According to a study the National Retail Federation conducted last year, Americans spent billions at restaurants and on clothing, jewelry and flowers. Where did that money go? $1.9 billion went to flowers. $2.9 billion was spent on Mom’s favorite food. Another $2.5 billion on jewelry. The remainder went to clothing or clothing accessories ($1.3 billion), gift certificates ($1.5 billion), personal services such as spa treatments ($933 million), consumer electronics ($906 million) and greeting cards ($671 million).
I was blown away by the total—$14.6 billion. So I got to thinking. Studies show moms like causes. Moms like to do good in the world. Then, I thought about all the need in the world, from shelters for abused women, to books and education and more.
And I thought what if 1% of that $14.6 billion dollars could be given to a cause?
What if moms got together and said “Instead of a big gift, buy me a small present and donate the difference to the cause.” Moms wouldn’t destroy retail spending and the Mother’s Day economy. Instead, if we borrowed the page from President Obama’s campaign that showed how micro-donations add up, we could raise millions. Now, wouldn’t that be a great Mother’s Day gift? Wouldn’t that show everyone the power of social media moms and their connections? If 1% of $14.6 billion was given—over $140 million dollars—just think about all the good we could do.
I started asking moms what they thought, and they liked it. NYCSingleMom, Linda Grant, told me to start it. Audrey McClelland said it was a great idea. Baby Pop mom, Sherry Aikens, said she would help and ask other Moms to help. Sherry said she thought moms would even post it on their blogs. Then, I contacted MommyNiri, as she has a blog all about causes. When she said “Let’s do it,” we went to town.
We started by creating a group of 12 very connected moms. And they all said yes, immediately. The group included:
Niri Jaganath, mommyniri.com
Audrey McClelland, Mom Generations
Linda Grant, NYCSingleMom.com
Beth Feldman, RoleMommy.com
Erica Diamond, WomenOnTheFence.com
Kelly Loubet, Everyday Childhood
Katja Presnal, SkimbacoLifestyle.com
Karina Asner Carefoot, ficklefeline.ca
Julie Cole, Mabel’s Labels
Molly Hayden Gold, The GO MOM! Organizer
Dagmar Bleasdale, Dagmar’s momsense
We then started a closed Facebook group to ideate. Within 48 hours we had outlined the plan, generated a short list of charities, named our effort “Moms4Moms” and picked EveryMotherCounts.org as the final charity. EveryMotherCounts is an organization Christy Turlington started after her own home birth went awry. She has spent the past two years creating a documentary about maternal health around the world. And the documentary will air on the Oprah Winfrey Network on May 7th at 9:30–11 p.m. (ET/PT).
Here’s some of what we learned from EveryMotherCounts. Pregnant women are dying all over the world, but for different reasons. In the United States, it is often because of lack of health insurance, in Bangladesh-culture demands women give birth at home, in parts of Africa it is lack of transportation or communication tools like cell phones. Just look at these statistics:
• There is one maternal death every 90 seconds.
• 15% of all pregnancies result in complications during labor and delivery and sometimes are fatal.
• Pregnancy is the biggest killer of girls ages 15-19.
• For every woman who dies in childbirth, 20 more suffer from debilitating complications.
• We have the knowledge to prevent 90% of all maternal deaths.
And what amazed all of us was the fact the United States is 50th–49 other countries do a better job of maternal care.
And through EveryMotherCounts.org, there are two ways to make a difference.
• a small donation through EveryMotherCounts and Save the Children
• your old cell phones donated through Hope Phones. (They supply everything and pay the costs of shipping.)
Moms4Moms hopes to use the collective power of socially connected Moms to help Moms in need this Mother’s Day. Now isn’t that what Mother’s Day is all about?
So here is what the Moms4Moms is asking:
1. Write a blog post and post it on April 27th.
We’re hoping we can get hundreds of thousands of women to post all on the same day and show our unity behind better this issue.
• Post this article or your own article on your blog on April 27th.
• Tell the Moms in your network to commit to posting on April 27th.
• Join us by hitting the “like” button on www.facebook.com/havemomentum and show your commitment to helping us spread the word about maternal health. Through our Facebook page we will be able to provide you with updates, information, the Moms4Moms badge and more.
2. Join us for the Moms4Moms twitter party.
• April 25th at 9-11pm EST and yes, there will be prizes generously donated for this cause.
• Tweet and use this hashtag: #Moms4Moms to spread the word and this link http://on.fb.me/hD8w7f