We really believe in the concept of “Theory of Change” – the reasoning behind a project that suggests how it might actually bring about some kind of change and what’s required to make it happen. This concept or structure is one that nonprofits and activists of any type should consider when engaging in an effort to change something.
It occurred to us that we’ve never posted OUR Theory of Change, so here goes:
Kindness is the white blood cell of humankind. It is an act of healing that touches both the healer and the healed. Kindness must be generated – it must arise from within a human being and be expressed. In today’s hurried world, people are easily distracted into their daily routines and easily lose touch with their humanity or the humanity of others.
The proverb of the power a butterfly’s wing falling in a desert in Africa suggests that we each potentially play an integral role in the world around us. We have a constant choice to be kind or to be unkind. Most often, we react unconsciously to the world around us. Our culture teaches us that we do not have “enough” and that we need more. This has us feeling stressed out and worried about our own needs without considering the needs of others. And occasionally, there is a reminder that pops us out of our daily haze and influences us to make a more mindful choice.
The GenerateKindness.org project intends to be that reminder for as many people as we can touch through the distribution of free stickers bearing a website address that gives away free stickers bearing a website address.
Each act of kindness inspired by a sticker is a step in the direction of peace. Each act of kindness inspired by a Generate Kindness sticker is a ripple in a very big pond of humans.
It will be nearly impossible to measure the impact of this project. Thus, proving the Theory of Change is implicitly unrealistic. Only the qualitative contributions of people through the form of letters, donations, promotion, and other forms of support and the occasional comment left by a website visitor.
Otherwise, printing and distributing free Generate Kindness stickers is about the equivalent of throwing messages in a bottle from a desert island. But when you’re trapped on an island with only bottles and a notepad, that’s what there is to do.
In a more metaphysical sense, the generation of kindness is a self-fulfilling agent of change, perpetually reminding others and ourselves that Kindness and compassion begins with one person – us.
For the project’s long-term success, it must eventually generate a self-sustaining revenue model to cover the costs of printing and shipping stickers. This could come in the form of grants by foundations and philanthropists. More likely, it will come from the many thousands of people who contribute small amounts.
Key to supporting an ongoing donation base is the element of transparency. Showing all costs associated with operating the project, along with all revenue received is important to establishing trust with and between the GenerateKindness community.
There are approximately 157K+ stickers requested from this site so far. Because of the overwhelming demand for stickers and the limited supply of funds to fulfill those requests, the website form has been taken down. All SASE requests are being fulfilled and all site donors are getting stickers sent to them. To print and mail the 157K+ stickers will require tens of thousands of dollars.
As more stickers are put in places around the world (both physical and on the web), more people will come to the site. The more people that share the site or stickers mean more people are likely to be reminded about generating kindness. This is the essence of our Theory of Change – that a bumper sticker can change the world.