Archive for January 2nd, 2008

Adding Celebrity “Star Power” To Your Fundraiser/Gala

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

I once knew a TV news anchor who would finish her 5PM broadcast, rush to return her wardrobe to the department store who supplied each evening’s outfit in exchange for an on-air plug, then go to her “real” job as a restaurant waitress.

Being a local radio or TV personality may seem glamorous, but it used to be a low-paying proposition. Consequently, deejays augmented their incomes by appearing at sock hops, while news, weather, and sports folk from the tube made extra cash as emcees and after-dinner speakers.

Today, in many of our major cities, these same folk – who are now being very well compensated – offer those same services as a public service. That’s right – for a good cause, you may be able to score a “big name” (at least, in your town) for nothing more expensive than a rubber chicken dinner.

The benefits can be phenominal. Our town’s hockey play-by-play man is not only a good sport, he is a gifted emcee and auctioneer. The Chief Meteorologist at one of our network affiliates shows up not only looking glamorous, but having done her homework. Such “star power” makes any event seem big-time. In addition to TV and radio talent, we are also fortunate locally to have a number of current and former pro athletes who are entirely comfortable at the podium.

But beware – some “personalities” take these jobs less seriously than others. My Alzheimer’s support group once endured a rambling talk from a news anchor who knew less about the disease than any person in the room. At your event, you’ll want someone who can tie in their talent and life experiences to your particular cause. Rampant narcissism, even when it’s free, adds nothing to the enjoyment or education of your guests.

For this reason, I recommend that – before you extend an invitation to that sports anchor who seems so entertaining on TV – you check with a few of the folks who have used him in the past. Was he sober? Did his remarks speak to their interests, or only his own ego? (Was it all about them or all about him?)

You see, Star Power is terrific – as long as you don’t get struck by a falling star.