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Whether you have a volunteer role you love and want to explore even more ways to give back, or you are feeling like you need a change, there are many ways to experience the myriad health and well-being benefits that giving back offers. As you contemplate your volunteering goals for the year ahead, why not take some time to try something new?

Here’s a simple, five-step approach to finding new opportunities.

1. Consider your interests

Start by reflecting on your interests, hobbies, and passions. What activities bring you joy? Do you love being outdoors or working in your garden? Perhaps you're more of a social type and enjoy interacting with others. Write down some activities that bring you happiness. Chances are, there's a way to turn them into a volunteer opportunity, and if you enjoy what you're doing, you're more likely to stick with it.

2. Note your skills, talents—and time

Next, consider what you excel at. Are you a skilled writer, or do you play the guitar exceptionally well? Maybe you have a talent for fixing things or possess an exceptional green thumb? Your unique talents could be precisely what a worthy cause needs, and you'll experience the joy of sharing something you love with others.

Also, consider the amount of time you have to dedicate to volunteering. Plenty of opportunities exist, whether you have a few minutes, hours, or much more time to give.

3. Determine your volunteer style

Are you a natural leader? Or perhaps you have an uncanny ability to bring order out of chaos. Various volunteer roles require different skill sets. Whether you envision yourself as a big-picture person, serving on a board, advocating for a cause, or someone who enjoys ensuring people feel welcome and activities and programs run smoothly, these tendencies may provide more clues about the ideal new volunteer role for you. Read more about volunteer styles here.

4. Identify the causes that matter most to you

Think about the causes and needs that warm your heart or ignite your passion. Do you have a strong connection to environmental issues, social justice, education, climate change, or animal welfare? Identifying your passions will help you find opportunities that are personally meaningful, which can also serve as a strong motivator.

5. Explore your options

Once you’ve considered your preferences, the causes that matter to you, and all the talents and skills you have to offer, now you can have some fun exploring the various ways you can give back. Scroll through opportunities on websites like AARP Volunteers, Create the Good®, Idealist, or VolunteerMatch. Keep an eye on community listings or social media postings from local organizations that interest you and attend their meetings or events. Utilize your personal network to see if friends, family members, or colleagues have any suggestions.

This is also a chance to daydream. Volunteer activities can be wish-list items, like giving you the opportunity to be a citizen scientist, work with wildlife, or engage in preserving history.

Once you have identified ideas that excite you, give them a try. One of the great things about volunteering is that you can change how you give your time. So, embrace the volunteer adventure, and be sure to visit for more ideas and inspiration.

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