Young Brits spontaneously name Fry, Beckham and X Factor judges as celebrities most likely to make them support a charity

Young Brits spontaneously name Fry, Beckham and X Factor judges as celebrities most likely to make them support a charity

  • However, young people remain generally ‘cautious’ and ‘picky’ re charity celebrity endorsers - especially as they get older
  • “A charity courting youth support must recruit just the right celeb to woo its target age and gender”, vies nfpSynergy’s Saxton

Young Brits spontaneously name Cheryl Cole, David Beckham, Simon Cowell, then Stephen Fry as the top four celebrities most likely to influence them to support any charity they endorsed - according to data out today. However, more generally, the majority (51%) still say having a celebrity endorse a charity would not make them more likely to support it.

These are the latest findings from leading not-for-profit sector research consultancy nfpSynergy’s Youth Engagement Monitor which tracks a representative sample of over 1000 11-25 year olds throughout mainland Britain twice-yearly, gaining insights into their views and habits, both social and charity-related.

Only 1 in 5 (20%) young people claim (slide 3) having a celebrity, in general, endorse a charity would make them more likely to support it – and even this somewhat cautious enthusiasm seemingly decreases steadily with age, from 28% of 11-13yrs saying a celebrity might sway them, down to just 16% of 23-25yrs saying the same.

However, despite this general caution, when asked (slide 4) if they can (spontaneously) name a specific favourite celebrity who might influence them to support a charity, more than one in three (35%) young people can so do – with Cheryl Cole, David Beckham, Simon Cowell, then Stephen Fry being most commonly cited. So young people appear ‘picky’ when it comes to their celebs – but the right celeb might just do the trick.

When asked (slide 5) to select their preferred celebrity charity endorsers from a prompted list of 20 prominent celebrities – a list which admittedly didn’t happen to include Cheryl Cole, David Beckham or Simon Cowell - Stephen Fry comes top. Perhaps more significantly, this prompted data clearly demonstrates that different celebrities appeal to widely differing gender and age groups (eg slide 6 - Frank Lampard popular amongst males, JLS amongst females; slide 7 - Stephen Fry amongst older, David Tennant amongst younger), again something charities would be wise to take into account when recruiting. Moreover, the prompted data also shows there are some celebrities who young people don’t think to name spontaneously - possibly constrained by the mental image they are using of what a ‘celebrity’ is - but who nonetheless, when their names are suggested, are still acknowledged as potential influencers (eg no young person mentions Alan Sugar in the spontaneous section but he outperforms JLS and Fearne Cotton in the prompted section).

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, comments:

This data shows that, despite young people doubtless being especially influenced by celebrities, they are still somewhat cautious and picky in their loyalties, and any such influence is generally apt to wane as they grow up. It also shows that any charity courting youth support must give very careful thought to recruiting just the right celebrity who will most successfully woo its target age and gender groups. Not just any celeb will do. This ‘fit’ should be snug, ideally researched. Although still undoubtedly impressive amongst females, macho Alan Sugar, say, packs a much bigger punch amongst the guys. And David Tennant, say, is far more persuasive amongst those aged 11-13yrs than even reputed national treasure, Stephen Fry!”



MEDIA COMMENT: To interview nfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton about these findings, please contact him direct on 07976 329 212 or; or, alternatively, contact Adrian Gillan (0774 086 7215; E: for further assistance.

Note to editors:

nfpSynergy ( is the UK’s only research consultancy dedicated to the charity sector and not-for-profit issues. It provides ideas, insights and information to help voluntary and community organisations thrive in an ever-changing world. Regularly harvesting the social and charity-related views of public and parliament, media and business - not to mention not for profit organisations themselves - nfpSynergy has a vast and ever-growing knowledge pool from which to extract and deliver insights.