If you’ve read the About page, you have an idea of the philosophy behind this site, but I’ve had a few questions as to the specifics of what we intend to accomplish, so figured it was best to start with an outline of our goals. LendOneHand has three major goals:
1. Spotlight worthy causes which don’t have much in the way of support now.
National charity organizations often have millions of dollars in marketing campaigns, and also effectively wield social media to get their cause known, but countless individuals around the country are doing meaningful things to effect a change for the better without either. Spotlight contributors to the site will help shine some light on some of these individuals, and list ways that people can help.
2. Foster an environment of volunteerism with a focus on making the world a better place.
That may sound like a pipe dream, but making the world a better place is an incremental effort that happens every day in a million small ways. We will help coordinate bringing many hands together, and explore topics related to altruism and how one hand can make a difference.
3. Serve as home base for a social media movement which translates into action.
A billion people were quick to share #Kony2012, but not so quick to actually take meaningful action to do something about it. And how could they? Most social media users (statistically) have never even been to his country. Many pundits are quick to criticize “Slacktivism” (the act of sharing something online for a worthy cause without taking any meaningful action), but we believe that the same internal thought process that drives someone to share a link can be used to accomplish something meaningful if there’s a clear and locally relevant way for them to do so. Kony2012 didn’t spawn much action because there was little people could do aside from sharing the link. We will look for the ways that people can help a project or cause with minimal effort, and focus on that.
Why minimal effort? Because realistically, that’s all most people have to give. They want to help, they want to do something for the greater good, but they have busy lives, limited resources, and problems of their own. By setting achievable targets for action, we are more likely to gain participation.
I call these minimal actions “microkindnesses”, after the concept of microaggressions. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, microaggressions are the small acts of unkindness that stack up daily and wear on the recipient over time. They are often expressions of prejudice, classism, and bigotry, too small to cause much outrage, but big enough as a whole to act as a constant ache that never quite goes away. Microkindnesses are the exact opposite; no single tiny action will garner much attention, but thousands of them together every day will act as a countering balm to all of the negatives.
Some people might note a resemblance to a similar concept: #payitforward. We consider that a sister concept, with similar end goals. The difference here is that we’re gathering those many acts of kindness and focusing them collectively on targets where lots of small helping hands can accomplish a collective major good. Working collectively, we can raise awareness, make Kickstarters successful, fill food pantries, help a struggling family business, etc.
Many hands make light work.
There is an old saying that “Many hands make light work”. Many farming communities have survived hard times by following this mantra, looking out for each other, and harnessing the collective energy of the community to accomplish tasks that would be daunting to an individual. We believe we can accomplish this exact same effect on a much larger scale.
I want to lend a hand! How can I help?
- We need Spotlight contributors who have a project or cause that could use some highlighting. If you know something or someone that could use a spotlight, contact us and tell us about it.
- Spread the word! Post on your social network of choice about the concept, the site, or both, and use the #LendOneHand hash tag.
- Join our Google+ community, and say hello! You’ll be able to quickly engage with like minded people, and share ideas and thoughts on the concept.
- Look around you. The opportunities to perform microkindnesses are everywhere, and you can start practicing lending a hand today.
We’ll be continuing to build out functionality on the site, so don’t be surprised if you see brand new things pop up regularly. We hope you’re here for the long haul, but even if you just stopped in for a moment to read this, take the concept to heart. Whether you’re formally organizing with the group, or demonstrating the concept individually in your home town, your part is an important one.
Got suggestions for the site or any other feedback? Leave a comment below.