Best practice guide for charities looking to engage with celebrity & influencer partners 

Celebrity and influencer engagement is a powerful tactic that has become a go-to for many charities and third-sector organisations looking to drive donations, support fundraising events and awareness days, educate audiences on an important issue, campaign for change or simply raise awareness of their causes. 

However, navigating this landscape can be tricky as getting it wrong could at best mean that the campaign doesn’t have the desired effect, and at worst could be reputation-damaging if messages become confused or misconstrued. 

There are also more steps involved than you might anticipate when setting out to engage with potential celebrity & influencer partners – from the meticulous selection of ambassadors to the establishment and maintenance of long-term relationships. 

With this in mind, below, we have delved into the ins and outs of celebrity collaborations, exploring best practices that encompass identifying the right partners, developing relationships, onboarding and briefing new ambassadors, and sustaining thriving relationships long-term. 

Identifying Campaign Objectives 

The first step for all campaigns is to identify the objectives and goals that you want to achieve. This initial phase will help you establish whether celebrity or influencer support would be not only beneficial but also aligned with the campaign’s purpose. 

By outlining these specific campaign goals, organisations can evaluate the potential impact of celebrity involvement and ensure the best campaign is developed for enhancing and achieving the end goal. 

Ambassador Selection and Due Diligence

Before embarking on a celebrity collaboration, it’s imperative to carefully select ambassadors whose values align with the charity’s aims and mission. Conducting thorough due diligence ensures that the chosen celebrity not only resonates with your target audience but also enhances the credibility of your campaign. Consider factors such as the celebrity’s personal brand, values, and their existing fan base. Authenticity is key in establishing a genuine connection between the celebrity and the charity. 

Developing the Campaign Ask 

The next step involves thoughtful consideration of the campaign ‘ask’ – defining what aspects of initiatives the celebrities are being requested to support. Clarity is important in ensuring alignment between the celebrity’s values and the cause they are supporting.

In situations where the charity wants to consider long-term ambassadors, a shift in strategy may be necessary. While one-off campaigns, such as UGC projects, often involve a simple and straightforward ‘ask’, contemplating working towards securing ambassadors for an extended duration demands a more comprehensive evaluation of the commitment. This approach is needed for building lasting partnerships that align with the charity’s long-term goals. 

For example, where the celebrity ambassador will be asked to champion ongoing initiatives, the campaign ‘ask’ may transform from sharing a pre-written message on social media to engagement in events, amplification of messaging over an extended period, or taking part in media interviews. 

Crafting an approach 

Initiating contact with potential celebrity ambassadors requires a personalised approach. The first point of contact is often through email, ideally directed to the celebrity’s management team. Influencer sites and management agencies serve as valuable resources to connect with the relevant individuals – such as talent managers and agents. 

However, leveraging personal connections or alternative routes can also help with the outreach process. If there are existing relationships or mutual connections that can support an introduction do utilise these where possible. Alternatively, if you cannot find the agent’s contact details through management sites, turning to social media can be the best way forward – influencers and celebrities usually have an email address in their bio or you could try your hand at messaging them directly.

Crafting a compelling and personalised email is a crucial step towards initiating a successful collaboration. Clearly communicate the charity’s vision, aims, campaign and what the celebrity’s involvement will entail. It is also worth highlighting specific aspects of the collaboration that align with the celebrity’s interests and values that you’ve found from your due diligence. A well-crafted email increases the likelihood of capturing the celebrity’s agent’s attention and interest.

Onboarding Strategies

For a simple UGC campaign, sometimes a simple email can be enough. But if you are looking to utilise a celebrity for media opportunities and additional content creation, a comprehensive onboarding phone call will set the tone for the collaboration. 

During this call provide a detailed overview of the charity, its values, and the specific expectations from the celebrity – whether that is an in-person appearance and photo-shoot, social media content creation or media interviews. 

This will also establish open lines of communication to address any questions or concerns they may have. A smooth onboarding experience fosters a positive relationship from the outset, laying the foundation for a successful collaboration.

Driving Engagement

Celebrity ambassadors provide a golden opportunity to generate significant media engagement. Leverage the appeal of your ambassador to create buzz around your campaign, not only through traditional media channels but also across various platforms. 

Utilise social media platforms and encourage the celebrity to share their involvement and new role with their followers, creating a ripple effect that extends the reach of your charity.

Additionally, incorporate the ambassador’s role in other communications, such as an announcement press release, in your charity newsletter and on your website underneath a dedicated campaign landing page. By using a multi-channel approach, you can maximise exposure and engage a diverse audience.

Beyond the campaign launch, celebrity collaborations can open doors to additional media opportunities. By agreeing to a set number of interviews ahead of time, you can strategically pitch to key media titles to drive further engagement from journalists to elevate awareness campaigns and enhance the charity’s visibility in the media landscape.

Sustaining Long-Term Relationships

Building a lasting relationship with a celebrity ambassador requires ongoing effort and communications. Regularly engaging with the ambassador, not just during active campaigns, but also in between can strengthen the relationship and ensure loyalty. This can be as simple as acknowledging their achievements or milestones and sharing business updates with them.

By fostering a strong, long-term relationship with a celebrity ambassador it can lead to repeated collaborations and sustained media attention throughout the year, rather than just a one-off post. 

If you want support with engaging celebrity and influencer partnerships, or how to plan a charity PR plan, speak to a member of our Third Sector PR team.

Get in touch with the team