SwapServe.com Puts a Fun Twist on Volunteering

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SwapServe.com is a new website where people can sign up to volunteer with local non-profits and get free stuff from local businesses as a thank you.

In SwapServe’s first official event on July 20th, volunteers will help staff a fun run in support of Hands to Hearts International, a global non-profit based in Portland. Every volunteer who gives two hours will receive a ticket good for food on the house at Bella Faccia Pizzeria, Killer Burger, or Pastini Pastaria. There is no cost to volunteer through the site and anyone can sign up to help by simply visiting SwapServe.com.

The company’s founder, Derek Keepers, is a Southern California high school teacher who never expected to become an internet entrepreneur. Over two years ago, Derek and his wife began donating chocolate cakes to a local meal for the hungry. A local restaurateur who ran the project insisted on thanking Derek and his wife with a complementary breakfast at her restaurant. From this experience, the idea for SwapServe was born.

SwapServe is also free for non-profits to use. It is an easy way for them to gather volunteers for any upcoming project. Non-profits simply create an account and post all of the details of a volunteer project on the site. SwapServe then automatically breaks that project down into individual shifts, pairs each shift with an item pledged by a local business, and promotes these shifts to volunteers. The purpose is to take the hard work of volunteer-gathering off the shoulders of non-profits so that they may focus on other priorities.

Business owners can also use SwapServe to advertise in a socially-conscious way. For a small fee, local businesses can pledge items that will be given to local volunteers as a thank you for their service. After each service project, volunteers will be given tickets that can be redeemed at these businesses for the reward items.

SwapServe chose to launch in Portland because of its reputation as a socially-engaged city. The site eventually plans to expand to other cities, with the ultimate goal of offering volunteer opportunities nationally.

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