One good deed leads to another. Can it lead to a thousand good deeds?
Good Money is a project that stamps $1 and $5 bills with the words "This Money Has Been Used for Good." The hope is that when someone comes into contact with it, they'll be encouraged to help someone out--maybe by buying them cup of coffee or a sandwich.
The idea comes from David Gaz, a filmmaker who became interested in the idea of kindness-as-a-virus three years ago. He read a book by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, which shows how doing something nice for one person can set off a chain of four further acts, and he's been putting theory into practice ever since. He made a film called "Kindness Is Contagious," toured the country to give talks about kindness, and started projects like Good Money.
"My wife told me that she thought my work was becoming dark and cynical and suggested I try something positive," he explains. "Half joking, I said 'Sure, I'm going to make a movie all about being nice.' But a few weeks later, I came across the work of James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, and how they scientifically had proved that kindness was contagious, and I thought that it would make a great subject for a documentary film."
You can buy the stamp at the website, or simply write in your own letters. It doesn't really matter which. All Gaz asks is that people then send in the serial number, so he can map and track the effect. "If people start seeing that the project has legs, then in theory more people will start doing it and in some small way it will make a difference," he says.
So far, two dozen people are stamping, and the money has gone mostly to help the homeless. Gaz would like to find a sponsor for the stamps, so he doesn't have to sell them. "I will give away stamps to people who email in. Ultimately though I'd like to give them away for free to everyone," he says.