Tipstor will help you contact and communicate effectively with hard-to-reach celebritiesSo, you want to help your organization reach a wider audience of potential donors, or boost the funding of your worthy projects? Reaching out to celebrities can be one way to do this. We’ve compiled information here that can help you get started.
At Tipstor, we receive thousands of emails from people who work with non-profits, are looking for support for a charity auction or event, or are putting together philanthropic TV shows, radio programs, books or news stories.Throughout our years as the leader in the celebrity charity information field, we have picked up a few tips that can help get your message through to celebrities. We aren’t affiliated with the celebrities we feature, so we can’t pass on your correspondence to them.
Contacting celebrities can be time-consuming and expensive if you do it wrong, so it makes sense to have a solid plan before you start reaching out to people. Prepare your campaign materials thoroughly before you even consider which celebrities you want to get on board. The people you reach out to will not be able to see your vision unless you have mapped it all out well in advance, and they will be counting on your strength and clarity to energize and motivate them.
Forming your plan:
- What kind of campaign are you running?
- What age group?
- How do you want to use your celebrity supporters?
- Who influences your supporters?
All of this will affect which celebrity you want to work with. Creating a clear vision will help you progress more smoothly. Once you know what you want to accomplish – and how you plan to accomplish it – take time to consider who will most effectively reach and influence your audience. Don’t just contact a celebrity because you like his TV show. What appeals to you personally should play very little part in your decision making. If you are looking to engage a young, tech-savvy crowd, make sure you reach out to celebrities with a good online presence. However, if you are looking to reach a more mature and affluent market, you should choose to contact celebrities who have influence in this area.
Also important is that the celebrity has shown an interest in your field. Questions to ask yourself include:
- Does she have a personal connection to your cause?
- Is he already overstretched?
- Does she avoid the media spotlight?
- Are his fans the right type of people?
- Are fans likely to get involved?
- Will his involvement affect how your current supporters feel about you in a positive way?
- Will the publicity you receive be the sort of publicity you want?
Once you choose your celebrities, do even more research. What other organizations have they supported?* What have they done to show their support? How has that turned out for the group?
Communicating your message
You are most likely going to have to go through “gatekeepers” such as an agent or manager to get to the celebrity, and they are paid to protect their clients’ time and images. Sadly, they don’t always have the time for niceties, so keep that in mind if you get what appears to be a rude response, or no response at all.
When you are writing your letter of introduction, remember these are very busy people who are approached constantly. Try to grab their attention right away – if you have something exciting to share or heavy hitters supporting you, say it early. Nothing turns a busy person off more than having to dredge through a long email or letter, trying to figure out what it is the writer is after. We can attest to that – if the email is too long or is unclear, we quickly lose interest.
We cannot stress enough how extremely important it is to be clear about what you want. Don’t leave the reader wondering what it is you expect them to be able to do for you. You can explain what you are doing perfectly, but if you don’t say how you think the reader can help, they won’t be able to imagine themselves helping you. Busy people won’t take time to decipher your message and figure out for themselves what you are asking them to do.
Start with a quick summary:
- What is your project?
- How do you want the person to help?
- Why they are a good candidate to get involved.
- What will the celebrity get out of it?
- Make it personal.
- If you would like a response?
- Include links to any relevant websites.
Be honest, and don’t oversell your position. Don’t say that you and your partner websites receive 1/2 million hits if you don’t even have your website up and running yet. Don’t say that you are working with the UN if no UN employees can back you up on it. Also, don’t claim you cover a topic on your website if all you have is a couple of out-dated links to news stories on other sites. No one wants to be misled, and you will quickly be written off if you are too unrealistic about your claims.
Hope sells. Show your positive side, state how your group is helping your cause, and explain how the celebrity personally can make a difference. But don’t put on too much pressure or you are likely to scare them away. No one wants to have the weight of an entire cause resting on their actions.
Desperation does not work! Nothing turns a recipient off more than a message like, “I am suffering from [insert latin name of rare plant here], and need someone to buy me a new house and two red cars or my children will move in with my neighbors.” (We really have received messages like this!) Show that you are already taking steps to help yourself, albeit perhaps not as quickly or grandly as you could with their support, and have reasonable expectations for what they can do to help.
As mentioned above, have a specific plan. Many representatives absolutely will not approach their clients about a project unless it is definite, with solid dates and times. We have seen this happen even in the case of big name celebrities who are organizing events and looking to get other A-listers involved – without a solid plan, even they can struggle to get through.
What do you do once you’ve got celebrity supporters? We can offer online news coverage, and also help arrange online fundraisers and TV promotional spots, among other options.
We get a high response rate, and no mail has been returned to us undelivered. The service has addresses for over 30,000 celebrities, its owner is very helpful, and we feel we can recommend it.
– The Tipstor Team