Photo by Carina König

With each choice we make, we make our values known. If making your life about helping others and making positive change, it might seem like a challenge to get involved. However, it shouldn’t have to be this difficult. Check out these 10 ways to make your life one that embodies service.

01 | Start Small
We don’t have to go big or go home when it comes to volunteering. There are needs in all types of communities in all sorts of ways. To figure out what you like to do without the risk of organizations getting upset if you quit, start small. Volunteer a day or two a month at a local organization; reach out to organizations based out of your own hometown to get involved without getting overwhelmed.

02 | Follow Your Passion
It can be difficult to get into the groove of volunteering, which is why it’s important to know what you’re passionate about and serve in that capacity. Passionate about animals? Check out your local animal shelter. Interested in fighting human trafficking? Check out organizations near you that might be in need of volunteers. No matter your passion, there is an opportunity out there for you to get excited about!

03 | Ask Around
If you are new to the volunteering scene, it might be beneficial for you to ask some of your friends and family about organizations they might know about. This can help you weed through some of the organizations that might not be as reputable. Someone will be able to guide you in the right direction!

04 | Study Up
Even if you are passionate about an issue, there is always more to learn. If you begin to study about what you are volunteering for, it can help you gain insight into the types of solutions that might work. For instance, if you are interested in homelessness, read a book or two about the complexities behind it. The organization will thank you for your willingness to dig deeper into the issues.

05 | Know Your Gifts And Skills
Are you a good administrator? Are you great with kids? Do you like painting? Knowing your skill set is an asset for organizations with multiple areas where they could assign you to volunteer. Plus, if you are working in an area where you are using your skills, you will also enjoy it.

06 | Follow Up
Organizations are usually short-staffed and over-worked. One way you can help is to continue to follow-up. Show that you are consistent in looking to help them, and they will be excited to have you.

07 | Make It Communal
Do you and a friend love doing the same things together? One way to keep you on track with you volunteering goals is to get involved with a cause with a friend. Even if it’s a once-a-year run that you organize for your favorite organization, doing it with a friend will give you someone to brainstorm with, create with, and have fun with as you volunteer!

08 | Be Realistic
Be realistic about your time, your skills, and what you want to do. If there is one thing that is disappointing to organizations who have volunteers, it is the idea that they have trained someone only to be neglected by them a month later. Be upfront and honest about what you can do, how much time you have, and what you expect from your volunteering experience.

09 | Be Flexible
Though you might believe that there is a certain way for you to volunteer, the truth is that us volunteers have to be flexible to the needs of the organization. Be sincere about your passions and gifts, but allow the organization to direct you to how those should be applied. You might have to volunteer for a few groups before you find a good fit, as well. Don’t be afraid of that; just continue to be flexible.

10 | Don’t Wait
The biggest stumbling block to those who want to volunteer is that they feel as if they need to get certain things in order before they are equipped to serve. This can be a variety of different issues, but they all look the same: I want to, but I am afraid to commit. Believing that we will be better equipped when we are at a different place in our lives is usually not true. If you want to make a difference, do it. Get out there and donate your time, resources, and passion to the greater good. You’ll be glad you didn’t wait.

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