Blog of Inspiration: Blogs For A Cause

Valentine's Day is....tomorrow. If you haven't already purchased your dozen roses and Hallmark card, you're probably going to have to settle with eight carnations and one of those $0.99 (blank inside) cards. However, if you want to give someone a piece of your heart (and your blog a big oomph!) you're never too late.

I stumbled across one of the most FABULOUS blogs I have EVER.  When you order a blog design from Nikki at Blogs For A Cause 100% of the proceeds goes towards supporting those less fortunate. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about the consumerism.  It can, and should be about telling someone, anyone, that they are important and they are loved and cared about.

Tell us a little bit about your blog "Blogs For A Cause".
Blogs for a Cause has two purposes; it is a spot to go to get a great looking design, and also a way to bring bloggers together who are like-minded in the sense that they care about the world around them, and choose to blog about it! Money raised from these blog designs goes to different charities around the world. Many (but not all- anyone is welcome to order a blog design!) of the customers are adoptive parents, or volunteers working all over the world.

Where did the idea for this blog come from?
I had gone on my first humanitarian trip at age 17 to the Dominican Republic. I was heading back for a month the following summer and needed to come up with a creative fundraiser to allow me to do so. I never imagined BFAC would be as successful as it is!
How does the blog design process work?
Customers send me an email and I get some basic info from them; things like the blog title, photos for the header, a scrapbook kit to design the blog with, etc. Within a week (usually closer to 2-3 days) I have used Photoshop to come up with a design. I email the customer a link to a ‘test blog’, at which point they are able to ask for any number of changes. I will make these changes free of charge, and send it back to them. If they want additional changes, I will charge a small fee, otherwise, I will install it onto their blog and they are all set to go with a great looking new design!

What types of causes does your blog support and donate to?
We have raised about $4000 for charities around the world. These causes are ones that work with people living in poverty, so far in countries like Haiti, Ethiopia, Uganda, Dominican Republic, and China, to name a few. I like to focus my donations to programs that enable people to become self sustaining and educated, thus lifting them from poverty. We have helped an orphanage for children with special needs in the Dominican Republic, we have donated to a malnutrition rescue center in Haiti, we have supported education in Guatemala, Haiti, and Uganda, and have helped to develop a pre-natal program in Haiti, among many other great endeavors.
Break down the donation for us. What exactly does each amount support?
I charge $30 for a design. $25 goes to supporting my humanitarian work. Thus far, it has sent me to the Dominican Republic (three times), Haiti, and Ethiopia, where I have worked in orphanages, taught, helped in malnutrition clinics, distributed clean water, distributed clothes, food, and supplies, among many other things. $5 goes to a Charity of the Month, which I change every month or every other month.

What are some of your favorite designs that you've created?
I love my own design, One Tiny Starfish (http://www.onetinystarfish.blogspot.com/) because looking at the faces of those kids in the header just warms my heart. I also really like Our Journey to Malia; this customer adopted her baby girl from China and she is so gorgeous, it made for a fun, China-themed design!

What are some causes that are near and dear to you?
Hands down, Real Hope for Haiti (http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/) The poverty I saw in Haiti was unlike anything I could imagine. Lori and Licia, who run RHFH, are doing the most amazing work. Please check out their blog; you will be grateful you did.

You do a lot of humanitarian work. In fact you have a second blog dedicated to it: One Tiny Starfish. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
YES! This is something I am very passionate about!! I have travelled to Africa, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic working with families living in poverty. I am most passionate about educating the uneducated, as this is what will allow them to lift themselves out of this poverty. For my next trip, I am headed to India for 5 weeks, and then Thailand for 2 weeks in May-June 2010. I will be teaching and working in an orphanage for children with special needs. If anyone ever has any donations that they would like to send me, please email me at ncochrane3@hotmail.com and I will give you my address. Donations that are always needed include: gently used kids clothes, shoes, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, medication, school supplies, and foods to hand out like granola bars and jars of peanut butter. As well, if anyone is interested in child sponsorship or going on a humanitarian trip, please contact me and I can provide lots of info! I truly believe that EVERYONE of us in North America should be sponsoring a child living in poverty.

On my blog, I write about my travels, my 4 sponsor kids (1 in Ethiopia, 2 in Uganda, 1 in Haiti), my volunteering in Hamilton with refugees, and my passion for fair trade, child sponsorship, and humanitarian work. 
At the end of the day, your blog looks a-ma-zing and you've just helped make the world a better place and those in it happier. Sounds like a pretty good Valentine's Day to me! That Nikki...I love the way she blogs!