Getting a spokesperson is a major decision for the notoriety and credibility of your cause as well as the success of your fundraising, in the case of a campaign spokesperson. The decision to choose a spokesperson is yours and must be based on a number of important criteria. Once the ideal candidate has been found, you must also ensure that you maintain a sound and lasting relationship with him or her.
SHARES YOUR VALUES
A spokesperson with values similar to those of your organization is essential. It' s actually the basis of your collaboration!
If you're an environmental activist and your spokesperson drives a Hummer, you' ve got a little conflict of values! Take the time to talk to the potential spokesperson to find out about his or her interests, life goals and how he or she perceives your cause. Ideally, there should be a natural connection between your spokesperson and your cause. For example, if you are an educational institution, a spokesperson who studied at the institution would be a logical choice.
DOESN'T ASK FOR MONEY
Does your spokesperson want a fee? Forget it! Becoming a spokesperson for a philanthropic cause must be based on a willingness to help and not on a pecuniary goal.
You may decide to offer rewards or advantages to your spokesperson to show your appreciation for commitment and dedication, but you are under no obligation to pay the spokesperson.
IS AT EASE
With the media and public relations.
Your spokesperson represents you in the public sphere. Choose someone who is outgoing, articulate and spontaneous.
WISHES TO HAVE A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP
Favour someone who wants to make a long-term commitment with you.
This will add a lot of credibility to your cause and save you the trouble of looking for a spokesperson every year. This is a good point to bring up in your first meetings with the person who might take on the role.
HAS TIME TO DEDICATE TO YOU
Several celebrities have been called upon to take on spokesperson roles. Usually, these people have very busy schedules.
During the initial interview, make sure that the person selected will be able to and will take the time to fulfill the spokesperson's mandate. It is normal to have unexpected setbacks, but if the spokesperson is never able to be present at your events, do not wish to offer interviews to the media, or plan to be unavailable for several months (for filming or touring, for example), this person may not be the ideal candidate.
What you need to do to help
and keep your spokesperson
INFORM THE SPOKESPERSON WELL
Your spokesperson is talking about you. So, you need to make sure your spokesperson knows you well and is aware of all the changes that are taking place within the organization.
Give your brochures, your annual report, your campaign arguments, statistics about you, etc. to your spokesperson. You can also arrange meetings with your beneficiaries to help ensure your spokesperson is in the thick of the action and understands the mission and impact of your organization. Invite your spokesperson to your events, fundraising activities or to go door-to-door with you to make sure your spokesperson understands your reality and so that people can meet him/her.
By knowing you better, your spokesperson will be better able to represent you and transmit his or her knowledge to the public.
THANK YOUR SPOKESPERSON
No, you don't pay your spokesperson, but yes, you must somehow thank him or her. Thank you can take many forms, such as thanking your spokesperson during your public announcements or speeches, mentioning the spokesperson on your social media, offering small gifts (e.g., promotional items), or even awarding a tribute prize or giving an " emeritus " title after several years of service, for example.
You can also offer paid stays to an event related to your cause. If you require your spokesperson to attend an event, you must reimburse all expenses incurred. It's a matter of respect!
If your spokesperson is an entrepreneur, naming his or her company's name in your communications can also provide visibility that will be appreciated.
PROVIDE GUIDANCE AND COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR SPOKESPERSON REGULARLY
Although the commitment is voluntary, a contract specifying the expectations towards the spokesperson can help align the spokesperson's commitment and avoid unpleasant surprises.
The spokesperson should never be taken by surprise by the media! You can send the spokesperson a summary of your activities each week or before a public appearance (e.g. TV or radio interview) to ensure your spokesperson knows what to say. You can also provide your question and answer ("Q&A") document for public relations purposes. Keep your spokesperson aware of the good and bad moves and prepare answers to compromising questions, if any. Transparency is a must!
Keep the relationship ongoing by contacting your spokesperson regularly for comments, needs, and to maintain healthy relationships. If you only communicate when you need help, in the long run this may discourage your spokesperson and lower motivation. You want the person to feel that a difference is being made and to have fun in the role of spokesperson.
If you are intimidated by the idea of using a spokesperson to represent your organization, you can start by hiring a campaign spokesperson. This will give you a good idea of the person's involvement and commitment and, if it works, you may then offer the person the opportunity to become a spokesperson for the cause.
In conclusion, your spokesperson is a member of your team who should be treated as such, and with whom you should maintain constant communication. Be transparent about your expectations and ask what his or her expectations are, and you will have a winning partnership!
Ask our team for help!