So, you want to volunteer to support a worthy cause or charity organization in your community. Now what? Here are a few tips on volunteering and how to make sure you’re making the most of your (and the nonprofit’s) time.

1) Choose the right organization for you. Most volunteers find that dedicating their time to organizations directly within their communities helps maintain their most productive attention. Be sure to select a cause you’re passionate about. If your passion is children, don’t volunteer at your local animal shelter, volunteer at a children’s center – and vice versa!!

2) Budget your time. Time and time again volunteers will commit to a level of participation that’s simply unrealistic. Don’t fib to organizations about how much time you have in your schedule – most charities appreciate ANY time you can donate! Take a look at your schedule, and budget specific times you can volunteer, and then write those times into your schedule like an appointment, so you can be sure to stay on target

3) Be open and honest. Everyone’s schedules change, and often that’s unavoidable – make sure you’re open with the charity organization and give sufficient notice of any change. The nonprofit will be understanding, and again will appreciate whatever time you can give.

4) Have Fun! Most people forget this part. Have fun and be creative. Don’t waste your own time by volunteering and not making it a fulfilling experience. The more fun you can make it, the more you will enjoy donating your time, which benefits everyone. Positive, fun attitudes are contagious and will pass around to everyone.

With the holiday’s right around the corner, now is the time when many charity organizations are looking for all types of volunteers. Don’t forget when volunteering your time, it’s important to be passionate and keep the drive and fire you have. Everyone involved will benefit from the time and attention given. Remember, you don’t need to give more time than you can handle – any small act of kindness is a larger act in the hands of charities.