Are you looking for a way to give back this time of year? You can improve your community and even discover new interests by volunteering your time this winter.

When you give to a cause you feel passionately about, you’ll feel that you’ve gained as much as you’ve given. Need a few hints and a nudge to get things started? Try our tips for how to start giving back to those in need.

Start your search

When you’re ready to get started, you can start looking online for volunteer options in your city. Try a website dedicated to volunteering, like AllForGood.com. There, you can search for opportunities based on your location, your interests, and even your available time-frame.

You may also want to check your city or county’s website for volunteer jobs and positions. Here, you’ll likely find opportunities like tutoring positions, clean-up crew openings, or shelter needs.

You could also check with your school’s Student Affairs office for volunteer opportunities on and off campus.

If you know of a charitable organization that you’re particularly interested in already, the organization’s website will provide information on any local chapters that might need volunteers. If they don’t, they will likely still suggest ways that you can help, which may even work well for some busy schedules.

Balancing time

Many of us wish we had far more time to give back to our communities through charity work and volunteering. Fortunately, there are some ways to help that are less time-consuming or more awareness-based.

For example, animal welfare charities, such as PAWS or the Humane Society are often looking for specific items that they’re running low on in their local shelters–even things you may have laying around that you don’t need such as old towels and blankets. Look up your local shelters to see what they’re in need of this winter. If you’re unable to provide, share the list on Facebook or with other connections to see who may be able to help.

Another way to work some good will into your day is to pick up some extra canned or dry goods on your next trip to the grocery store and simply drop them off at a local food drive or homeless shelter. Or you can pick up an extra toy or two to bring to a Toys For Tots location.

Once you find a cause that you’re committed to, don’t be silent, spread the word! Share their page online with your friends and family and be sure to follow them on social networks to see when they’re in need of extra help.

How do you plan to give back to those in need this year? Share your ideas with us below.

Happy Holidays!