It turns out that when it comes to fundraising for a cause, it is not about who knows YOU, but who you KNOW. A recent study sponsored by PayPal Nonprofit, and penned by Geoff Livingston and Henry Dunbar for Zoetica, shows that a personal story, a tight knit community and the authenticity of the messenger count more than simple fame.
Four Tips for Fundraising with Weblebrities
Personal connections and authentic passion for the cause.
Willingness to ask their personal friends to get involved and not just their ‘publics.’
Identify avid users of social media, both by the celebrity and their social networks.
Welcome the non-traditional celebrity.
Consider just these few examples where micro-celebrities outperformed well-known celebrities:
Paddie O’Brien, a 9-year-old cancer patient with virtually no online presence generated more donations than any other individual, including television star Ashton Kutcher.
Tomato Nation’s Sarah Bunting raised over $383K, beating out better known names like TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and All Things D’s Kara Swisher.
Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees
Scrapbooking blogger Ali Edwards, whose son has autism, outpaced 60 celebrity fundraisers, including Kanye West, who didn’t get even one donation. By contrast Edwards brought in 2,313 donors giving 47,849 to benefit Autism Speaks.
PayPal-sponsored Regift the Fruitcake
Filipina singer Charice and her engaged fans beat out more notable celebrities such as Paris Hilton [4 million+ Twitter followers], Billy Bush of Access Hollywood, the NBA’s Lamar Odom and his reality TV star wife Kloe Kardashian. None of these delivered Charice’s impact.
In a charity auction where fans buy mentions, follows, and retweets from celebrities on Twitter. Two of the celebrities drawing the most attention and highest bids have been actor Zachary Levi (of TV’s Chuck) and celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart, beating stars such as country singer LeAnn Rimes and celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
You can download the Effectiveness of Celebrity Spokespeople in Social Fundraisers, in full from the Scribed site.
Other coverage of the paper:
- Celebrities May be Overrated, Chronicle of Philanthropy
- Paypal Research Shows Strength of Community Trumps Popularity,Geoff Livingston How Reddit Rocked Stephen Colbert’s World
- PayPal Paper Shows Celebrities Not Always the Best Choice for Fundraising, Zoetica
- Good News for Giving 2.0: Your Organization’s Champions are Your Most Valuable Resource, Beth Kanter
- Online Celebrity Fundraisers Only Succeed with Authentic Interest, The Case Foundation
- Online Celebrity Fundraisers Only Succeed with Authentic Interest, Razoo
- The Effectiveness of Celebrities in Social Fundraisers, Frank Berry on NetWitsThinkTank (Blackbaud)
- Is Ashton Kutcher a Fundraising Dud?, Sherrilynne Starkie
- Celebrity Schmelebrity, The Facts Don’t Lie, PVSM Blog
- Do Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Other Celeb Tweets Really Help Causes?, Huffington Post
- 4 Top Tips for Recruiting Celebrity Fundraisers, Charity Buzz
- Who would you pick as your next spokesperson… lady gaga or your next door neighbor?, Social Citizens
Photo Credit: Photo from Blue Oregon coverage of the Ali Edward’s fundraiser for Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees