Alicia M. O'Connell

10. Care about an issue.
The issues you care about will lead to volunteer opportunities. If you like animals, work a shift at the nearby Animal Rescue League. If you want to work with children in need, volunteer after school at the local Boys and Girls Club.

9. Do something about it.
If you attend an organization's meeting, fundraiser or social event, you'll learn about the programs they offer and who they serve. You will also meet program staff, donors and other volunteers. That may be enough inspire you to sign up for a volunteer activity.

8. Find use for your skills and talents.
The skills you highlight on your resume transfer into the talents you share as a volunteer. Good with numbers? Become a financial literacy mentor. Handy with tools?  Volunteer for a build day with Habitat for Humanity.

7. Feel good.
One of your goals will be to make the population you're serving feel good. You'll likely achieve it, and will feel pretty good doing it.

6. Sit on boards and committees.  
Many organizations are run by small staffs and rely on volunteer committees. It's a privilege to contribute to their decision-making processes and see their programs move forward.

5. Discover new skills and talents.
You can update your resume with the volunteer experience you've gained and the leadership skills you've acquired.

4. Expand social and professional networks.
There are far-reaching benefits of your volunteer service. You, too, will feel the benefits of your service as your social and professional networks grow from the contacts you make.

3. Donate.
Once you contribute your time and talent, you'll likely donate your treasure. Make a gift to the organization you support or to general grant-making institutions like the United Way of Central Massachusetts or the Greater Worcester Community Foundation.

2. Celebrate.
Your work won't go unnoticed. Whether you attend a volunteer celebration or receive a handcrafted "thank you" note from a child you work with, organizations show appreciation for their volunteers.

1. You'll be back.
Once you find an organization or program that's the right fit, you'll become a regular volunteer.
Alicia M. O'Connell is an attorney at O'Connell & O'Connell P.C. in Auburn. She's also an active volunteer in women's and youth organizations in Worcester County.