You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.
This sentiment guides Alex Sheen in his role as founder of “because i said i would,” a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the world through promises made and kept.
“We believe in the power of one to shape the world into a better place,” says Sheen, who addressed the 2019 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Following the death of his father—an “average man, far from perfect, who kept his word to me and my brother”—Sheen created “promise cards” that encourage people to make and keep promises that ultimately benefit the world.
“I kept coming back to one thought: The importance of a promise,” he says. “Because someday there is no tomorrow.”
Since 2004, his organization has distributed more than nine million promise cards to people in 153 countries.
“It doesn’t matter what language you speak or how much money you make, we all understand the power of a promise,” Sheen says, adding that people have used the cards in ways he never imagined, such as the 14-year-old girl who promised to make friends with kids sitting alone at school.
Or the girl fighting depression who contemplated suicide and promised to “not give up.” The girl happened to the daughter of his former boss.
“This isn’t about my father or me,” he says. “It’s about doing what you can with what you have.”
Sheen asked attendees to join his social movement. “The world will always need people who do what they say they’ll do. Promises we make and keep benefit this world. As nonprofits, we try to build solutions to the world’s problems.
“It’s always about you,” he adds. “My dad is gone forever, but you and I are still here. We were all born with the ability to make and keep a promise, no matter what our background. Contemplate what your promise might be.”
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