Find your match
Syda Productions/Shutterstock If you’re not sure where to begin, try a clearinghouse like your local United Way chapter, Points of Light, or VolunteerMatch. “Our platform gives volunteers the ability to search for opportunities that adhere to their skill level or learning outcomes,” says Basil Sadiq, marketing associate at VolunteerMatch. “Volunteering is a great way to learn a new skill or put an existing skill into practice, all while giving back to the community.” More than 110,000 nonprofits work with VolunteerMatch to post their volunteering needs. Search them based on a cause you’re passionate about and/or the skills you’d like to share or develop.
Strut your stuff
jgolby/Shutterstock If you love the spotlight, volunteer for a community theater production. Or how about Musicians on Call, a nonprofit that shares music with hospital patients in 12 cities? Or, share your voice with the community by giving tours or interpreting exhibits at a local museum or zoo. Small, quirky options abound, and training is always provided. If you’re into the arts but prefer to work behind the scenes, these same groups always need help in those areas too. You can even share your voice from your home computer by donating to the Voice Bank at VocalID. Recorded voices can help people who use assistive communication technology.
Plan a party
oneinchpunch/Shutterstock Take your birthday-bash skills to the next level when you volunteer with Brightening Birthdays, a project of Volunteers of America. You’ll help bring birthday celebrations (cake, presents, hats, the works!) to kids and families struggling with homelessness. Some hospice agencies and senior centers also plan celebrations for their clients, and you can help. Or, name a cause you’d love to support (say, research and advocacy for a particular medical condition) and you can join up with a nonprofit that needs your time and talent to plan special events.