Giving back to your community can be easy, and even fun, when you get creative with how you can help. You don’t need a lot of money, people or time to make a difference. Simply by using the skills you already have, and sharing them with others, you can come up with all sorts of clever ways to make an impact in your community.

1. Volunteer at a Local Animal Shelter

Animal shelters can always use a set of extra hands, and volunteering has never been so cute and rewarding! While there might be some “dirty” tasks, on occasion, you'll also get to spend some quality time with adorable animals who want nothing more than a little love. What is better than that?

2. Help Kids

There are lots of places looking for volunteers to help with activities for kids. Try looking at schools, day care centers, camps, church groups, the YMCA and various mentorship programs. Even if you don't think you're particularly gifted, you may be able to help a child learn a simple skill such as painting or drawing, riding a bike, playing sports, arts and crafts, physical fitness activities, gardening, hair and makeup, and more. All it takes is a phone call and your willingness to lend a helping hand.

3. Organize a Yard Sale

Ask people within the community to donate their clothing, shoes and accessories, then re-label them with yard sale prices. Donate all the proceeds from the sale to a local charity—like a soup kitchen or animal shelter/rescue—then donate any of the remaining clothing to a local shelter.

4. Share Your Pet

Your pet makes you happy, so maybe he or she can make someone else happy too! Consider bringing your pet to a local senior center or hospital to bring some joy to the residents. However, be sure to consider your pet’s disposition, the needs of the patients, and the policy of the facility before you try giving back in this way.

5. Bake Extra Treats

Next time you're baking for a family gathering or work event, consider baking extra treats and bringing them to a local police station, veteran club, senior home or soup kitchen. This is a great way to give back and show your appreciation!

6. Share Your Smarts

We've all got something we're good at, and if you're lucky enough to be good in the academic realm, consider sharing your smarts with students in your area. Many schools and after school programs would be happy to take on a volunteer to help students improve.

7. Check Online

Looking for a different way to give back in your community? Check online to find opportunities closest to you. You might be surprised how many ways there are to give back right in your own area!