Celebrity-Driven Charity Auctions: A Growing Trend in Philanthropy

A recent news article in civilsociety.co.uk by Carine Appleby featured a celebrity charity auction organized by eBay, which was supported by notable celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney and One Direction. The auction was held on September 10 and raised a total of £62,000, bringing the organization’s total charitable donations to £50 million since its inception in 2006.

According to the article, “eBay celebrated the milestone by bringing together 50 celebrities and asking them to donate one item or experience important to them. Each celebrity nominated a charity they wanted the proceeds to go to.” Great Ormond Street Hospital placed the highest bid at £14,500 for a meet and greet with Sir Paul McCartney. The next highest bid came in at £3,700 for a mention by name in the next Sherlock Holmes book, which was donated by author Anthony Horowitz on behalf of the UK charity Kidscape.

This event has helped each benefiting charity with their altruistic goals. According to Hayley Richardson, senior fundraising executive at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, “These generous donations will help us with our ambition to rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, provide vital up-to-date equipment, and fund research into better treatments for children.”

The outcome of eBay’s charity auction highlights the rapidly growing trend of involving celebrities in fundraising events. Celebrity involvement in these activities piques public interest and corporate participation, which is ultimately to the advantage of the beneficiaries and the charities in need.

Perhaps the best thing about this arrangement is that it’s win-win. Celebrities are able to raise money for their chosen charities. Fans get to have exclusive deals or a moment with their idol. More importantly, though, charitable organizations and their causes become better known because of their popular ambassadors.

Although celebrity-driven charity auctions have proven to be very effective, some charitable organizations may not have the resources available to acquire such talent, and many people may not have the funds to win such an auction. Thankfully, eBay has created a productive alternative called eBay Giving Works. This program allows members of the online community to set aside a portion of their sales for a partner charity or make donations to certain causes after purchasing an item from the site. The ease and accessibility of programs like this make it easier for people to give back and help out those in need.

(Article Excerpt and Image from eBay for Charity raises £62,000 from celebrities auction, Civil Society Media, September 10, 2013)

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