There are plenty of compelling reasons to start volunteering. You can make a difference in people’s lives and make your city a better place. Volunteering builds community and friendships. Research has shown that it even has health benefits. Plus, it feels good to help others!

There are also professional advantages to volunteering. Helping can strengthen your business’s and your reputation. Getting involved raises your profile among a whole new group of potential clients. It can further associate you with your real estate specialty or niche, such as if you sell eco-friendly homes and volunteer cleaning up habitats.

So how can you or your firm get started?

Who or What Do You Want to Help? What inspires you? There are many worthy causes in your area—focus on what motivates you. It could be a subject close to your heart or the area with the greatest need. Perhaps you want to help a cause that’s overlooked by most people.

What Help is Needed? Research the nonprofit of your choice. How can you best help them? Are they accepting volunteers? When do they need help? Do you need to have any special training before you can help? Visit the charity’s website or speak to a representative to find out.

Do Any Tasks Require Your Talents? Highly skilled volunteers or those who can do complex tasks may be in high demand and can really advance an organization’s mission. Think about all of your areas of expertise. The skills they need most may have nothing to do with your professional life.

Can You Get Others Involved? If your time and effort can make a big difference, think about how much of an impact your team or brokerage can have. Talk with your broker (or your agents) about volunteering together. Some charities welcome groups. It could be a team-building opportunity or something you could promote on social media.

When Can You Start? Even a single afternoon of volunteering helps. If schedules allow more sessions, even better.