Pope Leo XIII endorses "Vin Mariani", a patent medicine containing cocaine.

New platforms like Crowdrise, Razoo, HelpAttack and many others are springing up along side establish platforms like Friends Asking Friends to help passionate individuals raise money through their social networks for causes they support.

Which means Social fundraising (peer-to-peer fundraising with a social media twist) is gaining more traction and attention.

It used to be that reaching out to the people you had on speed dial was the way to raise money (prior to that it was your neighbors), but now day’s our reach extends to personal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn social networks.

These social networking platforms coupled with the ability to leverage them for fundraising creates incredible possibilities for both nonprofit organizations and people who want to change the world.

One Part Social Fundraising, One Part Celebrity Endorsement

Celebrity endorsements have been around for ages. Check out the image of Pope Leo XIII. He’s endorsing “Vin Mariani”, a patent medicine containing cocaine that was created circa 1863 – that’s almost 150 years ago!

We’ve even got a way to quantify and qualify the use of celebrities in marketing campaigns by evaluating their awareness, appeal, and relevance to a brand’s image and the celebrity’s influence on consumer behavior. It’s called the Davie-Brown Index.

Add celebrities to the social fundraising mix and you’ve got a sure fired recipe for success, so we think.

Do Celebrity Spokespeople Make for Good Fundraisers?

Geoff Livingston and Henry T.Dunbar set out to answer that question in their new whitepaper “The Effectiveness of Celebrity Spokespeople in Social Fundraisers“.

According to Livingston and Dunbar, examination of several online fundraising campaigns that combine celebrity and online personality (or weblebrity) presence with social media reveals that many celebrities do not effectively raise money for nonprofits.

Instead, lesser known celebrities and weblebrities fair better, in particular those that:

  1. Have a personal story to tell about the cause
  2. Are willing to engage a pre-­‐existing tight knit community that interacts with the spokesperson on behalf of the cause
  3. Have an authentic tie to the cause that resonates with that community.