Crye-Leike Real Estate Services has a core belief of being a "good neighbor", meaning the company and its agents make giving back to communities a priority. Around the holidays and back-to-school season, the volunteer rate increases and people all over the country do what they can to make a positive impact on their communities. However, community service is not seasonal. Many cities and towns need help from volunteers year-round, but unfortunately the volunteer rate is not as high when holiday cheer is not around.

Here are steps you can take to become an active volunteer this spring:

1. Think about your interests
Schools, homeless shelters, animal shelters, hospitals, the elderly and the environment are usually the first topics people think about when the idea of volunteering comes to mind. It can all be a bit overwhelming, but you are not a super hero, and you do not have to try to help everyone. Pick one topic to indulge in and run with it. Over time, you might find that you have the energy and resources to do more.

2. How much time do you want to dedicate to your community?
If you have the time to organize your own team of people and lead your own event, then that is great! However, most people do not have that kind of time, and that's okay too. You do not always have to spend months planning what your next volunteer opportunity is going to be. Chances are you can spend one afternoon helping an already established organization. After a while, see if you can turn that "one afternoon" into a "once a month afternoon".

3. Research events and activities
If you do not want to host your own event, simply look into what other organizations are doing. Many towns have websites with community calendars, or you can look in the local paper to see if there are any event advertisements. Figure out what kind of community service you feel comfortable doing that fits your interest, and contact a member of the organization to see what you can do to help.

If you want to host your own event, try to make it unique and different, in hopes you will get more volunteers or donations. You do not want to end up hosting an event that someone is already having. Volunteering is not a competition. If you find that there is an area of interest that is lacking help, pursue that.

4. Go out and help your community!
Hopefully by this point you have figured out what topic of interest you want to focus on, what kind of time you can dedicate to helping your community and which event or activity you want to be a part of. Now, go do that!! Go help at your local soup kitchen, donate clothing and toys, or clean up rivers, highways and parks. Do what you need to do to make your town a better place, because being a good neighbor is what makes a great community.

For more volunteer ideas and inspiration, please check out 60 Ways to Better Your Community.