Celebrity Support For Charities
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In April, the Sunday Times revealed its Giving List; a list of generous donations by the UK’s wealthiest people. At the top of the list was the Sainsbury Family, who had given over £200million to 18 charitable trusts, which accounted for 40% of their wealth. Others on the list included the musician Elton John, who had donated £24.1million largely to AIDS charities and the footballer Steven Gerrard who had donated £13million to a number of charities including a children’s hospital. These significant contributions will benefit many people in need.

Many people look at the rich and famous with a combination of admiration and envy. Whether these people have trained hard, endured years of sacrifice and worked their way up the ladder to success, there is still a level of resentment that they have made it. For this reason, when a celebrity gives their time or money to a charity, it is often represented in the media as a self-publicity stunt.

However many celebrities donate money to charity without making a big thing about it. They might set up a discrete foundation. If a star such as Steven Gerrard or Elton John were only driven by the motivation to boost their publicity, there are far more effective ways of spending that money.

Motivations for Donations

Anyone who donates their time or money to a charity has a personal motivation and celebrity endorsement or contributions are no different. There are many reasons why people decide to be charitable and many more that help them to decide with organisations they want to support.

For many people the decision to support a specific charity is due to their own personal experience or that of a close friend or family member. They recognise that the charity was there to help them in their time of need and they want to give something back when they are in a position to do so.

In many other circumstances, giving to charity is a two way process. Volunteering might provide someone with an opportunity to do something they love, it may help them to build their experience or CV so they improve their chances of getting a job. It may offer a challenge that is missing in other areas of their life or give them a sense of purpose. For celebrities, it can provide a reality check that keeps them grounded.

With organised fundraising activities such as marathons or sky dives, many people take part not because of a particular allegiance with the charity, but because they are looking for a personal challenge and this provides the opportunity. They gain an incredible sense of accomplishment from completing the challenge, which adds the feel good factor to their lives. People also get that feel good factor from making a donation; they have done their bit to help.

Promoting the Exchange

Donations of both time and money are essential to any charity, whether they come from one generous celebrity donor or a thousand small contributions from regular people. Getting used to asking for money or help can be tricky and finding new and innovative fundraising events can be a challenge. However many charities focus their efforts on asking people to give and are missing the point that in many cases this is an exchange.

For your next marketing campaign, try looking at it as a two way process and focus attention on promoting what the donator gets in return. How can it make them feel? What can it help them to achieve? Studies have shown that giving is one of the routes to happiness and donating to a charity offers a chance to be part of a community, to share an experience and that alone can be fulfilling.

For more advice on charity issues and a range of charity services, visit The Clare Foundation.


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