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Wanting to get involved in your community is the first step to being able to make a difference. However, after that point, you may not know where to start. There are many volunteer opportunities out there, and not all of them will work for you. To help determine which organization is the right fit, consider these four points.

Know what skills you have to offer
Many nonprofits are looking for people to help them in specific skills-based areas, like public relations, fundraising and event planning. If you have these types of skills, look for an organization that needs that kind of help. While volunteering helps others, it’s also important to think strategically about how this volunteer experience can benefit you. If you’re hoping to gain a paid position at a nonprofit organization, this type of experience is perfect for rounding out your resume.

Consider your purpose
If you’re looking to volunteer as a way to contribute to a specific cause, then look for organizations who are making strides in that area. However, if you’re looking to volunteer as a way to get to know your community better or build new bonds, then the specific cause may not matter as much to you. Once you know what your purpose is, it’ll be easier to find volunteer opportunities best suited to you and your needs.

Start with small steps
Instead of diving into a new volunteer opportunity by committing all of your weekends for the next few months, start slowly. Every organization will have a different culture, and some may not work for you. Wade into volunteering until you find something that works best for you. Also, committing a lot of time early on will lead you to burnout very quickly. Let your schedule adjust to volunteering, and gradually pick up more time with an organization as you feel ready to do so.

Use websites geared toward skill-based volunteering
There are a number of sites that work to match volunteers to the right opportunity for them. Sign up for a few of these and search through what’s available in your area. These sites typically allow you to filter opportunities by cause, your skills and how much time you’re able to commit. is one site for those looking for professional volunteering opportunities and offers opportunities varying in time and commitment, from a one-hour consultation with a nonprofit to working on a two-month-long project.