Celebrities, by virtue of their popularity, play a major role in setting trends and new norms in almost every aspect of our lives. They are considered masters of their craft, whether in art, business, music, or sports, and to some, they are also considered heroes. As celebrities become more popular and richer, there is a higher tendency to give back and to use their public image to promote social causes. In some cases, celebrities have gained more popularity because of their giving, however, some are also heavily criticized when mistakes are made. Looking at this growing landscape of giving here in Africa, we share four key steps to becoming a more strategic celebrity donor and philanthropist.
Choose Programmes Wisely
Due to the pressure facing celebrities, particularly in the African environment, there is always a temptation to think we can solve everyone’s problems. But let’s face it – this is not humanly possible. Aligning your giving with what you are passionate about and being realistic with your budget will help you make better choices on what causes to support. However, in order to realize long-term impact, we advise selecting no more than three causes particularly if you are planning to use your own organisation to implement programmes.
Hire Professionals, Please
Quite a number of celebrities in Africa are the Founders, Presidents, CEOs, and Programme Managers of their organisations. In majority of these cases, they have already set themselves up for failure. Unless you have specific experience or skills sets that lend themselves well to the development and non-profit sector, do yourself a favour and hire a professional team. Or, at the very least, consult with a philanthropy advisor who can provide strategic guidance. If you want to do good, you might as well do it well.
Don’t Throw Lavish Parties & Call It A Fundraiser
In the business world, it is common knowledge that you have to spend money to make money. Unfortunately, this rule does not apply to the development sector since success is not measured by profit, but by lives and communities impacted and transformed. So the next time you want to invite people to join you in supporting a particular cause, take a measured approach and organise a cost-effective and meaningful meeting of minds that sells the passion you have for solving that particular problem.
Tell People About Your Work
A number of celebrities operate behind the scenes and seem to either shy away from or not want any form of publicity when it comes to their philanthropic work. While this sense of humility is commendable, it does not serve any strategic purpose. A key component to solving unemployment, disease, and poor education, etc. is collaboration among different stakeholders. Operating in a silo by yourself will not give you the access or opportunity to impact at scale. So the next time you are invited to speak about your giving as a celebrity philanthropist, take the opportunity and provide the necessary information about your organisation or the causes you support.
In summary, when it comes to giving, African celebrities are uniquely positioned to set a good example for society to follow. However, celebrities do need to approach their philanthropic giving with more thought and structure to truly make meaningful impact and inspire giving across the continent.