The ’Kate effect,’ charity edition

The duchess of Cambridge makes her first ever video message to appeal for charity support
Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets the school dog Henry as she arrives to visit The Willows Primary School in the Wythenshawe district near Manchester, northwest England on April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Ellis/POOL (BRITAIN - Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT EDUCATION) - RTXYWVR

That everything Kate, duchess of Cambridge, wears is an instant retail hit has been such a long-proved commercial reality that it’s got its own moniker, the “Kate effect.”

Witness what happened the moment she appeared on Friday at the Warner Bros. studios wearing a polka dot dress from Topshop. It sold out instantly. It’s happened again and again.

Now the fairy dust that rubs off on everything Kate touches is doing more than just boost corporate profits. It’s benefitting charities as well.Organizations lucky to have her as a patron report big increases in interest.

Five blogs that follow Kate are on a charitable fundraising mission, starting on Monday, Apr. 29. In anticipation of the birth of William and Kate’s baby in mid July, they’re asking readers to contribute to EACH, the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, that support families dealing with life-threatening childhood ailments at three hospice locations in England. Kate has been its patron since January 2012. To deliver its needed services, EACH, which approves of the blog charitable drive, has to raise $9 million each year from the public.

It was Dash, the power behind the British Royals blog, who had the initial idea for a fundraiser to commemorate the new baby. She reached out to four other bloggers and soon their plan was in motion. Together they are the best of the best when it comes to keeping up with Kate’s activities and fashions. Together, these five blogs–British Royals, Duchess Kate, Kate Middleton Style, What Kate Wore, A Petite Princess are seen by 250,000 unique readers each week.

“When the five of us got to talking about which of Kate’s charities to select as a beneficiary,” Susan Kelley of What Kate Wore says, “EACH just seemed to come up again and again. Kate seems to have a special affinity to the children’s hospice issue and EACH in particular.”

Yet this isn’t just a “please donate” plea that most casual readers would ignore. These bloggers are serious about this campaign and its goals. Susan Kelley says that they want thousands of dollars, pounds, euros etc to pour into EACH’s kitty.  And they’re also very sophisticated about how to harness the power of social media. And that means courting readers (and their wallets.) So they’ve gathered donations from many of the fashion designers who have benefited by having Kate wear their items. From Monday, Apr. 29 through Aug. 31, readers will be able to win desirable offerings from the likes of Links of London, London Sole and Temperley London in online auctions and random drawings.

The drive is called Baby Cambridge Fundraiser. It’s got a website, Facebook page and a Twitter account. And it’s super easy to donate.

If giving isn’t enough, then consider volunteering. Lots are. The Scouts in Britain have witnessed an explosion of interest since Kate volunteered to be a leader of the local Cub group in Wales, where she lives with her husband, whose RAF search-and-rescue squadron is based. According to the Telegraph, membership has jumped by 11,400 in a year while more than 2,800 adults have signed up as volunteers–an increase the organization directly attributed to the duchess’s example. Kate, who was a Brownie herself, is part of an army of so-called flexible volunteers, who offer services when they’ve got free time, rather than at a strictly set time. The Scouts expect the influx of new volunteers to help winnow down the 35,000 children on waiting lists because of lack of adult organizers.

The focus on charity and volunteering is one Kate effect that everyone can truly get behind.