This week in New York female bloggers from around the world will come together at the BlogHer 2010 conference, the largest gathering of its kind in the world. Once you get past the swag and the schmooze, what's cool is this year's "Change Agent Blogger" theme -- and not a moment too soon in light of the monumental task of cleaning up the Gulf, the continued call for heroes in Haiti, an imminent water crisis coming soon to a country near you and a raft of other challenges facing our global community.
I guess the world has never needed change agents so badly (individuals, grassroots groups and ethical companies) to cut through the red tape and slow churn of traditional bureaucracies by taking the fight to the real battlefields here in the U.S. and abroad.
Building on this theme, P&G and its Children's Safe Drinking Water program is tearing up the old playbook at BlogHer by launching the GIVE Health Blogivation, a pilot initiative that does "more than promote" in creating a triple ROI of corporate, civic and cultural value.
In partnership with Changents (full disclosure: I oversee marketing and editorial for the organization) and P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water Program, the Blogivation is intended to activate the power of female bloggers for the purpose of improving the lives of people in need of clean drinking water by rallying BlogHer attendees to give a post about why they are passionate about helping to deliver solutions for the global water crisis.
Rather than simply opining on ways to address the problem, the Blogivation empowers bloggers to provide a day of clean water to a person in a developing country courtesy of P&G for every person who casts a vote for a blogger's post, and an additional day of water if the reader shares the post with friends via social media. The company is placing no caps on how many days of water it will be on the hook to give or how many female bloggers can participate.
The blogger with the most votes as of August 27, 2010 will receive a $15,000 donation to a 501(c)3 charity of her choice that is tackling water issues, and will win a trip to accompany Dr. Greg Allgood of P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water and humanitarian photographer Cate Cameron on a clean water expedition in Africa. The winner also gets to write the exclusive story about the expedition.
With the corporate do-gooder "arms race" heating up (e.g. Pepsi's Refresh Everything Vs. Coke's Live Positively: Which Soda Wins The War?) it's exciting to see that companies increasingly understand that social purpose is not only right thing to do, but the right business strategy. Leading agencies are driving companies to innovate at the intersection of social media and social purpose. Recent studies show that the majority of consumers look to brands to make it easier for them to make a difference, and cite giving away money isn't enough.
When consumerism turns into citizenship and the partnership between an individual and a company is deeper than the commercial transaction, things start to get really interesting...in a good way. The mission of Changents is to help Change Agents connect to the people and organizations who can help them. We could not be more excited about a future that aligns the world's most exciting Change Agents with top corporate citizens in support of each other.