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15 minutes of fame. A help or hindrance to charities ?

by on April 4, 2014

 

Over the last 30 years we have seen the unwavering efforts from celebrities to use their fame in order to raise awareness to suffering around the world. Many achievements have slowly been made and there has been some progress from less developed nations across the world. However much like celebrities with their 15 minutes of fame the causes that they vouch for could fall as quickly under the radar. This blog will answer the simple question  that was propose by a celebrity (Palmer Anderson) . Sometimes I wonder if I am making it worse, or making it better, “Am I legitimising these causes? Or the opposite? Who knows?” [1]The Baywatch star may not have come to an answer to this question but as this blog draws to its conclusion  an answer will be revealed.

The cynic within me believes that celebrities who get involved in charity work do so in order to attract the attention of media. But not withstanding this concern what they do is raised the awareness to causes that may not have gain as much exposer.  As Justin Forsyth (the CEO of save the children points out ) “Without the campaigning energies of Bono, Bob Geldof and Richard Curtis, for example, I don’t believe 46 million more children would be in school today in some of the world’s poorest countries.[2]  This is a valid point as it reveals that celebrity have the ability to grasp an audience that may never of heard of plight of charities causes. However are the charities aims truly met?

Charities aims are  to educate the general public to the concerns  that they are trying to vanquish. Celebrities may cloud the education process because of their flamboyant lifestyle which may cause distraction to the charity, it could be a case in which the celebrity becomes bigger then message that the charity is trying to convey. Furthermore, what gives a celebrity the right to tell the hard working general public to give away their money when surely a celebrity  could give a lot more to ending the cause.

However this ignores  the factor that celebrities have to inspire people. This ability to inspire people is what charities yearn for. As this will allow the average man to champion their cause. Celebrities can lead by example. Also celebrities are not always so vocal about their charity work they happily do work behind the scenes in order for the charity to thrives. For example, Natasha Kaplinsky, helped lobby behind the scenes for a big breakthrough that came last week on vaccines for killer diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea, vaccines that will save four million lives.

The final point that must be made is what happens when the celebrities lose control of situation that they have put themselves. This is not about question the celebrities intentions. Their intentions could be to better the predicament of the people who need their help. Nevertheless, if they are not prepared  and have produce the efficient time or effort for the charities cause they could all end up in absolutely disastrous. For example singer song writer Wyclef Jean certainly had the best intentions to do whatever he could for his fellow Haitian country men, he describe his yele charity as  “Haiti’s greatest asset and ally”. However, because of his lack of ability to properly set up a charity the country has undoubtedly suffered because of it. Diaoly Estimé an owner of an orphanage believes Yele has been a disastrous for Haiti and that she could not depend on the charity . [3]“If I had depended on Yéle,these kids would all be dead by now”.

To say that celebrities do not care about the causes that they are fighting for is false I would never question their intentions. However this does not negate from the fact that celebrities may have ulterior motives when getting involved in charity work. Nevertheless, despite this ulterior motive as long as the celebrities involvement produces positives outcomes for the charity surely it their involvement should be seen as a help rather than a hindrance.

 

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/26/celebrity-ambassadors-charities-debate

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/jun/26/celebrity-ambassadors-charities-debate

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/12/world/americas/quake-hit-haiti-gains-little-as-wyclef-jean-charity-spends-much.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

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One Comment
  1. themanisred permalink

    I have to agree with your final paragraph there. It is unrealistic to assume that a celebrity would not look to gain some sort of personal benefit from their philanthropy, especially when it doesn’t really take anything away from the more noble objective, but is more so just a seized opportunity made available as a result of a charitable cause (for example).

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