Did you help someone this year? According to new research, you probably did. And even if your gesture was small, it likely made a powerful difference.
In a new survey, 90 percent of people reported taking action to support others this year, according to data released by OptionB.org, a nonprofit organization that promotes resiliency founded by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.
As part of the organization's annual #OptionBThere for the holidays initiative, the nonprofit, in partnership with Survey Monkey, asked 2,050 adults about their experiences in 2020. The survey found that adults of all ages helped each other in unprecedented ways this year.
- 90 percent of those surveyed said they supported others by doing things like texting, calling, sending a care package, helping with errands or chores, or simply acknowledging someone's struggles and validating their feelings.
- 62 percent said they gave more of this type of support to others than they had in previous years.
- 80 percent said they received support from someone this year—and many said the kindness came from people they hadn't expected.
While people may assume that only big gestures get noticed, the survey showed that even small acts of kindness were meaningful. “We often think that we need to show up in big ways, and that prevents us sometimes from taking action,” says Rachel Thomas, CEO of OptionB.org and its sister nonprofit, LeanIn.org, both founded by Sandberg. The survey also found:
- 39 percent said the most meaningful thing someone could do is just reach out to say “I'm thinking of you."
- 30 percent said it's especially meaningful when someone texts or calls regularly.
- 24 percent said that just having someone acknowledge their struggles or validate their feelings is really helpful.