Celebrity Donors and the Importance of Integrity

Posted by Annette Storckman , October 25


The nonprofit world has recently been in the headlines regarding both the pros and cons of celebrity endorsement. While the publicity that comes with celebrity attention is more than valuable, nonprofits still have the power to choose who they connect with.


According to the Houston Chronicle, rapper Megan Thee Stallion and the fast food chain Popeyes recently “stunned” Houston Random Acts of Kindness with a six-figure donation. Megan Thee Stallion is a Houston native and cited the nonprofit’s empathy and compassion as one of the many reasons she and Popeyes made this donation. Stallion’s personal connection to Houston not only adds legitimacy to the group, but has now jettisoned a local organization into the national spotlight. Since the RAK Organization services a large city, this major donation will allow them to service even more families over the holidays, and they were thrilled to accept.


Conversely, This is My Brave, a nonprofit that focuses on mental health and addiction recovery, recently declined a major donation from Jamie Lynn Spears. Amid the conclusion of Britney Spears’ high-profile conservator case, her sister Jamie Lynn announced the completion of her memoir, Things I Should’ve Said, and the decision to direct the proceeds to This is My Brave. But the organization decided to refuse the donation due to Jamie Lynn’s lack of support for her sister which, in conjunction with the announcement, was viewed by fans and donors as deeply hypocritical. This move by This is My Brave clearly illustrates a nonprofit’s power to accept donations that will align with their mission — even if it means sacrificing a larger donation. However, though the group declined, they will still benefit from the publicity without sacrificing their integrity.


No matter what, celebrity attention is a tried and true way to increase a nonprofit’s reach. But as illustrated, it is important to be mindful of who is donating and why. Recently, rapper Lil Nas X teamed up with Fundraise Up client, The Bail Project, to launch the Bail X Fund in conjunction with the release of “Industry Baby.” While the music video itself garnered some backlash, ultimately the video, Lil Nas X’s reasons for donating, and the organization itself aligned on messaging which garnered nothing but positive reach for The Bail Project.


For the most part, it seems all publicity is good publicity so long as an organization remains true to their mission and aligned with their supporters.


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