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When it comes to volunteeering, wanting to help is only half the battle. Make sure you know how to best serve

Many of us feel especially big-hearted during Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and want to find ways to help the less fortunate.

If that’s you and you want to be a hands-on volunteer with a local charity, there are 4 things you may not have considered, but should.

In an interview with, CEO’s of charities revealed the truth about what they need (and don’t need) from volunteers.

#1 Realize that you could be in the way.

“Charities of all types can get overwhelmed with the generosity of volunteers during Thanksgiving and the December holidays,” said Eileen Heisman, CEO of the National Philanthropic Trust. “It’s better to let a charity’s core volunteer group manage these critical days,” she said. Be sure to check in with smaller, less well known charities that often receive little support for their efforts. There, you could easily find openings for volunteers.

#2 Contact the charity before showing up.

“People interested in volunteering should always call ahead of time to make sure there is room for them,” said Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser. That way, if the charity has enough hands on deck, you won’t be creating chaos by popping in.

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Feeling Charitable This Holiday Season? 4 Things You May Have Never Considered About Volunteering, But Need To  was originally published on