“[…] “We decided we wanted to do something annually on the show to help good causes,” commented Simon. “This year we chose to work with Great Ormond Street to help raise funds and awareness for their incredible work. I’m very proud of the single and I really hope it raises an enormous amount of money for people who really need our help”
The X Factor has been closely linked to Great Ormond Street for some time and the decision to choose them as this year’s charity follows an annual tradition of our winners visiting the hospital and some of the judges paying surprise visit to its patients […] no less than £1 from the sale of each single of You Are Not Alone will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, to support the work of the hospital [..]”
Mr Simon Cowell and his X-Factor franchise provides an enormous helping hand for a national not-for-profit each year, selecting an official charity to be supported by the show – including proceeds from a charity single performed by the TV finalists and reams (and bits) of national media coverage.
This is fantastic, and as a PR for a national charity – I of course applaud this exposure and all of the subsequent fundraising. 2009’s choice of Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity (GOSH) is indeed a very worthy recipient of this coveted prize.
However, I have yet to find out how one might apply for the show’s charity of the year status. Is it Simon’s choice (he has very strong links to GOSH as well as The Variety Club to name but two)? Is it a staff vote? Is there a pitching process? I guess I would just like to see a little more transparency – as without this, smaller and lesser known charities may never get the opportunity to pitch or prove their relevance to the programme’s demographic.
The ‘prize’ is huge; £1m raised for Help the Heroes last year, and the kind of exposure comms teams die for, so it seems only fair to me that the selection process is given greater prominence. X-Factor producers could even turn it into an audience / online vote so that the viewers pick from a group of shortlisted charities (and all proceeds from phonecalls could be distributed among that shortlist).
I dropped a friendly tweet to GOSH on Sunday during the show to see if they could shed some light. I’m awaiting a reply but am happy to share it should it arrive.
For further reading, blogger Beth Breeze has also pondered the question. Read her blog at Kent Philanthropy.