The ALSA’s web site notes that the challenge helped to raise over $114 million in donations and Facebook reports that the videos were viewed more than 10 billion times, reaching over 440 million people. (Insert loud applause here for just the cause awareness alone.)
The celebrity component to the campaign is credited as being one of the major factors behind the ALS challenge’s success. Matt Lauer has been widely credited with bringing the Ice Bucket Challenge to mainstream audiences after he took the “nomination” from professional golfer, Greg Norman, on NBC’s The Today Show. From there, several celebrities followed suit creating a media blitz that encouraged people to follow from all walks of life.
Celebrities can greatly impact the reach of a charity’s message with participation on any level from simply attending an event to becoming a national spokesperson. The following suggestions address items for an artist to keep in mind when considering partnering with a non-profit organization.
If possible, begin your alliance with a charity early in your career to help develop a credible history of your patronage to the cause. Select one that has personal meaning for you to keep it sincere and organic in nature. There are many to choose from, but once you find the perfect fit—one that matches your interests—stick with them over time.
Before you commit to representing or supporting a specific charity, be sure to vet them to avoid potential public controversy down the line. A strong benchmark in identifying a sound organization is making sure that at least 75% of their donations go toward actual programs vs. fund-raising and administrative costs. Visit GuideStar to check out the financial records of millions of registered non-profits, or go to Charity Navigator for a great place to easily research the transparency, accountability and financial health of an organization.
Charities benefit from the gift of a supporter’s time or money, but the exposure gained by a celebrity from sharing their passion for an organization with their on-line social tribe is also valuable. Engage your fans by clearly explaining what the charity provides, why it means so much to you, how you are contributing, and ways they can get involved.
Working together towards a common goal can create a strong sense of community. People are more open to support a cause if the request comes directly from an individual they feel a connection with vs. a direct request from a charity, which can often be easily pushed aside as spam. Participate in reciprocal posting and linking to the .orgs social sites. Just be careful not to over-post as that could quickly make your message less impactful. The best times to show your commitment to a cause is when a new campaign is launched, a notable event happens, or an occasion is taking place such as a concert to raise funds for the charity.
Once you’ve done your due diligence vetting and selecting a charity that works to help the cause closest to your heart, secure your alliance by getting involved and actively sharing your passion and support with your on-line community. Your time and/or monetary contributions should leave you feeling personally fulfilled knowing that you are a part of making a change for a better world.