It ‘s funny how we wait for a pivotal moment like the arrival of a new year to make changes in our lives instead of starting anew when the thought first arises. I didn’t make a big New Year’s resolution list this year, but I did set a few goals that I plan to stick with, which will help me improve other areas of my life.

One goal I have and would like to share is to be more deliberate about the ways I help others. Sure, I will continue to give to charities and volunteer, but this year my focus is quality over quantity. For instance, my money is just as important to an organization as my time. Truthfully, they need both. Although I don’t have a lot of extra time or money I can spare a couple of hours once a month to spend time with someone in need.

Many bloggers are naturally willing to help others, which is what led them to blog initially. Have you ever thought, “I want to help others, but where do I start?”

Over the holidays, this is question came to my mind. Fortunately, from past experiences working for a nonprofit company like AmeriCorps NCCC, I new where to start. Here are a few tips I would like to share with you.

When thinking about volunteering, you want to ask yourself

  1. Who do I want to help?
  2. What type of help do they need?
  3. How can I effectively address their needs?
  4. Are there any organizations already helping this particular demographic?
  5. How much of my time can I spare.

Here are a few ways to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

  1. Use an online search engine such as Google (type in “volunteer opportunities” and include your city, state.)
  2. Check with local churches and radio stations.
  3. Also check their Facebook pages and twitter account.
  4. Contact local colleges in your area.
  5. See if there is an online volunteer database for your state.
  6. Follow the volunteer hash tag on twitter. Call or e-mail the organization(s) that serves the demographic you choose.
  7. Go to your local library and check their community boards.
  8. Contact your local Volunteers of America chapter.
  9. There is also a site called that is national registry where nonprofits can list volunteer opportunities.
  10. Check the volunteer section in the Classifieds category of small local newspapers, also review their social media networks for more listings.
Good luck in your volunteer efforts in 2012.