I remember when Prince died, people called into a radio station telling stories about his generosity and how it was contingent upon keeping it a secret. He probably made them sign contracts, he was so stubborn. I believe those stories. As a Prince fan, I’m well aware of his enforcement of secrecy at shows and parties. NO CAMERAS ALLOWED, EVER! If you got caught with a camera (or phone), you got thrown out and he kept your camera (or phone).
The marketer in me thinks this is a missed opportunity. These are the stories that build loyalty because they are authentic to the brand. It makes me wonder how different the public perception of him would’ve been if we knew more about his good deeds. Would more people have cared enough about him to ensure he was in good health?
The contrarian in me admired his commitment to secrecy. Remaining anonymous keeps the giver focused on the deed and eliminates a temptation to become the story. There is something powerful in that.
Do good deeds. Don’t get caught. I like this phrase. It’s simple and reminds me of my intentions. It also feels cool to make moves in secret, but the events of the last month have me rethinking that.
As the shutdown of the economy was beginning, I saw a surge in posts about how people were donating and spending in their communities. I had my own “a-ha” moment about shopping at a local bookstore, instead of the chain store that I was used to. I felt like a dummy because I already prioritize my spending with small businesses, how did I miss the bookstore? l was influenced, and diverted my book purchases to the local store. Since I was influenced, I thought I would try influencing.
So, I posted about where I donated and how I spent with small businesses during that first week of the shutdown. Sharing my spending amplified a feeling of relief. A quick fix to the anxiety I had thinking about the unknown impact to my lovely city and her unique offerings. If I’m being honest, simply donating and spending made me feel just fine too. I’m unsure which had the biggest impact.
Do good deeds. Don’t get caught. It’s a good mantra, something I aspire to. As I reflect on it, I think it’s about finding a balance between sharing and not sharing and being clear about my intentions around the share. The true value of giving is in the act itself. Telling people about it, hopefully inspires them to lend a hand, but more importantly…it inspires them to act so they can experience how great it feels to help other people.
I’m curious, are you public about your kindness, or do you keep it to yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments.