Photo by Arkady Lifshits

You know you want to volunteer. You have for some time. The last time you volunteered, you cleaned the beach with your coworkers, but it just didn’t light a fire in you.

How can you lead a life of volunteerism for which you are truly invested? It can be simple, but it has to be intentional. Here are seven steps to start a life of volunteerism.

01 | Start With Passion
When considering where you want to volunteer, you must first decide what cause you want to support. Choose a cause that moves you. This will ensure authenticity and excitement and will help keep you committed.

02 | Add Your Skills
Once you’ve decided what cause you want to support, think about your skills. Skills-based volunteering is one of the best ways to support nonprofit organizations. Consider how your specific knowledge and talents could be utilized as a volunteer.

03 | Find the Opportunity
Next, you need to match these passions and skills to an organization that needs your help. There are several online platforms made specifically for this, which allow you to filter by location, time frame, and other specifics. Here’s a short list: VolunteerMatch, Catchafire, Hands on Network, DoSomething.Org.

04 | Make it Quality Time
After you find the perfect opportunity, dedicate the time. This is easily one of the biggest hurdles to volunteering. Find an opportunity where you can bring your kids, your significant other, or a group of friends and make it quality time while you volunteer together. Many of the opportunity finders allow you to filter for opportunities that are good for kids or groups.

05 | Keep It Consistent
Unfortunately, you can’t just “find” time; you have to plan it. Planning a consistent day each week, month or quarter into your calendar will help keep you on track.

06 | Know the Benefits
Giving back is good for you and knowing the benefits is one more way to get you started and keep you motivated. According to UnitedHealthcare, focusing on someone other than yourself helps reduce stress, and the positive emotions associated with volunteering have been shown to strengthen the immune system.

07 | Remember Your Value
Last but not least, remember your value to the organization. Many organizations could not do their work without the help of volunteers. They have a vital mission to make something better in this world, and you’re helping make it happen.

Leading a life of volunteerism sounds much harder than it is. You simply need a willing heart, open hands and a bit of intention. Let these seven simple steps propel you to make it happen.

At Conscious, we are inspired by stories that cause us to think differently and think big-picture, and so we set out to tell stories with the help of leaders and influencers within the social good community. You can read more stories like this when you join as a member.