Hot issue - Is it right for charities to pay their celebrities?

A Sunday newspaper has been investigating reports that a well-known model was paid for her activities for a charity, raising the question of whether expenses, fees or other benefits should be paid to celebrity supporters.



Global Angels employs a CSR model: celebrity social responsibility.

Artists and their labels market their products aggressively and have mammoth budgets to do so. Celebrities have the opportunity of being socially responsible by using their high profiles - not only to raise funds, but also to deliver messages that can create change.

It's my view that celebrities should not be paid by charities. Our model is to use unpaid ambassadors to headline events - this creates a mass appeal for Global Angels events, which helps to generate funds.

As the mother of two successful singer/songwriters, I do have some access to decision-makers in the music industry. However, negotiations to recruit other ambassadors, such as Katie Melua and Lemar, start from scratch.

We have to present a rationale to managers and record labels as to why their artist's involvement with Global Angels will be of positive benefit to all parties.

Their support helps us in our mission to promote a powerful and effective global response to the needs of suffering children, and helps the billion children around the globe who live in poverty.


It really sticks in my throat to have to pay celebrities for their time - and, in a way, the bigger the celebrity, the more willing they should be to give their time for free.

The secret of making money for charity is to minimise outlay. There is, perhaps, a case for paying for their time if they are providing you with the means to make money for your cause, but I don't think there's a need.

The three main things we look for from our celebrities are passion, a willingness to deal with the media and a willingness to use their influence and contacts to help our organisation. And it is the quality of time they give that makes a difference, not the quantity.

There are many celebrities out there who are passionate about good causes and willing to give their time without demanding a fee. They are happy to help so long as we are clear about what we want from them and plan well ahead by getting our dates in their diaries in good time.

Celebrities who hire themselves out to charities are mercenaries. They should help a cause because they have a passion for it. If you're paying for it, they're faking it.


Celebrities who are members of the British Red Cross's Entertainment and Artist Supporters Network volunteer their time to help raise awareness of our work and concerns. They are not paid, nor do they expect to be.

We invest time in our celebrity relationships to engage supporters in an area of work that interests them. In return, we get a credible spokesperson who can tell the Red Cross story and thereby raise our profile.

I want our supporters to get something from this experience. This does not have to be financial - it can be in the form of education, knowledge, meeting beneficiaries and volunteers, and accessing other opportunities.

That's not to say money doesn't ever change hands. We may pay an artist to perform at a fundraising event. After all, like us, they need to earn a living. However, they invariably work for a reduced fee, and no performer would be paid unless the fundraising return on investment warranted it.

The Red Cross works with celebrities because it enables us to reach diverse audiences and inspire public support for our cause. That they are unpaid volunteers does not diminish their impact or contribution.


We live in a celebrity-driven world and acknowledge the immense value celebrities can bring to our work. The British Heart Foundation does not pay celebrities for their support. Like most charities, we cover expenses if necessary, but do not pay fees.

We believe strongly in this approach because our celebrity supporters assist with our work because they want to and because they believe in the cause, which is what makes their support so valuable. As it is a two-way partnership, we work hard to provide them with some of our core services such as emergency life-support training or knowledge and advice on heart conditions relevant to them or their family.

Without our celebrities, we would not be able reach the many different audiences we do, from children to adults. They are hugely important to us. We put time and effort into making them feel valued and we know that their help always makes a difference.

In this way, it has never been necessary to pay a fee and, more importantly, our celebrity supporters would not want us to, and our donors would not expect us to.

Among those who declined to contribute to this week's Hot Issue were three well-known publicity agents working in this field.

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