The growing charity challenge.

An insight by Andrew Howie

Well established and long standing charities are facing a battle on a new frontier. Whilst they have previously battled to gain your affections and more importantly, your donation, they are now facing a battle against an increasing cluttered segment.

Over the last ten years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of registered charities that are out there campaigning for donations. Many of these charities operate in fringe areas and focus on niche issues. The difficulty being that the amount of money that is available has not increased at the same rate. Simple economics show us that charities are fighting harder for diminishing returns.

To help raise the profile of the charity, they have long sought celebrity endorsement. A quick internet search brings up many celebrities and the causes that they support. So prolific is the association of celebrities and charities there are website dedicated to the work these people are doing. Such high profile names and Angelina Jolie, Bill Clinton, Bono and Brad Pitt sit alongside George Clooney and Sir Elton John as supporters of numerous charities. The causes that they donate to include but by no means are limited to human rights, poverty and disease. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie donated in excess $8 million dollars in 2006 alone.

There will always be an organic growth in donations as more people become exposed to a particular cause. For example, as more people are diagnosed cancer, the number of people the deadly killer affects widens and therefore so too do potential donors. This trend holds true for all causes.

But by far the greatest way to lift profile for the least amount of spend is through a celebrity spokesperson. This allows them media coverage and exposure to publications that they ordinarily would not be able to afford.

A high profile eco-warrior is Adrian Grenier. He is so passionate about the cause that he produced a TV series around it. Alter Eco focused around a house that was being rebuilt using only green products. It showcased new techniques and local businesses that were embracing the movement. And let’s not forget the tireless work of Al Gore. His feature length film sent shockwaves around the world about the damage being caused.

Whilst not a charity, vegans have wide spread celebrity endorsements also. Big names such as Demi Moore and Alicia Silverstone are known supporters of the alternate way of eating. I was surprised to learn that Leonardo De Vinci and Albert Einstein were both vegans. I am much more likely to follow the trend because it was good enough for Albert than it is for Alicia, that’s for sure!

There is no doubting that the best way to lift the profile of any charity or cause is through the partnership with a high profile ambassador. With the fight for funds ever-increasing, the pressure is mounting for those with a profile to lend a helping hand.