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Strength in numbers: One million acts of kindness by 2020

Most companies have set ambitious fiscal goals for one, three, and five years from now, but few have set a goal like The Kindness Factory. The Australia-based nonprofit was founded in 2016 with the goal of logging one million acts of kindness by 2020. So if ever there was a year to double down, it’s 2019. The great news? Everyone can help.

A visit to the kindness log offers inspiring evidence that the human race is kind. A scroll through offers an antidote to the maelstrom of bad news hurled across the world stage. You’ll find ample cases of people feeding and helping friends, relatives, and neighbors—like Erin, who babysits a single mom’s children three nights a week so their mom can finish her law degree. Or there’s Maria, who helped an elderly woman select a box of Christmas cards this holiday season.

Acts of kindness come in all sizes. Some gestures are large, like caring for cancer patients or fundraising for a good cause, but even the smallest, most surprising moments have an impact. Things like: buying a Salvation Army bell ringer a cup of coffee on a cold day; talking to a child who’s been bullied; or buying a total stranger some groceries. Just making someone’s day a little bit better can have an

[Listen: Relate by Zendesk podcast, episode 1: The kindness of strangers]

Chances are that acts of kindness are happening all around us and that we’re each adding our own to the world on a daily basis. But how often do we stop to notice and appreciate these moments?

Kath’s story: Kindness as a disrupter

The Kindness Factory was borne from the very thing it perpetuates: kindness. Founder Kath Koschel was an athlete and distinguished NSW cricket player when her life was radically impacted in 2011 after sustaining a back injury. She underwent surgery but suffered complications that nearly resulted in the amputation of her leg. Fortunately, her leg was saved and, during her recovery, she met her husband. But her happiness gave way to heartbreak when she lost him to suicide the following year. As one might imagine, this was an incredible amount to endure and, according to her website, it was the smallest acts of kindness that helped Koschel move from one day to the next.

Her story illustrates the magnitude of how unfair life can be, and also how resilient the human spirit, and body, are. In 2015, Koschel completed an Ironman triathlon despite having feeling in only one of her legs. But later that same year, tragedy again struck when she was hit by a car while training and broke her back.

"Kindness is universal, in infinite supply, and fundamental to how we need to operate on a global scale." - The Kindness Factory

Again, Koschel credits kindness to the healing process—even to being the thing that saved her life—after receiving an outpouring of love and support in person and via social media, from people she’d never met. That was when she launched The Kindness Factory, with the belief that , in infinite supply, and fundamental to how we need to operate on a global scale. Her organization focuses on working within communities, schools, and corporations to fund research, provide insight and coaching, and spread the mission. Today Koschel is a motivational speaker and mental health advocate.

[Also read: Human kindness isn't dead. And Leon Logothetis will prove it.]

Kindness is contagious

So inspired by the cause and mission, lifestyle brand and subscription box retailer FabFitFun chose The Kindness Factory as its 2018 winter charity partner. “While we love the holidays, we know it can also be a difficult time for some people. For our winter box, we were looking for a charity partner that we felt embodied the spirit of the season and also something to support our milestone of reaching one million members,” explained Katie Rosen Kitchens, FabFitFun co-founder & editor-in-chief. “We are all about inspiring happiness for our members, so Kath and The Kindness Factory’s mission of sharing acts of kindness really resonated with us and we felt this partnership was a no-brainer.”

To help The Kindness Factory reach its goal of one million acts of kindness, the company committed to carrying out and sharing acts of kindness by using the hashtags #onesmallact and #thanksamillion on Instagram, which also updates the kindness counter. The in-house team, eager to participate, began posting on their own personal Instagram accounts and encouraged members to do the same. Members can also elect to donate $20 directly to The Kindness Factory through FabFitFun’s website.

FabFitFun members are sharing acts of kindness by using the hashtags #onesmallact and #thanksamillion on Instagram.

The campaign is still active, but so far FabFitFun has helped log hundreds of acts of kindness and has raised over $35,000 for The Kindness Factory. The money raised will provide funding for “ongoing evidence-based school programs and the development of valuable research into kindness and its benefits to overall well being,” said Kitchens. The partnership has also had an impact internally. “In doing this, the FabFitFun team realized how appreciative they were of the kind things that people do for them and how great it feels to be able to do something kind for someone else.”

[Also read: For FabFitFun, subscriber growth means scaling up customer service]

Add your act of kindness

There’s something wonderful about quietly doing something for someone else, without needing anyone else to know. But often it takes an act of kindness to inspire another act of kindness, creating unexpected moments and gently shifting the trajectory of someone’s day, and maybe even their life. So, if The Kindness Factory has set out to log a million acts of kindnesses, what’s yours? Which act will you share?