The Power of Successful Charity Ambassadors
19 September 2013 at 10:48 am
Recruiting and capitalising on a great charity Ambassador needs time and planning. National dementia Not for Profit Alzheimer’s Australia offers its tips on finding the right people at the right time to help promote a cause.
Capitalising on the influence of ambassadors has played an important role for Alzheimer’s Australia’s successful Fighting Dementia campaign, which has not only been a major part in aged-care reforms but has recently secured a $200 million commitment from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
|Alzheimer's Australia President and Ambassador Ita Buttrose.|
The Fight Dementia campaign was launched in October 2011 at a march on Parliament House in Canberra that included 600 dementia activists led by National President and Ambassador Ita Buttrose.
At the same time, the organisation launched the Dementia Champions program, which now includes more than 7000 champions, including Federal and State politicians, celebrities and people from the community. This also includes consumers, who were pivotal in helping the organisation to send the message on what was needed and why, to policy makers and the government.
Through the campaign, Alzheimer’s Australia advocated for $500 million over five years to promote awareness, timely diagnosis, quality dementia care, how to reduce the risk of dementia; and to invest in dementia research.
The organisation’s ambassadors were key to this campaign especially the role of Ita Buttrose, who was named Australian of the Year during the campaign.
And the years of hard work have paid off for Alzheimer’s Australia, with the Gillard Federal Government announcing the Living Longer, Living Better aged-care reforms in the lead-up to the May 2012 Budget. And Prime Minister Tony Abbott committing $200 million at the Liberal Party’s official campaign launch in the lead-up to the Federal election.
Alzheimer’s Australia NSW general manager of media, Sarah Price shares her advice and experience on how to choose ambassadors for a cause and how best to get them engaged in a campaign.
Who are Alzheimer’s Australia’s NSW Ambassadors?
Sir Michael Parkinson CBE; Ita Buttrose AO OBE, 2013 Australian of the Year; Doris Younane; Natarsha Belling; Maxine McKew; and, PJ Lane.
All of our Ambassadors have either a personal connection to dementia, or a strong connection to our organisation.
What have been the biggest successes for Alzheimer's Australia through your ambassadors?
Our Ambassadors have contributed really positively to the organisation in many different ways. These have included being the guest speaker at a fundraising lunch; appearing in a television commercial; emceeing and/or taking part in our Memory Walk & Jog – our flagship fundraising and awareness raising event; appearing in a series of upcoming carer videos; lending their profile to be quoted in media releases for discreet events or the launch of a particular program or activity; helping us with news stories and media exposure, and more.
All have helped us increase the profile of the organisation and the awareness around dementia in the community. This has greatly benefited Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, our members and the cause.
What do you look for in an ambassador?
We look for people who have some sort of connection to our cause and our organisation. Also people who are generous of themselves and who we know are passionate about the cause and are willing to lend a hand.
What is the best way to approach a personality when wanting them to join your cause?
We have found a written approach from our CEO is the best way. In that approach, he briefly explains the aims of the program and invites them to join. It is important to manage their expectations on what is involved.
We make it clear we are not unrealistic with what we would ask them to do, nor are the expectations too onerous as we understand that their time is precious.
What are your top tips to managing ambassadors?
Identify the different strengths of your Ambassadors and marry those strengths with the different opportunities you might invite them to help you with during the year.
Once a request is accepted, make sure you provide a comprehensive briefing and ensure they feel well-informed about what they are doing and why.
Also, make sure you are sensitive to their many other commitments and ensure your asks for their time are not burdensome.
Do you have advice on how to get ambassadors more engaged?
They need to have a personal connection to your cause. They need to believe in the cause and the organisation.
Is there any other advice you can offer?
Choose carefully and make sure your Ambassadors are connected to and passionate about your cause. If you’re just starting out a program, start small and learn from your mistakes.
Dementia Awareness Week: Dementia Awareness week runs from September 16 to 22. The theme is Brain Health: Making the Connections.
For more information, visit www.fightdementia.org.au.