Weekend Highlights

Published November 12, 2013
Health & Development

5 Easy Ways to Give Back

by Natalie Angelillo, CEO and founder of SwopBoard.com

Giving back is intoxicating. No, really. Science has proven that those “fuzzy feelings” associated with giving is actually a chemical reaction in our brain. The National Institutes of Health found that giving to charities activates regions of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Scientists also believe that altruistic behavior releases endorphins (ever heard of “helper’s high?”).

Giving back just feels good. And it is a major motivating force in our daily lives. For example, I created SwopBoard.com, an online marketplace where people can buy and sell, with a portion of each sale going toward a school. The minimum donation is 10 percent, but users can customize the amount for each item. 

We’ve found that items with higher donation amounts (like 80 percent to 100 percent) sell the fastest. And, the average user will donate 42 percent of the sale price to a school. They are choosing to donate more – giving back to their community is the selling point.

National Philanthropy Day on Friday, Nov. 15 celebrates people who invest their time and talents to make the world a better place. Families can do this each and every day – whether it’s by selling once-loved toys to benefit your school or by sharing your time and talents with the community.

Need some more ideas? Here are five simple things you and your kids can do together to jumpstart the positive giving glow:

  • Were you a high school math genius? Or writing whiz? Share your talents and tutor students after school.
  • Start a new family tradition during the holiday season. Donate a turkey to a local food bank or help distribute hot meals.
  • Snail mail will always put a smile on someone’s face. Have your child make a greeting card to send to ill children who need cheering up with Hugs and Hope
  • Lend a hand to a neighbor. Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean gutters or wash windows for a senior citizen.
  • Do you have shelves of books you or your kids no longer read? Donate them to a library to share your favorite stories.

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Read Seattle's Child's story Doing Good: Where Kids and Families Can Volunteer for a host of ideas on how your family can help out in the community.