North East Connected

Charity ambassadors: what do they do?

Have you ever thought about how a high-profile ambassador could help your charity or non-profit? They could be a local celebrity, a celebrated business leader or even an international star. Fame has never been more closely entwined with power than it is today, and the right ambassador could really get you noticed, helping to attract the wider support on which you depend. This article takes a look at the activities that make ambassadors such a valuable asset.

Communicating with the media

No matter how noble the cause you represent, getting media attention can be quite a challenge. In a world where there seems to be more and more competition for public visibility, you need a little something extra to make your stories stand out. Engaging with someone who already has an established relationship with the press can give you that. It could be a simple case of star power or it could be that the person who steps up for you has a well-established media profile of a sort that makes it easy to showcase your work and promote your activities. Simply having a well-known name attached to your brand will make it easier for you to get the attention of journalists on slow days, and you can expect free mentions when news items about your ambassador run short and need to be padded.

Engaging with the public

Members of the public are generally delighted when they get the chance to see or meet somebody famous. Having your ambassador attend your fundraising events will often guarantee a good turnout. People in this role often write blogs that provide their fans with what feels like a personal insight into who they are and their interests, creating a sense of empathy which then attracts those fans to your work. You might also arrange for your ambassador to sign photos or pieces of merchandise related to your charity which can be given away as prizes. If you’ve chosen somebody who is popular in part for their appearance or taste, getting them to wear a t-shirt with your logo can help you to make merchandise sales.

Making connections

When you bring an ambassador onboard at your organisation, you also have the opportunity to make contact with that person’s connections. This can give you a shortcut to other influential people who may be able to bolster your brand. Don’t be shy about asking your ambassador for introductions to people who might be interested in what you do. You can’t rely on one person being there for you forever so it’s useful to have an eye on possible replacements, plus you may find that there are occasions when it’s useful to have other people promoting your work on a less official basis.

Lending weight

When you bring in an ambassador who is an acknowledged expert in a particular area, it can really help with getting the public to see your charity as an authoritative body. If your work is more broadly based, it can be useful to bring in people who are seen as important and who carry a certain level of social weight, as Lady Barbara Judge does when supporting the Penny Appeal in its efforts to help vulnerable people around the world. This helps with getting people to respect the scale and significance of your activities.

Essential qualities

What qualities does a good brand ambassador need? First of all, they have to be willing to learn about what you do in some depth so that you can be confident that they will stay on message when speaking about you. You will need to be able to rely on them to not behave in ways that could damage your image by association, including by accident – something that can be a challenge for younger ambassadors who are not used to having such responsibilities. You will also need somebody who is a confident and capable speaker or interviewee – not qualities that automatically accompany fame.

The right fit

Beyond looking for somebody who has the right basic qualities to do the job, you will need somebody who is the right fit for you. The most important factor here is passion. Your ambassador should have genuine enthusiasm for your work so that when they talk about it, they engage listeners emotionally rather than just reciting a pitch. Ideally, they will combine this with a public image that makes your charity seem like a logical fit for them. Think carefully about how an ambassador can affect the image of your brand. You might want to use this opportunity to reinforce what you’re already established or, alternatively, to reach out to a new group of people.

Finding a good ambassador can make a big difference to your profile. It’s well worth the effort needed to get it right.

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