Each year, the highlight of the Cannes Film Festival is not the viewing of the films, or the starlets in their magnificent gowns, or even the endless gossip. It’s the charitable event that raised more than $35 million for AIDS research last year… an event many people don’t even realize happens. B
when you get together a group of people that include Oscar winners, Hollywood legends, and glitterati from across the entertainment spectrum, the wallets come out in a big way.Funds are received via auction or donation, and every guest is there on purpose and with purpose. But, they also take the opportunity to press the flesh, and network with other A-listers and powerbrokers.
The principle to learn here is the power of celebrity, and the core lesson is that this power is scalable. If you are a national organization, you should look for a way to connect with someone well known in living rooms nationwide. But if you are a local group, you should find a way to connect with the local celebs and powerbrokers in your area.
This is simply having an understanding of the principles and politics of fundraising. People are more apt to pay attention when they recognize the “face” talking to them. The celebrities at the Cannes fundraiser are willing to give, and mentioning them in no way implies that they have ulterior motivations. There is nothing wrong with having fun and enjoying yourself when you give.
Likewise, there is nothing wrong – and a good many things right – with connecting with those who can help your charity achieve influence and connection commensurate with its size and scope.