Camp Mighty RMHCRecently, I spent a long weekend in Palm Springs, at Camp Mighty, a retreat for bloggers. My trip was sponsored by McDonald’s; they covered the cost of my registration and travel and all incidentals. In return, I served as an ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House Charities and their annual Give a Hand fundraiser.

As part of my trip, I toured the Loma Linda Ronald McDonald House, to get an inside look at how RMHC works; I also helped out with an on-site fundraiser at Camp Mighty as part of the Give a Hand campaign. Camp Mighty attendees raised $10,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities over the weekend, simply by having a message painted on our hands and then tweeting a photo of the message with a specific hashtag.

This was a terrific partnership, for a lot of reasons. I am always happy to talk with sponsors about picking up the cost of my travel to events like this, for obvious reasons, but I also want to feel like I am representing brands and programs that fit organically with my life and my writing. The RMHC program was a perfect fit for me, particularly this fundraiser. As a parent and a fashion blogger, a fundraising effort that benefited kids and had a strong visual component was a good match for what I’m already writing about.

My presence at Camp Mighty was also a win for McDonald’s, because it gave their fundraising effort a familiar face. The other Camp Mighty attendees were my peers, and so talking with them about the Ronald McDonald House Charities and encouraging them to take a few minutes to participate in the Give a Hand fundraiser was an easy thing for me to do. And it was much more natural than the McDonald’s PR team trying to do the same thing.

Sponsoring a blogger for a specific event — a conference or retreat, for example — is an easy way to raise your brand profile within that blogger’s community. Working with a blogger gives your brand a familiar face and voice, one that readers already trust and look to for guidance. In some ways, this is the next iteration of the celebrity spokesperson strategy, but instead of hiring a movie star or model, you’re asking a blogger to be the voice of your brand. And we know that consumers are listening to bloggers, so you can be sure your message is getting to the right people.

Photo: Susan Wagner