How Do You Choose Bloggers For Your Trips?

Continuing this series on Compassion Bloggers and exactly how it works, today I’ll tell you how I select bloggers for our trips. Sort of.

What I’ll do is tell you only the stuff that will help you improve your chances of being selected. (The rest of the process is a big fat secret and I’m not telling you no matter what you do to me.)

What is the purpose of a Compassion Bloggers trip?

I think it’s helpful for all of us to remember the purpose of these trips. They are not rewards for faithful support of Compassion, nor are they Β your one opportunity to meet your sponsored child. Compassion International has an open door policy: Any sponsor can see Compassion’s ministry for themselves and meet their sponsored child. Go here to learn more about Sponsor Tours.

These trips are primarily journalistic: spending a week in a country asking questions, taking pictures, experiencing poverty and witnessing progress, ingesting large amounts of programmatic information and regurgitating it all nightly in the form of a blog post. It’s hard work.

A Compassion Blogger trip is designed to do three things:

  • Release From Poverty: Get as many children sponsored as possible…with integrity.
  • Inform Sponsors: Educate sponsors at home about the particulars of Compassion’s ministry to their child.
  • Expose & Inspire: Introduce first-world Christians to third-world need and ministry and toΒ what the bible says about poverty in hopes that they will care for the poor…even if it’s not through Compassion International.

How do you choose bloggers for your trips?

More than 1200 bloggers have signed up to travel with Compassion Bloggers – to be considered, that is. There’s no way every willing, passionate, generous blogger who signs up can go with us.

There are three rounds I go through in making my selection. Here’s some of what happens in each round.

Round One:

If you sign up to be considered for a trip, I’ll check out your blog and look at…

  • User Experience: Is it easy to get around your site? Does everything work as it should?
  • Offensive Material: Is there profanity or other divisive or obscene content on your site? This includes consistent political postings, by the way, because Compassion is an apolitical organization.
  • Regularity: Do you post regularly and without frequent long breaks?
  • Comments: Are your readers engaged?
  • Traffic: I have ways of knowing what your traffic is. It’s kinda creepy isn’t it? (Traffic isn’t my top priority.)

Round Two:

If your blog passes through round one then it’s added to my RSS reader. I’ll check in on you every couple weeks for at least six months. Here’s some of what I’m looking at in this round.

  • Personality & Maturity: I’m looking for clues as to how someone will think and respond on a trip.
  • Faith: Compassion has a statement of faith that all staff agree with. Though bloggers are not paid and are not employees of Compassion, I’m looking for evidence that a blogger believes what we believe.
  • Style: Are you a human or a pamphlet?
  • Traffic Sources: I know where your traffic is coming from and where it goes when it leaves your site. Again, creepy right?
  • Social Networking Influence: I measure your on-line influence using methods known only to me and a few select members of the CIA.
  • Regularity, Offensive Material, etc: In round two I’m continuing to look at the regularity of your writing, the comments you receive, and still watching for anything potentially offensive or anything that could hurt Compassion.

Round Three:

I’ll make contact with you via Twitter, e-mail or phone. I’ll ask you any unanswered questions I have. I’ll explain what Compassion does if you’re not already familiar and let you ask me anything you want.

I’ll explain the purpose of these trips, the expectations we have of our bloggers, the details of the trip I’m considering you for. Sometimes I’ll invite you right then to join us. Other times we’ll part ways so we can both pray and consider things a little longer.

This is a very relational process for me. There’s a lot of listening to my “gut” that goes on because a person isn’t the sum of their stats and God doesn’t always lead where the spreadsheet does. I have to trust you and you have to trust us. And we both have to be certain this is a relationship God wants to move forward.

Any questions about the selection process? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

Don’t miss tomorrow’s post about whether or not these trips are using money that could be better spent helping more children.