Become a volunteer.
Whether it's the Obama administration's call to service or just people getting their priorities in check, volunteerism has recently increased by nearly 50 percent for a number of causes nationwide. At a time when nonprofits are short on cash, every penny and every hand makes a difference so if you have yet to get involved, now is a great time to start.

You don't have to be knee-deep in mud or roughing it overseas to call yourself a volunteer. Robert Rosenthal, director of communications at VolunteerMatch, suggests asking yourself the following four questions to determine which type of organization would best match your skill set:
  • What kind of work do you want to do?
  • What is your availability?
  • Is there a specific cause you care about?
  • Do you want to volunteer alone or with a group of friends and family?
As president of ChicagoVolunteer.net's Community Research Network, Kathleen Gillig believes it's not at all selfish to think about your own interests when choosing a cause to support. "Volunteerism is a two-way street," Kathleen says. "Since you're giving up personal time, the best thing to do is to choose something you would find fulfilling. Examining this is just as important as if you were looking for a job."

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