What happens when you do one small act of kindness – like buying a stranger a cup of coffee, giving someone a high-five or writing a handwritten letter to loved one – each and every day for a month?
Better yet, what happens when thousands of people, in 30 different countries, on six continents each do one small act of kindness a day?
“We believe that small acts of kindness can make a huge difference in the lives of others, which is why we are challenging our community, and communities around the world, to complete one act of kindness a day,” Reanne Derkson told BostInno of the December-long campaign, 30 Days of Giving.
30 Days of Giving is a “bootcamp” designed to help people across the world pay it forward this holiday season, and it’s Derkson’s brainchild. The social media-driven campaign is an initiative held on behalf of Change Heroes, a Vancouver-born social enterprise committed to empowering people to raise $10,000 in a month to build a school house in the developing world by tapping into their social networks. (Though its headquartered in Canada, Change Heroes also has people in New York City, and Evan Mula, a 23-year-old Bentley University alum, on the ground in Boston.)
“We thought, ‘Let’s just get people addicted to doing little things.’… It just cracks them open,” said Taylor Conroy, the founder and CEO of Change Heroes. “We have people in different time zones hassling Reanne asking, ‘What’s my email, what’s my task today?’ and it’s not necessarily because they’re dead set on doing 30 days, but they’ve got that endorphin rush and they’re basically saying, ‘Give me my hit.’”
Think of it this way: It takes around 21 days to solidly form a habit. Get crowds of people to take baby steps to make the world a more considerate and caring place for four weeks, and a positive habit – of global proportions – is formed.
“Their making new neural pathways in the habit of doing really great things,” explained Conroy of the 30 Days of Giving ‘bootcampers.’ “And we want to continue to give them their ‘hits’…We’re not hoping, but expecting that people will want to take the next step.”
With the month of good deeds winding down, Change Heroes’ eight-person team is already thinking about what it can do to further engage the community its built from the past four weeks.
Inspired by Conroy’s life-changing trip to Kenya and Uganda in 2009, the social enterprise was originally designed to enable individuals to reach out to 33 friends and family to donate $3.33 a day for 3 months to raise $10,000 to build a school house or library in a developing country.
“These schools aren’t just around to teach math and science and social studies and geography…what the kids learn in these schools are about health, personal empowerment, confidence and gender equality…its far, far more than a library or just a school these kids are getting provided with,” says Conroy in the video below, explaining Change Heroes’ impact.
To educate an even larger pool of people, Change Heroes has plans to extend its Generation Y-targeted fundraising model to anti-sex trafficking organizations in South East Asia. In addition to schools and libraries, ‘change heroes’ will have the opportunity to raise donations to fund sex trafficking victims rehabilitation and support centers, which provide therapy, medical attention and protection.
“Our vision behind this is for someone to be able to go to Change Heroes, make a massive impact on the world, in the way that they want to make it, in a really, really short amount of time,” explained Conroy.
Take a look at Change Heroes’ powerful video below, taken from Conroy’s most recent trip to Kenya, to see the impact in action.