“The more public we are with our generosity, the more generosity it will inspire.”
I tweeted something that, when I saw it in my feed, sounded pretty boastful. Or at least sounded like I was bragging about my charitable acts.
Traditionally, charity is something that should be done quietly and anonymously. But I think that should change.
Public acts of good in the social media era is a beautiful thing. Instead of corporate charities filling our mailboxes with expensive marketing materials, we now get bombarded by friends and family sharing their personal fundraising efforts. In my opinion, this is WAY better.
I don’t want to be told what to do. I don’t want to be made to feel bad. I don’t want to be motivated to act as a way to ease my guilt.
I want to be INSPIRED.
That is why there is real value to sharing good deeds publicly.
Why? Because we need as many examples as possible of people doing the right thing. Russell Brand bought breakfast for a bunch of homeless recently and it was all over the celeb blogs. Great! We need role models who demonstrate basic compassion. And really, that is what we are talking about: Basic Compassion. Nobody is giving up their fortunes or donating livers here. We are talking about sharing tiny pieces of our massive time & money resources.
I’m no movie star, but I am a happy person. And I receive joy from small acts of service and charity. To keep that portion of myself secret feels like a disservice.
When my friends and I started giving to the homeless every 1st Saturday of the month, we had several long conversations about how public we wanted to be and how anonymous. Eventually we decided to boldly invite everyone to join us on our monthly outings.
What started as three guys in San Diego is now regularly over 60 volunteers with huge amounts of donated clothing & food. Plus, satellite groups have started in SF, Atlanta, CO, & British Columbia. How many 1000’s of people were helped because we made our acts public?
I know there is fine line between sharing acts of service and bragging. And the line has mostly to do with intent. But, truthfully, I’m not too concerned with that. I would much rather live in a world where examples of kindness and compassion were everywhere. A world where it is just understood that service should be as much a part of our day as chilling with our cat or eating lunch – and we would share those things online with the same regularity.
I’ve been surprised over the last few years with how little actual charity is required before people start to view you as a philanthropist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered that people see me as kind-hearted. But it is a bit disappointing that the bar is so low. The good news is that the barrier to entry for being “a good person” is also low. Just a few hours a month can put you in the category of “Being the Change.” To me, that is exciting and encouraging! That is something that should not be kept secret.
And that is why I share what I share. Not to brag, but to role-model. To invite others to experience the same joy that I do – and then share it!
The world starts to change when you start to change who you are in the world.
What are you doing to spread Love in the world? Please share!