Voluntary Sector: Celebrity influence called into question

The value of celebrity endorsement in charity campaigns has been called into question by new research suggesting young people are not responding to the tactic.

NfpSynergy surveyed more than 1,000 11- to 25-year-olds throughout mainland Britain. Only one in five young people said they would support a charity because a celebrity happened to endorse it. The research from nfpSynergy also underlined how enthusiasm decreases with age. Twenty-eight per cent of 11- to 13-year-olds said that a celebrity might sway them, while just 16 per cent of 23- to 25-year-olds said the same.

Celebrity endorsement remains a highly prized element of a PR campaign - last week, PRWeek revealed that Cancer Research UK is seeking an agency to launch a celebrity campaign, while Save The Children appointed House PR for a brief that includes celebrity engagement.

nfpSynergy founder Joe Saxton said: 'This shows that, despite young people doubtless being especially influenced by celebrities, they are still somewhat cautious and picky in their loyalties, and any such influence is apt to wane as they grow up.'

Saxton added that charities courting youth support must give 'careful thought' to recruiting the right celebrity to woo their target age and gender group.

Young Brits named Cheryl Cole, David Beckham, Simon Cowell then Stephen Fry as the top four celebrities most likely to influence them to support any charity they endorsed.

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