Category Archives: Social capital

Barter and the Giant Swing

I’m just back from family camp at YMCA Camp Coleman in South Puget Sound. How fun for adults to get to participate in camp alongside their kids! Among other exciting activities, I got to ride in the Northwest’s biggest swing, which requires a harness and swings kids of all ages at a height of 150 feet over a ravine. Quite an exciting experience!

Naturally, this experience got me thinking about bartering. That is, given all the wonderful experiences offered to me and my child by local nonprofits, how can I barter my services for good stuff like summer camp, science education, and so forth? Regrettably, there is no tax advantage to be gained from bartering: both parties are obligated to treat their “sale” through the barter as taxable income. Furthermore, there is IRS paperwork involved (a 1099-B form at year-end), making bartering not nearly as attractive. Still, I want to think more about when it might make sense for me to barter with clients. Solar Washington contacted me recently, and I’d love a solar array on my roof!

If any readers have more experience with barter and when it makes sense, I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to keep laying out cold, hard cash for my vacations, professional development and home improvements.