The Boomerang Cycle: A Book Spotlight From the Bolt Brothers

BoomerangIn doing good, sometimes we receive so much more than we ever anticipate. Check out this guest post by entrepreneur, Chandler Bolt, and his brother Seth Bolt (from the band NEEDTOBREATHE) on their new book. We’re excited to share their story with you…

The South Carolina heat is oppressive in the summer, when the porch flies cling to sugary glasses of ice tea and women fan themselves on Sunday mornings with their folded church bulletins. We were raised there, kids of hardworking parents who never had much to give except for love, devotion, and an unending supply of encouragement to make something of ourselves. Our parents didn’t have much, but what they gave us was worth more than any fancy house we could’ve grown up in. We learned skills early on that we use to this day, instilling in us a roadmap that has led us both to where we are today.

Through faith, determination, and perseverance, we have been able to do things we never dreamed of back when we were kids. We are a successful businessman and a talented musician. We get paid to do what we love and there is no greater joy than that. How did we do it? We gave, and received far more than we ever could’ve asked for. Continue reading

It’s Not Every Day You Get to Save a Five-Year-Old’s Life

Hudson and ConfidenceBusiness leaders are increasingly faced with the difficulty of providing employees with more meaning at work. Whether its Gen Y workers or Millennials driving change at your work place, nearly all of us desire more meaning in our daily tasks. For Don Fornes, CEO of Austin-based tech company, Software Advice, addressing this concern for his 100 employees came in the opportunity of saving a five-year-old’s life.

After reading a New York Times article about engaging employees via corporate giving and volunteerism, Fornes joined forces with HeartGift Austin, which brings children from developing countries who suffer from congenital heart defects to the United States so they can undergo life-saving surgeries that are unavailable in their homeland.  The children are placed with a host family for the six-week duration of their stay, and are returned home when they have fully recovered. Dan and his employees found their purpose in the form of Confidence: a five-year-old girl from Benin City, Nigeria who needed life-saving heart surgery. Continue reading

Hybrid vs Electric Cars: Going GREEN This Holiday Season

Purchasing a new car around the holidays as a gift for yourself or loved one is not uncommon. A giant red bow on the hood is standard and usual practice is to lead your unsuspecting recipient to the garage where you reveal the ultimate holiday surprise! This season there’s no shortage of vehicle incentives but as fuel costs increase, hybrid and electric vehicles are growing more attractive. With New Years upon us, here are some key considerations as we make 2014 a “greener” year. Continue reading

Thanksgiving Reflections 2013

happy-thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here! This time of year is synonymous with turkey, spending quality time with friends and family, and pausing to reflect on the things for which we are thankful.

From the AltruHelp team, we would like to pause and give thanks to our community, supporters, and all those who have shared in our journey.  We are humbled by those who continue to support our mission of increasing volunteerism! Thank you for using AltruHelp to find new meaningful ways to give back, share your act of kindness with the world,  and inspire others to help us create a lasting culture of service. Together we can strengthen our communities to make a difference!

Interested in creating positive change this Thanksgiving? Here are a few ways to show thanks by giving back:

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When Natural Disaster Strikes – How Can YOU Help?

It’s no secret that natural disasters pull at our heart strings. Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the recent tornado in Washington, Illinois not only took people’s lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless but they unraveled communities, families, and hope. Yet with all the media coverage around the world when natural disaster strikes, sometimes one question remains unanswered, “How can we help?


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5 Innovative Ideas To Make A Difference While Going Green

Green Altruism: AltruHelp Green Ideas for Giving BackThe average person already knows the little things they can do each day to save the planet: recycle, unplug appliances when they’re not in use, change to energy efficient light bulbs. Only the diehard green guru typically delves deeper to come up with ways to lower their carbon footprint while also giving back. Here are five easy ways to make a difference while going green:

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10 Great Charity Reads – Authors & Books That Give Back

From first-time writers to New York Times best sellers, authors like Elton John and J.K. Rowling have chosen to use their craft for the greater good, giving proceeds to such charities as The National Parks Foundation, Inspiration Kitchen, and Comic Relief. Next time your looking for a good book, grab one of these ten great reads and feel good about your contribution to some worthy causes.  Continue reading

Experience Volunteering in Africa – Building A Habitat For Humanity

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At AltruHelp, we encourage our team to practice what we preach and get involved in local communities as well as projects around the globe. From August 31 to September 13, one of our team members, Paige Herlihy, had the opportunity to travel to Humjibre, Ghana and help build houses with the Ghana affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Below, from the eyes of Paige, is her story.

AltruHelp in Ghana

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Inspiring Innovation: Social Good Hackathons

Social Good Hackathon

What do you get when you bring together brilliant people that love to write computer code and program for 24 hours with a common goal of doing good? Well, a Social Hackathon of course!

This Spring, StartLabs brought together nine teams at the Cambridge Innovation Center to create the most socially beneficial, impressively designed, and well implemented websites and applications. StartLabs recruited innovative leaders from the “Social Impact” Space including Mozilla “FireFox” Foundation, AltruHelp.com, RedStar Ventures and Fundraise.com to mentor the participants, providing the newly formed teams with structure & vision in the brainstorming of product development. Continue reading

A Culture of Philanthropy: 10 Tips to Ensure Your Organization Creates Social IMPACT

AltruHelp - Corporate Philanthropy

During this climate of economic uncertainty, on the forefront of most working professionals, business leaders and entrepreneurs is financial stability and profit. Because of this, a crucial aspect of business success can easily be overlooked: philanthropy. It is no mere accident that many of the greatest business leaders were revered as much for their business sense as their philanthropic endeavors. The Carnegie and Rockefeller names are as much associated with successful business achievements as they are philanthropic milestones.

Corporate philanthropy has the power to increase the esteem and reputation of your business in the eyes of the public, instantly improving your community profile and brand. A recent Cone Corporate Citizenship Study showed that 86% of Americans  are apt to switch to another brand from competitors of equal price & quality if that brand shows a partnership or association with a social cause.  Continue reading

Green Action: EarthFest & Earth Day

Earthfest

With all the talk about going green and building a sustainable planet, its easy to miss some of the awesome action individuals and organizations are taking to make the world a better place. This past weekend, Radio 92.9 & Whole Foods Market teamed up to present EarthFest with musical performances from Third Eye Blind, Switchfoot, Eve 6, Spin Doctors and local Boston artist Twin Berlin. Thousands of people came out to hear some great live music while meeting environmental non-profits from across the country, tasting free samples from Whole Foods companies that focus our attention on being green, and experiencing Kids’ Planet – an interactive family area with environmentally focused learning, volunteer opportunities, and exhibits for children.

In addition to EarthFest, only a few short weeks ago more than 175 countries celebrated Earth Day where volunteer events were held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the earth’s natural environment.  Did you know Earth Day was designated to be held on April 22 in 2009 by the United Nations??? Continue reading

The Benefits of Volunteering – National Volunteer Week 2012

AltruHelp - National Volunteer Week: The Benefits of Volunteering

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to give back. It’s about working together to take action, encouraging individuals and their communities to be a catalyst for social change. This week (April 15 – April 21, 2012) is a time to celebrate volunteers and share ideas, practices, and stories – wherever they happen – that help shape social impact!

Volunteering is more than just a great way to help out in the community. Here we’ve outlined six benefits of volunteering that are sure to get you pumped about giving back!

1.) It can help you professionally. Volunteering improves your chances of nabbing a great job! Organizations want to hire people who can help them inspire a culture of giving back. In an article published by World Volunteer Web, a survey from TimeBank showed that 73% of employers will recruit someone with volunteer experience over someone who doesn’t have any.  Taking time to volunteer shows companies you are a person of initiative that spends your time caring for others & improving the community. Continue reading

How Corporate Volunteer Programs Help Your Business

Corporate Volunteer Program Benefits

A recent announcement by the Corporation for National and Community Service revealed that 582,000 Americans applied during the past year to serve in the AmeriCorps – an increase of almost 10 percent or 50,000 applications on the previous year. The Corps, however, has turned away close to one million potential volunteers since 2009 due to a lack of funding, and those people are looking for somewhere else to volunteer. A corporate volunteer program (CVP) offers multiple benefits to your company and employees, as well as the causes they take up.

Corporate Citizenship

Corporate America is catching on to the value of establishing CVPs, with almost one-third of corporations now offering some form of volunteerism for their staff – a growth of 150 percent over the past two decades. Continue reading

Want to Improve Your Health & Get Some Sleep, Try Altruism!

Sleep Better from Altruism

You first heard the idea in kindergarten: Share your toys. Later on, you were taught, “do unto others.”  And as an adult, you may have gotten the advice that the best way to feel better about yourself is to help the less fortunate.

No matter how you got the message, the concept of altruism is one that is ingrained (or should be) in our collective social conscience. Not only because acts of altruism benefit society as a whole but because, darn it, it just feels right!

So volunteering and giving feel good. But is altruism actually good for your health? The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science tackled that question in 2009 and came to the conclusion that …it is.  Continue reading

A BILLION+CHANGE: Companies Pledge To Commit BILLION$ To Skill-Based Volunteering

On International Corporate Philanthropy Day, this past Monday, AltruHelp joined more than 100 leaders in business, policy and civic engagement in New York City to celebrate the continuing success of A Billion + Change, a national campaign to mobilize billions of dollars of pro bono and skills-based volunteer service from corporate America by 2013.  Since the summer of 2011, more than $1.6 billion of skills-based volunteer services has been contributed and 78 pledge companies have joined the movement. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the campaign’s honorary chairman, announced this as part of a program hosted by Morgan Stanley at the company’s headquarters in NYC. The event recognized the innovative pro bono programs companies are developing to deliver high-impact services to address community needs.

A Billion + Change, housed and managed by Points of Light, is seeking 500 companies willing to pledge their best business skills and talents to serve the needs of nonprofits and communities at home and around the world. The campaign’s vision is to inspire the largest commitment of corporate pro bono service in history. A Billion + Change is encouraging companies of all sizes across all sectors to achieve this kind of change. Pledge companies range in size from small businesses, like gothamCulture and AltruHelp, to large companies such as Nielsen, General Mills, Boston Beer Company, State Farm, Hewlett-Packard, UnitedHealth Group and Morgan Stanley. To date, these companies have committed to give more than 11 million hours of time and talent to nonprofits by 2013. Continue reading

Do You Have a Touch of Social Entrepreneurship in You?

altruhelp social entrepreneurship

The term “social entrepreneurship” is becoming a HOT topic in the startup community and on University campuses. The concept is increasingly promoted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and leading social sector organizations like the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka. There is something truly fascinating about notable social entrepreneurs like Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus. However, social entrepreneurship is not just about extraordinary individuals creating brilliant ideas for products or services that help the world. For many growing thought leaders and Millennials, it’s about the dedication to social change and the potential benefits that transform society!

Social entrepreneurship relies on being driven by the needs you see around you.  In your corner of the world, you see a breakdown and think to yourself, “I could do something to help…”And you’re not alone.  Everywhere, empathetic people of the world are concerned with giving what they can to others in need.  They’re dedicated to commanding their resources to address various issues…. and make money while doing it!

Chances are likely you already have an idea or two in your mind.  Here are 5 key pieces of research the AltruHelp team has put together for you to consider while you brainstorm or work towards the success of your venture in social entrepreneurship: Continue reading

Measuring the IMPACT of Networking on Charity

With the recent surge in corporate social responsibility and startups supporting the charity scene – a trend that became more visible at the Social Good 2.0 conference two months ago– AltruHelp has partnered with multiple nonprofits in the community (Animal Rescue League of Boston, Playworks Metro Boston, American Red Cross and more) to pioneer “IMPACT Networking For Charity,” a fun series of speed-fundraising, volunteering & networking events aimed at increasing Millenial volunteerism and community IMPACT.

On January 26th AltruHelp hosted it’s first Winter Impact networking event to kick off a new year of social impact!  Borrowing a page from speed dating, we matched professionals and college students with various speed-volunteer/fundraising stations enabling them to support multiple nonprofits in one night, under one roof, while forming meaningful career connections!

AltruHelp Winter IMPACT Networking at MassChallenge

Over the course of just 2 hours, 100+ local Bostonians generated some awesome IMPACT for the nonprofit community:

AltruHelp Winter Impact NetworkingWhat’s more, the event also raised more than $2000 for Charity! Think of it this way: while attendees were sipping on ice cold Narragansett Tallboys, eating tasty Boloco Burritos/Panera sandwiches, and expanding their professional networking connections, they created more good for the greater community on a Thursday night than the average person does in a year! If that doesn’t deserve kudos, we’re not sure what does!  Continue reading

Volunteering INCREASES Employment: Meet Scott Bailey of MassChallenge

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Scott Bailey

During these difficult economic times the job search process can be challenging but what if you tried something new? Instead of spending each day applying to jobs online, submitting your resume to Monster.com, Craigslist, Careerbuilder and more, why not try a few days of volunteering? Sounds crazy right??? New case studies show that taking time to give back will expand your network, enhance your character, and potentially lead to full-time career opportunities! This post marks the first in a series of interviews we’ve conducted with successful individuals who have obtained AWESOME Jobs, expanded their network, and increased their personal development by volunteering!

Meet Scott Bailey. Scott knows the key to success, and it’s not based on the money you make.  “It’s a weird thing,” he says.  “Right out of college, people think you need a job that really pays.”As a recent college graduate I certainly questioned this philosophy; isn’t a well-paying job the goal of a degree?  After sitting down to talk with Bailey, the Director of Partnerships at MassChallenge, it seems he had the right attitude as he set forth into the professional world.  Continue reading

Program Spotlight: Trekkers

AltruHelp Program Spotlight: TrekkersIt is well known that one of the greatest keys to success is positive mentorship. During our formative years, we find ourselves deeply influenced by the words and actions of our parents, teachers, community leaders and various others who touch our lives each day. Often though, it can be difficult for young people—especially during their early teen years—to place themselves in positions where great mentors are not only available but relying on positive influence and self-reflection is made the cornerstone of everyday life.

Trekkers, a non-profit based in Tenant’s Harbor, Maine, is an organization that brings the shaping of positive, altruistic personalities to the forefront of kids lives starting in the seventh grade. Continue reading

Cradles To Crayons: AltruHelp Visits the Giving Factory

This past Saturday morning, the AltruHelp team joined dozens of professional groups, families, and individuals at the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory in Brighton, MA.  This nonprofit organization works year-round to provide children up to twelve years old with many of the necessities we often take for granted, such as clean, presentable clothing; school supplies not typically provided in the classroom; new or gently used toys; and other goods that add to the key senses of happiness and security in a child’s life.

During our time at Cradles to Crayons, all volunteers split into small teams and worked together to build winter clothing packages for children in need.  The AltruHelp team Continue reading

Social Good 2.0

Social Good 2.0Boston, MA, is best known for it’s rich history, but in recent years this New England city has become a hot spot for technological advances and innovative minds.  Academic research, clean energy, and health care are some of the most prevalent fields of business here, but beyond these powerful industries is a buzzing (and buzzed-about) progressive startup community that’s causing a stir out of positivity and new media advancements.

One of the strongest branches of this young community is an added element of social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and altruism never so clearly seen before in the tech world.  New technology has innovated processes in the nonprofit community Continue reading

Turning The Gears of Social Innovation: AltruHelp Partners With Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and AltruHelp PartnershipBOSTON, MA and CAMBRIDGE, MA — AltruHelp, a social media platform, toolbox and online community to support volunteering and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), has announced a partnership with the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The Cambridge Chamber will use the AltruHelp platform to measure enterprise involvement in the local community.

The goal of the partnership is to create a more detailed report of enterprise social impact in the Cambridge community than has ever been created before. Previous Chamber reports have highlighted the philanthropic initiatives of companies with local offices like MicrosoftLiberty Mutual, Novartis, Biogen Idec and more.

“Citizens today are much more interested in how companies are giving back to their community and aware that CSR can provide profound impact,” said Kelly Thompson Clark, president & CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. “Sometimes this impact is difficult to capture, track, and showcase. By working with AltruHelp, the CCC will be able to produce a report for the City of Cambridge and our own efforts that will highlight company involvement in community programs and set the stage for a larger scale inventory of the Cambridge business community.” Continue reading

Saving the World: Acting Local, Thinking Global

It’s not hard to believe that the ever-growing world population is close to reaching 7 billion people this year. What’s truly surprising, though, is that after experiencing advances in technology coupled with the staggering pace of development in the way we communicate, global social issues such as: health, agriculture, AIDS, and democracy, among others, would appear to have been left in the wake of progress.

So I wondered: Where does the disconnect between humans, technology and social responsibility lie? Could it be that when it comes to addressing social issues, a global solution has thwarted us from acting locally?  In looking for the answer,  I first thought of my personal approach in helping solve world problems:

I was truly committed, and felt responsible as an individual to get involved and save the world, but: Where and how to start? I tried donating money to organizations in other countries; still, deep inside I knew I could do much more. I discovered that having global perspective on social issues triggered something within me, but I concluded that thinking global yet acting local, would allow me to get hands-on and achieve REAL impact. Turns out I wasn’t alone…

 Young people (Gen Y’ers), those under the age of 25 who represent  nearly half of the world’s population (almost three billion people) are creating tremendous IMPACT. Continue reading

The Three Degrees of Altruism – Volunteer Social Networking

volunteer social-networkHave you ever wondered if social networking promotes cooperative behavior?  The nature of human social networking—our ability to connect deeply and instantaneously with friends, family, and other individuals—would seem to suggest that social networking can foster cooperation with others. Until recently, there was no scientific proof that social networking itself leads to altruistic cooperation. If one person helps another, could a third party be influenced simply by participating in the same network?

In an attempt to answer this question, Fowler and Christakis (2009) researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego designed an experiment (n=240) to test whether people really do “pay it forward,” or pass along altruistic behavior through indirect, “networked” interaction (Experiment Details).

The results of the experiment suggest—objectively—that cooperative, altruistic behavior can spread as far as three degrees within a social network (from person to person to person). In other words, by helping others, we can create a “cascade” of altruistic behavior! Volunteer Social Network

Because each “degree” in a social network represents exponential growth, helping your friend could trigger a wave of altruistic behavior in hundreds or even thousands of people!

Does this research make you think differently about the impact of your altruistic actions?

Check out AltruHelp.com to trigger your own volunteer network.


3 Movies That Inspire Altruism! What Inspires YOU?

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Patch adams with Robin Williams

I consider human satisfaction a metric of success. In life, your outlook has a major impact on how you interact with the world. Seeing the glass as half-full and not half-empty can turn your day around—works for me all the time.  When dealing with my day-to-day life, having a positive attitude helps me get through many situations while achieving the results I want.

Feeling positive and confident not only effects how you experience the world around you, but also improves your ability to connect and form relationships with others.  Of course, it’s part of our human nature to experience a plethora of negative emotions. The question then becomes: how do you let those emotions effect you?

All of our actions and reactions are interconnected. It’s rare to see people at work—or even friends—stick around when we are continually radiating negative energy. Realizing the powerful impact that mood and mindset can have, I came up with a fun way to get inspired: feel-good movies.  Below I have compiled a list of 3 AMAZING movies that moved my spirit in a meaningful and enduring way: Continue reading

Forbes & AltrUHelp Collaborate on Coverage of 2011 National Volunteer Conference

Last week thousands of non-profits, volunteers, and corporate executives gathered at the 2011 National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS) in New Orleans to discuss innovative solutions for addressing the challenges of the social IMPACT sector.

The Co-Founders of AltrUHelp were on site to cover the event for Forbes and spotlight pockets of social entrepreneurship (To see the Forbes article: Click here). Organized by the Corporation for National & Community Service and the Points of Light Institute, more than 4000 attendees came together to explore this budding space.

Discussion topics ranged from Bringing Community Organizing into Online Campaigns to seminars like Does Your Employee Volunteer Program Measure Up? A seminar led by a community engagement leader from Timberland focused on developing reporting standards for corporations to measure the impact of CSR activities. Leaders from Citizen Schools, Heart of America, Fidelity Investments, and Capital One also lead an intriguing workshop titled Building a Sustainable and Results Oriented Volunteer Movement Within Your Company.

I was able to sit down with Kelly Fisher, Assistant Manager of Philanthropy for Toyota Motor North America, who walked us through one of Toyota’s current CSR programs, “100 Cars for Good.” Read More

AltrUHelp Selected Finalist in 2011 Global Startup Competition

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MassChallenge is the world’s largest $1 million startup competition & accelerator program that connects early stage entrepreneurs to the resources they need to launch high-growth, high-impact businesses.

Last week MassChallenge joined by Governor Deval Patrick and business leaders, announced AltrUHelp as a FINALIST in the world’s largest start-up competition. Hundreds of expert judges from the startup ecosystem (CEO’s, lawyers, VC’s, angel investors & more) selected 125 finalists after several rounds of judging on 733 original startup entry applications from around the globe (24 countries).

The finalists range from high-tech and life science business to social impact ventures like AltrUHelp. The finalist companies represent 19 states and five countries, including Kenya and South Korea. According to MassChallenge, last year’s finalists from the 2010 competition have raised more than $30 million in funding and hired over 300 new employees. Read More

Lights, Cameras, ACTION: Celebs Taking Altruism to Heart

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Writing checks, headlining the occasional soiree, a photo-op with some charity – These are the common images which come to mind when people think of celebrities and altruism.  With their otherworldly lives, good looks, and sheer fame, can we expect celebrities to empathize, to really get it, when all the rest has gotten to their heads?

Actually, there are many celebrities out there who do!!!  In fact, a roll call of A-listers are putting their energies and passion toward an amazing breadth of causes. For a dose of true celebrity star power, check out this brief list of celebs: Lady Gaga, Brad & Angelina, Mark Wahlberg, and Prince William & Princess Kate to see the dynamic work they are doing for causes they value.

Lady Gaga

Few celebrities combine fashionista, musical talent, global reach and Twitterati quite like Lady Gaga.  Just 25 years old, she’s already a 5-time Grammy award winner, the holder of two Guinness World Records, and She’s closing in on 10 million followers on Twitter @ladygaga – more than any other twitting being on Earth.  With every red carpet cameo, she upends the fashion world with her avant garde ensembles and slightly absurd sensibilities. Lady G is the quintessential 21st century celeb, and with that comes extraordinary altruistic clout!

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Selfless Therapy Part II: Sharing as Giving – A Prisoner’s Perspective

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AltrUHelp

This marks the second post in AltrUHelp’s new series of guest blog posts from industry professionals.  Jordan Nacht is a Mental Health Counselor from New York and a thought leader on the topic of altruism in the therapy arena.

As a mental health counselor who works with parolees, probation and pre-trial clients, I’ve heard countless anecdotes of the horrors of prison life.  As it is with most daunting experiences, there are points of happiness and growth in these perceivably “dark” experiences.  I make it a point to assume a nonjudgmental and unconditionally positive stance toward my clients (which is utterly necessary for any therapist). To do so, I search for these shining lights—redeeming, uplifting moments—however bright or dim.

I often ask my clients a particular question regarding their time in prison: “How did you keep your sanity,” or more pointedly, “how did you maintain the goodness I see inside you while stuck in such a ‘bad’ environment?”  This question can elicit such emotion that clients decline to answer–in which case I revisit the question once a more trusting relationship has been established.  Oftentimes, though, a response comes forth immediately. It never fails to relate to altruism.  In this piece, I will depict some of these experiences, those through which incarcerated persons maintain their humanity. Read More

Altruism: The Helper’s High

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*Welcome to Part II of The Science Behind Altruism, our series of posts exploring the new scientific discoveries surrounding altruism.

“When I do good, I feel good.” – Abraham Lincoln

Leave it to Honest Abe, who provided America such oratorical masterpieces as the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural, to sum up altruism in seven simple words.  Plain yet spot-on, what Lincoln described is the core experience of being altruistic: that doing good for others really provides us an unmatched feeling of well-being, simply from knowing we helped another person.

Psychologists call it the “Helper’s High.”  But here at AltruHelp we know it’s more than that.  Why?  Because of the flurry of cutting edge research that is bringing new understanding to how and why this sensation of “feeling good” happens, and the possibilities ahead for recognizing the contributions of altruism to our health and happiness.

Thanks to advances in brain-imaging technology and the advent of neuroeconomics, a new field that applies neuroscience to study economic behavior, scientists have designed several experiments that actually trace altruism—and the pleasure we gain from it—to specific regions and systems in the brain.  In fact, two studies offer striking evidence that our brains are naturally wired to help us be altruistic.  Read More

Tap Your Inner Child: The Science Behind Altruism

Do humans have an innate desire to help others without expecting anything in return? It’s a simple question that has tested the wits of scientists and philosophers across millennia, including the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Rousseau, Hobbes and Darwin. Now it’s AltruHelp’s turn to weigh in on this perennial question.

Today’s post marks the start of a three-part series examining the emerging research on how humans are naturally altruistic—i.e. how we are innately composed via our brains, genes and neurons to help others selflessly. By looking at recent experiments conducted at leading institutions such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the German-based Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, as well as articles from prominent science and psychology journals, our goal is to shed light on the cognitive, genetic and neurochemical processes that likely combine to make altruism an innate human behavior.

One of the most fascinating areas of research focuses on whether young children have a natural (versus a learned or socialized) willingness to be altruistic. Read More

How Altruistic Are YOU?

AltruHelp
Have you ever wondered why helping someone feels good?  Or why you feel that psychological urge to help somebody even when you aren’t expected to?

Take a moment and think back to an instance when you helped someone and expected nothing in return.  Maybe it was giving directions and information to someone who was lost, or giving up your seat on a bus or train, or lending a hand to someone who was clearly in need.  Remember that brief positive energy you felt after?

What explains this impulse to behave altruistically, and the positive sensation we feel afterward?  Is altruism hard-wired into our brains, a function of morality, or just a way to satisfy our egos by validating that we’re a “good” person?  Is it a learned behavior driven by social mores, karma, or a reflexive process linked to genetics and evolution?

Here at AltrUHelp, we want to explore and inspire altruism – both inside the human mind and in our everyday lives. Read More

Live in an Apartment? Urban Tips For Going Green

Installing solar panels and putting in large organic gardens are great ways to decrease your carbon footprint, but they’re not very practical if you live in an apartment. Renting someone else’s property means you can’t make any major changes in your home, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up living a green lifestyle. You can reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of changing your building, change your behavior to make a small but strong impact in your neighborhood.

Green living

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What Can We Learn From America’s Most Civic Companies?

In 2012, The Civic 50’s inaugural year, Bloomberg LP in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and Points of Light came together to implement a “scorecard” ranking of America’s top civic businesses based on their community impact as well as their ability to use the time and talent of their employees toward their service goals.  These top 50 companies are purpose driven, conscious of their impact on the world, and focus on shared human value, not just shared economic value. So what can entrepreneurs, businesses leaders, and even individuals learn from these changemakers? Here are seven key insights:

Civic 50

  1. Use Industry Expertise to Galvanize Impact

IBM, the top-ranking business on The Civic 50 list, dedicated 3.2 million hours of service in 2011 alone to technology-related causes. The company helped launch P-Tech, a public high school in Brooklyn where students can earn an associates degree in computer science. They also developed the world’s first World Community Grid, a global grid that pools unused computer processing power for the benefit of researchers looking to solve humanitarian problems.

FedEx took similar action by providing improved transportation to Direct Relief, an organization that provides medical assistance to people around the world who have been affected by poverty, natural disasters, and civil unrest. Together, FedEx and Direct Relief helped people in disaster areas gain access to emergency medicine.  Continue reading here or on Forbes.com Continue reading

Celebrate Earth Day

StonyFeild Earth Day 5K

The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe…it all comes from nature. This Earth Day, join people around the world in a global celebration of our planet and the bounty it provides. The first Earth Day in 1970 was instrumental in mobilizing public support across the country for passage of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other key environmental initiatives!

Join us Saturday, April 20th, to support Earth Day with Stonyfield Yogurt Works’ annual Earth Day 5K Celebration. Stonyfield, the world’s leading organic yogurt maker, has organized this family-friendly event and annual run to include giveaways, costumed characters, and more!  At the AltruHelp Social Impact tent, visitors can sign up to see real-time local volunteer opportunities and amplify their impact via our ipad station. You can also join our upcycling volunteer project as we turn plastic water bottles and yogurt cups into planters, bird feeders, and blocks.  We’ll be donating $1 for everyone that signs up for volunteering at our station to support victims of the Boston Marathon Tragedy. The first 100 people will also be able to win free car washes from our eco-friendly partner, ScrubaDub, and Social Impact t-shirts while they last! Proceeds from the Earth Day 5K will benefit the Life Is Good Kids Foundation, New Hampshire’s Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program, and scholarships for Londonderry High School students. Continue reading

Civic Leader Inspires National Service

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When one thinks of dedication to service and inspiration, few individuals epitomize these attributes in the same way as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As a father, scholar, pioneer, and civic activist, King served as a role model to countless Americans.  King spread hope and the creed that doing what is right is at the core of strengthening our communities and advancing our nation.  It’s no surprise, that only a few weeks ago, this civic leader was honored across the nation by millions with a National Day of Service.

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Points of Light, the largest national nonprofit dedicated to increasing volunteerism, mobilized people across the nation to transform veteran’s homes in Phoenix, complete school makeovers in Los Angeles, repair communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy in New York and more. Their signature event was in Washington DC, the largest single-site service project of the inaugural weekend, which was made possible by Target, as they give 5% of their profit and thousands of volunteer hours to communities every day! Continue reading

Organic Companies: Balancing Sustainability & Trust

organic food stampDid you know buying organic food can strengthen sustainability initiatives and boost community impact? However, in a day and age where nearly every brand on supermarket shelves is owned by one of a dozen mega conglomerates, we often wonder which organic companies can we really trust?

Many large conglomerates, have bought up organic food and drink companies, like Odwalla and Honest Tea, continuing to market the product without any mention of their involvement. Why does this matter?

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Summer IMPACT Networking For Charity

AIN Summer 2012 Impact Report

On July 10th AltruHelp hosted the second annual IMPACT Networking Event For Charity at the Microsoft N.E.R.D. Center in Cambridge, MA. Over 100 philanthropic Bostonians came together to enjoy a fun evening of speed-volunteering and networking to support the local non-profit community and increasing Millenial (ages 16-29) volunteersim. The attendees ranged from college and graduate students to accountants, lawyers, entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders and more. Continue reading

AltruHelp’s Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving is here, and for some, this time of year cannot come soon enough!  Turkey, quality time with family and other loved ones, rest and relaxation are just a few of the ways one can enjoy the holidays.

Along with food and happy memories, this time of year also serves as a great pause from the daily hubbub to reflect on the things for which we are thankful.  What are you thankful for?

From the AltruHelp team, we would like to pause and give thanks to our blog readers.  We are humbled by those who continue to show us their support by viewing and sharing our content with others, posting comments, or writing to us directly.  Together we can inspire altruism and amplify our social impact!

Here are three simple idea on ways that you can show thanks by giving back: Continue reading

AltruHelp’s Halloween Volunteer Adventure

http://familiesintheloop.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Halloween.jpgIn the spirit of the season of changing leaves and things that go bump in the night, the AltruHelp team was happy to volunteer this past weekend at the Castle Island Association’s 29th Annual Children’s Magical Halloween Castle. For one weekend a year the Castle Island Association transforms Fort Independence in South Boston, into a haunted castle open free to the public.

As we helped at the event we were treated to a parade of kids in costumes; we saw brave superheroes, roguish pirates, howling werewolves, and all manner of witches, princesses, ninjas, knights, ghosts, and ghouls. After exploring the shadowy depths of the castle, kids were treated to a magician, a storyteller, a temporary tattoo station, and an assortment of pastries, donuts, cider and of course, candy. Over the course of two days, over 10,000 people came to the event! And we were proud to be a part of the 30 plus volunteers who helped to make that possible.Altruhelp Volunteer event 2011

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