Does celebrity endorsement matter?
One of the techniques nonprofits use to raise funds is celebrity appearances, endorsements or partnerships. Often, big names help draw big dollars. From big-ticket events like Coldplay Headlining a Bushfire Benefit Concert, to benefit wildfire victims in Australia to Celebrities Signing Hardhats for a Habitat for Humanity auction, celebrity status ensures additional news coverage and an increased “appeal factor” for some donors.
But who the celebrity is matters as much as what the celebrity is lending his/her name or image to. Given this week’s economic news, it is imperative to make sure that both celebrities and charities align themselves with the right image, in order to make the biggest impact on the world’s problems.
One of the best examples I’ve seen of a celebrity using his status to do immense good is Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. Since 2003, Drew and his wife Brittany and The Brees Dream Foundation have contributed more than $4.5 million to charitable causes in the communities they have “adopted” – West Lafayette, Indiana; San Diego and New Orleans. And they are doing more than just lending their name, they are seeking out the most projects and programs that will make the biggest differences in those communities.
During the 2008 season, Drew was widely recognized for his stellar performance as the Quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, receiving the NFL 101 Award for NFC Offensive Player of the Year, the FedEx Air Player of the Week and the AP Offensive Player of the Year.
More importantly however, Drew has put his heart into making each new community better than he found it – the awards he has received for that work tell the true story of the type of celebrity he lends to a community and organization. He has been honored for his work with the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award, the Horizon Award, the Pro Football Weekly Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year Award, and the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.
We began working with Drew Brees in 2007, as part of our Operation Kids: Rebuilding Dreams in New Orleans campaign. It has been so refreshing to work with a celebrity like Drew, who is so committed to the children and youth in his community.
Celebrities can lend an enormous amount of credibility, credence and cache to an organization’s work, if the brands are a natural fit. What other celebrities have you seen that are truly dedicated to giving back to the community?