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Volunteer. It’s Good for Your Heart!

A special issue of U.S. News & World Report magazine, in November 2010, tells the story of Brooke Ellison, who was left a quadriplegic at age 11 after being stuck by a car. She went on to be the first quadriplegic graduate of Harvard and is now working on her PhD in sociology at Stony Brook University.

(A movie about her life was directed by Christopher Reeve, his last project. You can watch the movie's trailer at the left.)

She’s not bitter in part because she makes a habit of extending herself to others.

Volunteers like Brooke garner physical and emotional rewards. Studies show that no matter what their health is when they start, volunteers have less stress, less depression, and longer lives.

“Helping is an independent, unique predictor of reduced risk of mortality,” says Stephanie Brown of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Brown studied 400 elderly couples over a 5-year period and found volunteers were half as likely to die as nonvolunteers, even after adjusting for baseline health, age and mental health.

What does this mean for cause marketers?

It means you have another benefit of cause marketing to sell participants. 'Volunteer to help,' you can legitimately tell people, 'and you may live longer!'

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