From their days as college friends, Debbie Bookstaber and Candace Lindemann have enjoyed collaborating on philanthropy projects. After graduation, they both went on to begin successful careers and start families. They continued to volunteer actively but missed that sense of community for a purpose they had enjoyed in college.
In 2007, Debbie Bookstaber and Candace Lindemann started Mamanista.com, a product review blog for moms, with the hope that they could raise revenue for charities.
Impressed by the energy and compassion they saw in their fellow bloggers, Candace and Debbie began brainstorming ways to build on their initial fundraising goals and involve all of the brilliant and committed bloggers they had met.
After BlogHer 2009, people took to Twitter and their blogs to discuss proposed FTC regulations, free products (aka SWAG) abuse and obsession. Debbie and Candace were dismayed by the negative perception so many had of bloggers. Since Mamanista’s creation, they had donated thousands of dollars as well as products to charity. This was not the blogging community they knew and loved.
Through conferences such as BlogHer and online events such as the weekly #GNO Twitter chats, they knew how many other bloggers were committed to charity and to using the influence and power of social media to improve their local communities.
They also understood how eager companies were to connect with bloggers, but bloggers weren’t necessarily going to write about cleaning products and new soups. In many cases, cleaning products and granola bars just weren’t a fit for the blog’s format or readers.
As an online marketing executive, Debbie understood corporate giving initiatives and marketing. Frequently, she had reached out to her contacts to obtain donations for charities and to connect her social media friends with the appropriate resources in the business world.
As the editors of Mamanista, they were inspired by corporate charity campaigns that looked beyond donations to empowering bloggers as philanthropic leaders in their communities. Debbie and Candace wanted to make it easier for companies and bloggers to connect through charity and corporate giving, so they founded Bloganthropy and began the 501c3 registration process to obtain non-profit status.