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Why Your Blog Should Do Community Service Work

In this guest post Debbie Dubrow from DeliciousBaby.com looks at the idea of using a blog to do community service work.

For most of us, our blogs are a place to share our passions, engage with new people, and hopefully make a little money. I want to share with you why I think it’s also important for every blogger to occasionally use their blog to help support a charitable cause. Giving through your blog is not only emotionally rewarding, but it also makes good business sense.

You Are An Influencer
Even if your blog has a very small following, your readers come to you because they enjoy your “voice” and trust what you have to say. That’s no secret to PR professionals, many of whom seem desperate to get us to write about their product or service. But why use your voice and the platform you have built up exclusively to help promote someone else’s business? Posting about a relevant charity or cause you care about is an easy and effective way to lend your support without writing a big check or giving up much of your time.

Be creative, and make sure that what you write about is relevant to your audience. For example, on my travel blog I posted pictures of pre-cyclone Myanmar in an effort to help readers understand the country better and hopefully donate money to support rescue and recovery efforts. Sharing my personal experience and my viewpoint helped my readers better connect with the disaster in Myanmar, and was an effective way to help increase donations.

Real World Results are Rewarding
As bloggers many of the ways we measure our success are esoteric: bounce rates, page views and comments per post have little meaning in the real world. It can be incredibly rewarding to do something that has a measurable real world impact, whether it is fundraising, a toy drive, or hearing from readers that your words motivated them to volunteer.

A Great Way To Build Relationships
Blogging can sometimes be isolating, and it is incredibly satisfying to work together with other bloggers to promote a common cause. Working together is also a great way to build relationships, and to establish yourself as a leader in your niche. As bloggers, we spend a lot of time asking other bloggers to link to us, stumble our posts, and promote us using other social media tools. Sending email on behalf of a charity or cause that really needs it instead of for yourself is a way to connect without being self-promoting.

As a case in point, this winter three other leading travel bloggers (Pam Mandel, Beth Whitman and Michelle Duffy) and I have organized PassportsWithPurpose, a fundraiser for Heifer International. The effort has built bonds between us that will last throughout the year, and I have grown to know more about each blogger, their strengths, and their backgrounds through the effort. The goodwill does not stop there, though. I was amazed and touched at how quickly over 50 other travel bloggers were able to round up prizes for the raffle, each one developing a relationship with a sponsor in order to make it happen. The outpouring of support from those 50 bloggers and countless others in promoting the effort has been truly heartwarming. I expect that the relationships and goodwill forged during this time will last through the year and payoff in countless other ways for each of the participants. We will also raise thousands of dollars to give people on the edge of starvation the means to feed and support themselves.

Connect With Your Readers
We all become one-sided on our blogs, focusing on a particular aspect of our personalities, and often a single passion. For me, blogging about family travel is rewarding, but sometimes feels superficial. Each time I’ve taken time on my blog to advance a (related) cause that I am passionate about, I’ve noticed that every measure of “reader engagement” has gone up. From comments, to subscriber-ship, to tweets and inbound links, my readers do more for me when I express my passion for giving. I think readers enjoy the opportunity to see us as fuller human beings, beyond just the one interest that we’ve chosen to reveal on our blogs.

Connect With Sponsors
Online Advertising is tricky for potential sponsors because it is hard to identify which blogs can drive real world results (like purchases) based solely on traffic numbers. Having a concrete measure of success (for example raising money for charity) can help build your credibility with a potential sponsor.

Bio: Debbie Dubrow is a mother of two living in Seattle, WA. Together with Beth Whitman, Michelle Duffy and Pam Mandel she founded PassportsWithPurpose, a fundraiser for Heifer International where a $10 donation to Heifer enters you to win one of many fabulous prizes. Her own blog, DeliciousBaby.com is packed with helpful advice about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for a very interesting post. A lot of things to think about!

  2. We did a fund raiser on the PhotographyCorner Blog this holiday season by partnering with the Canadian Red Cross in a campaign called “Malaria Bites” which raises money to purchase mosquito nets for children in Liberia to sleep under (when malaria-carrying mosquitoes are most likely to bite and spread the disease). You can read more about our campaign here: http://www.photographycorner.com/blog/2008/12/malaria-bites So far, we’ve raised almost $1,500!

  3. On a similar note, Wikipedia is looing for donations. They’ve raised quite a bit and can use more.

    Many bloggers turn to Wikipedia for information and if everyone that pulls quotes and links could donate a little it will help it continue to provide such an invaluable service.

    As for community service. One mindset people get into is to think because they reached their readers and got them to go out and help, that means they don’t have to.

    There is no substite for getting out there and doing it yourself. Unless of course you REALLY can’t. Make the time and get hands on. It will give you something unique to write about, make you feel good, and provide a wonderful experience.

  4. Interesting article, I have always wanted to do something along the lines of a fundraiser but always hit some sort of wall

  5. This is a wonderful post! When you see what a blogger believes in, you see a full human being: The soul of a person and it is hard for many to get that out there. Many doubt the impact of CRM, but a bond like what you desribe lasts for many years. Excellent viewpoint. Thank you for this post.

  6. Team Nirvana says:

    This is not that easy as you have specified.

    It requires a community to be built up and the network to be createe in order to gain that reputation to make the social work count.

    And I suppose this would not be a possible and feasible opton if you reside in an Indian community.

    I do have some plans which would entice to the Indian bloggers to get to know how to enhance their public image. What’s needed is a perfect platform and I suppose if I could get a perfect place where I can voice my opinions and suggestions I would let know the dormant Indian blogging community what it can do in order to reach this accoladed position.

    Thanks for reminding me of my goal.

  7. J.D. Meier says:

    Lifting the world up with your influence is a good thing.

  8. Many of us might know, that through Twitter people helped raised $10000 in just 48 hours(2 days before thanksgiving) to build a classroom in Tanzania, just by shouting and asking others to shout the link. I am a young kid, don’t know much, but that was very inspiring to see that people actually care. I have been telling myself that I want to one day become someone big, only to bring the value of Education in India and its neighboring countries. Those countries need healing. My own family criticizes those countries for being so bad in every category. I tell them to shut up and actually do something about it, why don’t you take the skills you have learned to India and give your contribution first.

    This post just makes me feel so good. Even though its years apart before I have my bachelors. But when I do become something and want to start a charity, bloggers like Darren will be more then happy to help me in the good cause.

    Regards: rizzy
    http://twitter.com/rizzy81

  9. Nate says:

    Recently, many food bloggers have gotten together to promote the Menu for Hope campaign, which raises money for the World Food Program. The great thing is, it is a raffle where every $10 donated gets you a virtual “raffle ticket” eligible to win one of dozens of great food-related prizes donated by food bloggers around the world.

    The Menu for Hope campaign raised $90 K last year, and is over $40 K so far with six more days to go. More info about it is on http://www.chezpim.com

  10. Very inspirational! I am a massive fan of using your influence to make a difference, and blogging is one way we can do this.

  11. VIVEK says:

    Doing social service through whatever means possible is not only a choice but also a responsibility.

  12. My web host Fused Networks is right in tune with you on this one Daren.

    All new signups for the month of Dec get to donate 100% of their subscription to the charity of their choice. Their genuine effort to help those in need is a big reason I stay committed to promoting them even though I am not a paid affiliate.

    Those of us that are fortunate enough to be able to have a strong presence on the web should always be willing to share that with helpful organizations and sites. It’s a great way to share the exposure and enjoy the benefits of having a wide reach.

  13. KyNam Doan says:

    This is right up my alley, thanks Darren.

    Incorporating social responsibility into everything I do, including the whole point of my blog cranks up my happiness while, at the same time, increases the value of my relationship with others and have found myself connecting with many more people than I otherwise would have.

    I’ve found that Chipin and Tipjoy are fantastic ways of raising micro-funds on your blogs

  14. jane says:

    Hi, very inspiring article. I will gather my club members to participate in donation for single mothers thru our club http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com.

  15. Laksh says:

    Darren,
    I know you have unlimited strategies to popularize blog but you post them very rarely. Please I request you to help novice bloggers in popularizing our blogs. Please do post about your successful strategies a bit more.

    Laksh
    http://tinyurl.com/5n9eby

  16. uwak says:

    yes…..social mission, cause we can live alone

  17. Maria Palma says:

    It’s interesting that I come across this post because I was just thinking about how I could create more win-win situations through my blog. As bloggers we do have a great platform to spread good-will. Thanks for such an inspiring post.

  18. Blog Expert says:

    That was a great post! A lot of great things to think about.

  19. Bob Crawshaw says:

    Good post…so much of social media is “out there in the ether”. Good to see it being used to positively make a difference.

  20. I was thrilled to see this post. I am a firm believer in using blogs for a cause.

    For every comment left on my blog from now until December 28th, I will donate $1 to the Food Bank. http://www.giggleon.com/dollars4comments/

    I got the idea from a blog called Operation Nice.

  21. Cod Gifting says:

    This website has a lot of useful information. Thanks Once Again.

  22. reviews says:

    Great Website! It helps me a lot with my tough homework. I’m not so hot in that class :-) Thanks for the hard work, keep it up!

  23. This and other Problogger posts are really helping me to plan my blog development. Thank you, Debbie Dubrow, and other bloggers for being there.

  24. John says:

    loved the post right on target. It’s nice to help others just need to find a few causes. I guess i can start with The Boy Scouts of being an Eagle Scout,in being one I also know there are other problems worldwide. That need to be addressed Any Ideas?

    I can also see how this can help business and drive sponsors to a comfort spot of creditability.

    The best part is knowing how to bring together the world on causes in away never seen before.

    Thanks for this post.

  25. Shirley says:

    Nice post. I agree. Blogs are a great way to network and bring people together.

  26. Good job! Couldn’t agree more! Blog nowadays becomes a great communication gateway to the online world.

  27. I don’t believe fundraising projects online because there are scams all over. But the good thing is that in blogging, “we need to connect to our readers”.

  28. neon says:

    I can also see how this can help business and drive sponsors to a comfort spot of creditability.