Making Your Cause Marketing Program Celebrity Ready

Celebrities are busy people, and they have lots of choices on causes they can support. Here are some ways to ensure that your pitch doesn’t end up on the walk of shame:

  • Have a plan. This meeting isn’t the time to be starstruck. You need to develop a plan that outlines exactly what you want the celebrity to do for you, when, and with whom. Times, dates, location, and other relevant details are all critical to the celebrity and his representative (the person you’ll ultimately be working with).

  • Be specific. Saying “We’d really like to work with you somehow” isn’t going to cut it. You need to be specific and concrete. “We’d love you to be the spokesperson for our next cause marketing program in September when we work with these three companies. . . .”

  • Be sensitive to their time. Be clear on how much you expect of them. If their image is going to appear on your pinups, will you need them for a photo session? If they’re doing a signing at a store, how long will they have to be there?

  • Coincide your promotion with their schedule. For example, after October, a lot of professional baseball players aren’t around unless they happen to live locally (in which case, they may prefer to do something in the off-season). So plan your campaign during the months when they’re playing.

    The same with actors. It’s hard to get them to support your program when they’re filming a new movie in London or Tibet. But they may be more likely to help you when they do the premiere for that movie in New York City where your nonprofit is located.

  • Do it all. Make it clear to the celebrity and his representatives that you will make this a turnkey, engaging, and powerful experience for them. They need to be assured that you are hard-working, committed to them and the cause, organized, and flexible.

Working with celebrities is great, but don’t make your cause marketing program dependent on them. Actors get divorced or finish movies early, or sometimes not at all. Sports stars get injured or traded or both. Rock stars leave town on a whim or go into rehab. Make sure that your program can continue when your glitzy, twinkling celebrity becomes a fallen star.

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