Many celebrities are known for their charity involvement and support of humanitarian causes; Ellen DeGeneres and Bono each support nearly 50 different charities. Having a celebrity tied to your fundraiser can have a significant impact on participation and donations. While big-name celebrities like those mentioned may be out of reach for most organizations, especially schools with tight budgets and limited resources, local celebrities are still a great way to draw in participation for auction fundraisers.


So, how do you find local celebrities? Local celebrities can be found in any person who excels at their job and is at least a little well-known. Even if they’re not nationally famous, they can still be famous in your area. A local celebrity could be a weather personality, news reporter, magician, photographer, politician, law enforcement officer, first responder, athlete (professional or college level), radio host, chef, artist, author, or musician, to name a few. Ask yourself, who is popular and respected in your community? Who plays an important role in your city?


Now, brainstorming. . .How can a local celebrity contribute to your auction? This question is important to consider before you attempt to make contact with the celebrity, as you’ll want to be clear with them about what you are requesting of their time and energy. There are two main ways that a celebrity can contribute to an auction: attend the event and/or donate items.


In attending the event, a local celebrity could either act as a special speaker or offer a unique experience for participants/bidders. For example, a newscaster or radio host could be the MC for the auction event. A magician could perform illusions for the audience. A photographer could offer portraits, a baseball player batting pointers, a chef a cooking lesson, an artist caricatures, or a musician could perform. You could also set up a table where the celebrity can sign autographs or take pictures with attendees. All of these ideas should involve tickets, with a percentage of the proceeds going to the celebrity for their participation.


Alternatively, especially for online auctions, you can ask celebrities to donate items like autographed memorabilia or experiences, like the opportunity to spend a day with the celebrity, contribute to a radio show, or get a photo shoot with a photographer, a training session with an athlete, or a meal prepared by a chef.


You’ve thought of the perfect celebrity. But how do you contact them? Contacting celebrities can be a bit tricky. They have busy lives and schedules, and depending on their level of fame, you may have to contact a third party, like their agent, to get in contact with them. Look to the Stars has many tips for getting in touch with celebrities, as well as getting their attention in correspondence. The most important advice to keep in mind is to be clear and concise about what you’re requesting and the purpose of the fundraiser. Don’t be nervous to try to make contact, but be aware of the value of their time and the fact that they probably get many similar requests on a daily basis. So, be specific and briefly showcase why your auction is worth their time and attention.


Getting a celebrity involved in your auction can be a bit of a challenge, but if you take the right approach, their involvement can make your fundraiser well worth the try.