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“Directed” Acts of Kindness

“Directed” Acts of Kindness

When most people think of “micro-giving” they think of sites like Kiva, DonorsChoose or GlobalGiving that allow your small donation to make a direct, personal impact… but what if the “micro-giving” concept was applied to random acts of kindness? That’s the principle behind ItStartsWith.Us, a project created by Nate St. Pierre (though, Nate thinks they shouldn’t be “random acts of kindness” but “directed acts of kindness”).

The idea is simple. Sign up for a mailing list and each week you get sent a mission. One week the mission was the $2 challenge. Subscribers were encouraged to spend $2 in a way that would make a positive impact on someone else’s life. For one person, this was helping a mom out at the grocery store who was a couple of dollars short on her bill. Other examples including paying someone’s bridge toll and buying a kid a set of headphones on a flight.

Other missions have involved helping out a stranger, giving something you owned to a friend, finding a senior citizen and spending some quality time with them, and handwriting a note to someone to let them know they were “doing it right.”

Nate says that one of the main reasons the concept works is because people know that they are part of a team and that others are out there doing the same thing. The ideas are quick, easy and fun and people are encouraged to tweet about them or report back to Nate with the results of what they did for the week.

Video plays an important part in what Nate is doing with ItStartsWIth.Us. At least once a week, he records a video for the website and he encourages members to record videos to report on their mission. To Nate, videos allow the website members to realize that they are part of a team, and that he is just a regular guy making this all happen.

In addition to the weekly missions, Nate has started a side project called the “Love Bomb” (I love this idea). Each week, someone from the ItStartsWith.Us community nominates someone outside the community going through a rough time — they may have just been diagnosed with cancer, lost their job, or going through a bad breakup. The Love Squad “attacks” that person’s blog (or email box) by sending positive comments at a specific time (usually on Thursday mornings). The person is flooded with positive comments.

Nate is working to grow the ItStartsWith.Us community and is currently working with several companies on how they can implement the weekly mission challenge as a staff bonding tool. The companies can tailor the missions he sends to them to make the most impact in their communities, and once a quarter all of the companies involved will participate in a coordinated mission with the rest of the ItStartsWith.Us members.

To learn more, visit the ItStartsWIth.Us website.

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photo credit: Nate St. Pierre, ItStartsWith.Us

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135 comments

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2:05AM PST on Jan 28, 2015

Everyone has a story. Some keep their stories locked up tightly. Others want to talk but cant find a voice to share it.. some don't have an ear to listen either but those people, wanting to find a kind hearted, no agenda soul, a warm heart and an ear to just listen and perhaps a small amount of cash too that finishes off the food deal cost of say 5 cents can make all the difference to someones life. They have shared their load while you have taken their load and carried it. Its not hard in fact its easy. We can dump it while the person hangs tightly onto it while really wanting to dump it somewhere.
Then once its done, I ts really more so that the speaker gives ME a hug but I also do it too. Its an exchange of warm energy that makes each of us feel validated and that their life is worthy. Sometimes, as i might have said, its could be the difference between doing themselves in or as i said feeling validated. Each of us from the top of the echelon to the bottom have a story to tell, but be warned, those at the top may not have had a silver spoon in their mouths or are they tinged with gold or diamonds for they too however it is, has a story to tell. Its those stories from all walks of life and all countries from top to bottom that are the inspiration for everyone to learn from.
Even saying thanks with a smile and mean it, is a step forward to mending cold hearts. Hugs to you all for in your life you too have a story and journey to tell.

2:03AM PST on Jan 28, 2015

I decided to join Nat's website and submitted my details and clicked Submit and apparently he has gone AWOL doing good we hope everywhere Shame really.

Just recently after volunteering to teach ESL to the local bakers wife, it finally came to a sudden halt and during that time I met the most fantastic people coming in and out of the bakery. One elderly lady came with her elderly husband and 57 year old disabled son... and from a process of elimination and a round about way it was a phone call to make to them who discovered their very ancient car had died. so therefore getting out and about to get food supplies weren't that easy. I said I would take her to shop.... but she said that her g/daughter would. I listened to her for 2hrs as her husband has serious Dementia and her son can understand but he cant communicate that well... so I listened.
So she hung up and three days later I decided to ring to see if her g/daughter had come for her to shop and was shocked to discover she hadn't and by this stage they were desperate. No worries I said... I ll pick you up in 45 mins. I did and 3.5hours later and a car full to the brim of food supplies and more we arrived home ladened and she was happy as well as her 'starving' husband and son.
Its not about the kudos really but its to walk that extra mile to help another who is in a 'pickle' and cant find a way out.
Im a listener and a hugger and i just know as I might have mentioned before. Everyone has a story. Some keep their s

12:49AM PST on Jan 28, 2015

Nice idea, as long as people use it as a supliment rather than the be all and end all

9:23PM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

The smallest act of Kindness to another could be and can be the Biggest Gift of Love to them. Sometimes those in need present a 'stiff upper lip' for all to see when in actual fact behind closed doors and away from the public there are other things going on.
Giving $2 or like I did not so long ago a work man came into a shop and he was short of 20cents. Just 20cents! I was waiting for the shopkeeper to say ' aww, dont worry, you can pay me the next time or dont worry I take what you have.' but that didnt happen and it seemed that he was a avid customer. Anyway I offered my 20cents. The reward from me was THANKS!! :D and a huge smile. I said ' Please pay it forward!' He beamed and say ' ohhhh yeah!' I will certainly do that.' Now I see him all the time in that shop and we stop and chat for a bit. Its just great for the soul even if you dont give direct money although it was only 20cents thats just how it happened.
I have some dog treats I must put in my car and when I see this person give the dog treats to him to give to his gorgeous dog. It doesnt matter what you do, even listening to another unload, that helps the speaker, release the built up tensions and lowers their blood pressure, Thats all called the Act of Kindness. We should practice it every day. I just love it and I do it without thinking often.

4:51PM PST on Nov 23, 2012

do good, do the right thing, even if it's not always the easiest option. being selfish is ugly. thnx for the article. i love it.

4:28PM PDT on Oct 9, 2010

Please be kind to animals

5:07AM PDT on Oct 7, 2010

when all seems destitute and lost.... a small act of kindness speaks volumes

3:27AM PDT on Oct 6, 2010

I love the idea of small acts of kindness.. they kind of take a life of their own.. making a string of kind acts.. thanks

2:41AM PDT on Oct 6, 2010

great

6:52PM PDT on Oct 1, 2010

Nice concept!

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