When you’re feeling lonely, it’s important that you reach out to others. You can do this by asking for support from family and friends. But you can also connect with others by volunteering to help those in need.

Volunteering can raise your serotonin levels, which can boost your mood and make you feel less alone. Through volunteering, you’ll also have the opportunity to interact with people in your community, growing your circle of friends even bigger.

So what if you want to volunteer but you’re not quite sure where to start? You can begin by following these tips…

Think about Your Gifts and Skills

Many people volunteer based around a gift they have. For example, Shannon had a gift for hosting beautiful events. So, when she volunteered at a local organization, the staff asked her to help plan their annual fundraising party.

Sometimes, volunteering may be about a skill you developed over time. John was a police officer who’d spent decades on the streets. As a result, he could read people easily and often predicted their behavior in advance. A local organization asked him to give classes on preventing violence in the workplace which allowed him to share his skills with others.

Look for Causes You Care About

If you’re not sure how you’d like to volunteer, you may want to spend some time considering causes you already care about. What’s important to you? What’s one thing you wish everyone had access to? Who do you love to help?

Veronica wasn’t’ sure what her gifts or skills were. But she knew she wanted to help homeless kids and teens since she’d frequently been homeless growing up. Because of her past, she was able to empathize with the kids and they responded well to her authenticity.

You probably already have a group of people you’re passionate about. It might be single moms, young entrepreneurs, senior citizens, or college students. Whoever they are, start looking for ways you could serve your people from where you are.

See What Organizations Need

Another way to get started volunteering is to find local organizations that are already looking for volunteers. You can search for volunteer positions available in your area by going to Create the Good’s Volunteer Search or Volunteer Match.

As you look through the possibilities, be sure to keep in mind how much time you can devote to the volunteer position, if training is available, and what tasks you’ll be asked to perform. If you find an opportunity that sounds fun, reach out and contact the organization as soon as possible.

Create Your Own Dream Role

Don’t think you have to find an existing role in order to be a good volunteer. You can also create your very own role if you want.  Ask yourself, “If I could create a volunteer role of my dreams, what would I like to do and for who?”

Imagine what your creativity and determination could make happen if you took the time to pursue your idea. You may just discover the volunteer role of a lifetime.

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet new people and try new activities while supporting your community. It’s hard to feel lonely when you’re doing so much good!