The idea for SwopBoard (swopboard.com) was born out of necessity last January. “My daughter and I were transitioning her room from a little girl’s room to a big girl’s room, and we were left with an enormous dollhouse that my daughter no longer wanted,” says Magnolia mom and business owner Natalie Angelillo. “I didn’t have time to sell and ship this huge house that was taking over my real house, and I didn’t want strangers from Craigslist coming over to see my kids’ toys.” Her solution: an online marketplace for parents in similar situations—with stuff to sell and a desire to interact with people they trust in their communities. Her next thought—“Wouldn’t it be great if my school could make money from that transaction?”—was the one that brought SwopBoard to life.
The premise is familiar: sellers list their items, set the price, the neighborhood for pickup and the percentage of the sale (at least 10 percent) that will go to the school of their choice. After small PayPal and sales transaction fees, the school receives a check and the seller gets the rest.
Within one month of its September 2013 launch, SwopBoard had parents from more than 430 schools in 14 states. Within three months, the site’s pilot school, Our Lady of Fatima in Magnolia, had received more than $3,000 in donations from sales. Angelillo estimates active schools could earn $15,000–$20,000 per year, adding, “We have several schools on track to achieve that.” PTAs are getting in on the action as well, thanks to SwopBoard’s Fundit! campaign platform, which provides tools for rummage sales and other fundraising opportunities.
Don’t just expect kids’ stuff on the site. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the variety of things that sell well on SwopBoard,” Angelillo says, which includes priced-to-sell electronics, shoes, bags, sporting equipment and furniture with big donation amounts. “In fact, the SwopBoard office is almost fully furnished with items bought on SwopBoard…chairs, filing cabinets, our fridge, power cords, plants and more.”