Look Out for Guerrilla Generosity on London Streets
Envelopes containing a penny are meant to encourage random acts of thoughtfulness near and wide
Calling all Londoners—keep an eye out for the little pouches filled with lucky pennies that have been recently scattered around your city as part of a campaign promoting guerrilla generosity.
The project, called A Penny for Your Thoughts, involves 500 square envelopes sprinkled over London to spread good cheer and encourage small (and large) acts of kindness, according to Daianna Karaian, the founder and chief executive of Thoughtful, the combination magazine, studio and creative community that launched the project with the help of creative agency Unreal.
Judging from the positive social media interaction and feedback on the concept that Thoughtful has received, however, thousands of people have heard about the project, spotted the envelopes or crafted their own versions, Karaian said.
“We’re all about making it easy for people to leave things a little better than they found them,” Karaian said. “I’d been using #thisisthoughtful in social media to recognize examples of lifestyle and design changing things for the better, and Thoughtful’s audience had started doing the same. I wanted to turn these modest expressions of kindness and generosity into a bigger movement, and that’s where the idea came for spreading random acts of thoughtfulness.”
The envelopes each encourage their finder to pass on their good fortune, perhaps by scribbling a handwritten note inside or including a bit more extra change for someone in need.
“There’s a lovely analog element to the project, too,” Karaian said.
“Several stores and cafes collaborated with us to give them out to customers with their order or just leave them around the shop. When I went back to see what sort of response they’d had, many of the envelopes were hanging about on tables, generously filled with change and little messages expressing gratitude, or wishing people luck and happy holidays.”
On social media, participants have been sharing their experience finding a lucky penny by using the hashtag #thisisthoughtful, which Karaian said she hopes will become a “world-wide platform” for sharing acts of creativity and generosity.
So far, she said, Thoughtful has received feedback and participation on A Penny for Your Thoughts from places far outside London, including New York, Cape Town, Amsterdam and Toronto. The goal is to make it easy for anyone who’s eager to spread joy and goodwill to get in on the effort, she said.
“Like this one, all our projects will be ‘open sourced’ to allow anyone, anywhere to participate using just a printer, some paper and a little creativity,” Karaian said.