Summer has come to an end, and you’ve lived it up the past couple of months: You checked off a bunch of locations on your travel bucket list, attended (or maybe hosted!) some fab barbecues, and danced the night away at a few summer weddings. As you settle into fall, pumpkin spice everything in hand, you can’t help but think to yourself, What next? Perhaps you’re feeling inspired to give back this season and to do a little good for others to show your gratitude for all of the fun you’ve experienced over the last several months.

The fact that giving back is a good thing is hardly up for debate, but what can be a little trickier is the process of figuring out how to actually do it! With so many worthy causes and seemingly infinite opportunities to contribute, it’s overwhelming to think about where to start. Charting a course for your own selfless projects might be easier than you think — as long as you know where to look. With some help from the team at fundraising and crowdfunding platform GoFundMe, we’ve compiled this list of six places you might find the inspiration you need to go forth and give.

Woman volunteering at community kitchen

1. Consider the season. Each season brings with it unique opportunities to spread a little extra love to the people and places around you. Take a look at your calendar. What holidays or milestones are coming up? Are there aspects of this time of year that you’re especially grateful for that you worry others might not get a chance to experience? These are great places to start! One group of friends, for example, recently came together to raise funds for their teacher pal, who had been given next to nothing to equip her new classroom. By simply reflecting on their favorite parts of the BTS season — new school supplies, the promise of meeting friends in a new classroom — these people were able to effect change in their community.

2. Use your expertise. We all have our gifts. Why not use yours, along with the hard-earned lessons you’ve picked up over years of education and life experience, to do some good? Joining forces with friends who have a different set of skills will help you do even more. Are you a great cook? Take your skills to the local shelter. Do you have a friend with a legal background? Find a cause you’re both passionate about, and brainstorm ways you can work together to bring much-needed expertise to the people associated with that cause who really need it.

3. Stop and talk. It’s easy to stay focused on our phones or just move so quickly through our daily routines that we never actually have a conversation with the people around us. These conversations, however, might be just what you need to get your wheels turning about opportunities to give back to others. It might not take much to help fulfill a beloved bus driver‘s lifelong dream of going to the Super Bowl or to raise the cash necessary to provide at-home care to an elderly neighbor. Opening yourself up to seemingly arbitrary conversations is the only way to figure out that these needs exist.

4. Look at signs posted in stores and restaurants. There are probably several local businesses you frequent regularly that have bulletin boards covered in brochures and flyers in their lobbies… and that you walk past, unaware of their messages, 99 percent of the time. Those bulletin boards are more than just white noise, though. Look closely and you may find that they’re chock-full of personal stories and worthy causes. In February 2018, Florida native Nicholas Flores saw a sign that said “A Kidney for Ali” in a cafe. He called the noted phone number, and while he wasn’t a match for Ali, the encounter did complete a 12-person chain of donors and recipients through the Mayo Clinic Paired Donor Program, thus giving six patients a chance to receive a kidney transplant. The flyer also inspired Flores to start raising money for Ali’s medical expenses on GoFundMe.

5. Take a closer look at your community. You may love where you live, but no place is perfect. Next time you’re walking or driving through town, challenge yourself to pay closer attention to the state of the streets, parks, schools, and other landmarks around you. What spots could use a little TLC? Rally your friends to make the necessary improvements, or start a campaign to raise the money your local government will need to do it. With some additional awareness, you might also notice people in your community who are in need. In 2016, Joel Cervantes Macias realized that he was seeing the same elderly man pushing a popsicle cart during his commute every day. He stopped to buy a popsicle and learned that the man was 89 years old and had to go back to work to support his grandchildren after the death of his daughter. Inspired by this conversation, Macias raised nearly $385,000 when he started a campaign to help the man take a single day off from work.

6. React to the news. The news can feel pretty depressing sometimes, but if you switch up your perspective and use current events as a catalyst for you to do some good, you might be more excited about staying informed. Start watching the local news, in particular. If you learn about a family that’s been affected by a house fire or a terminally ill child whose parents are staging an event to raise money to pay the medical bills, you can step in. One way is by starting a GoFundMe campaign to collect additional funds to help.

How are you planning on giving back this fall? Tweet us @BritandCo.

(Photo via Getty)