ONE mom can make a difference, and so can you


When I first read about ONEMoms -- a partnership between a group of ten social media moms and the advocacy organization ONE -- my heart started beating faster. ONE aims to combat extreme poverty in developing countries by focusing the world's attention on attainable solutions to hunger, HIV/AIDS, and more. The ONEMoms collaboration turned what can feel like an insurmountable problem into a series of stories about individuals, many of whom are mothers, addressing that problem in small but very real ways. Last summer, ONE brought the ONEMoms to Kenya, where they introduced them to health care workers, farmers, teachers, and entrepreneurs who are trying to improve the lives of their families and communities. In turn, each ONEMom shared those stories with us in ways only they could. It was an opportunity not only to educate their audiences about ONE's work, but to spur their readers into world-changing action.

While ONE isn't the first organization to partner with parents in social media, it felt like a pivotal moment. Perhaps it's personal; I've been aware of ONE since its founding by musicians Bono, Bob Geldoff and others. Perhaps it touched something stirring in me that hadn't articulated itself before then. Whatever the spark, this project moved me deeply. I followed the ONEMoms closely and wrote about them regularly.

We all know that brands have taken notice of the the organic influence wielded by "mommybloggers." The infusion of marketing money into the parenting blogosphere through sponsorships, advertising and other collaborations has allowed many women to transform their hobbies into family-supporting businesses. It's an exciting time. But many bloggers, including me, have come to recognize even greater potential for the megaphones we find ourselves holding. We can show our readers a way to channel the generosity we experience in this community. We can provide real ways our audiences can use their voices to make a difference amidst the time-and-attention crunch of parenting.

This year, I (and Mission List co-founder Christine Koh) have been invited to join the ONEMoms Advisory Committee. We're learning how powerful tiny acts can be. A phone call, a letter, a signature on a petition -- these are the steps that lead to ending some of the world's biggest problems.

I'm so excited that the Mission List will give all of us that opportunity. The parenting blogosphere is a generous place. Now there's a real way to channel it.

Asha Dornfest is the publisher of Parent Hacks, a website devoted to sharing "forehead-smackingly smart parenting tips." She's also the author, with Christine Koh, of Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less, to be published Spring 2013 by Bibliomotion Books + Media.