Help build a house. Programs like Habitat for Humanity host programs that allow people to work together to build affordable homes for low-income families. Talk to your company's human resources department to corral a group of coworkers to participate. Often, the company will pay for a day off work to volunteer.
Play waterboy (or girl). Do those runs to raise money and awareness for noble causes seem like a great idea—if only you were capable of huffing along for 10 kilometers? Ask the race organizer if you can help in other ways, perhaps by handing out water or checking in runners, Jones suggests. "They're not glamorous jobs, but it makes things happen seamlessly, and they're always in need of volunteers."
Volunteer. Remember when you took an hour or two to read at a school or visit folks at a nursing home? Imagine doing that, say, every week or two for months and years at a time. "I know a lot of [nursing homes] get a lot of a-day-here, a-day-there-volunteers, but to be able to rely on somebody for a year is huge," Jones says.
Share your skills. Depending on your profession, there may be a need for free or discounted services in underprivileged communities. Dentists, for example, could pick one day each month to offer free cleanings to children in the town over. If a nearby community has just suffered through a terrible storm, plumbers could inspect affected homes' pipes. To find the best way to regularly volunteer your skills, look into your profession's national association, Jones suggests. (Dentists would check with the American Dental Association.)
Make it a family thing. Teach your children that kindness matters by leading by example. Volunteer together. Bake cookies together and give them to a neighbor. When you go to a park or playground, make a habit of picking up a bagful of litter while you're there. If good deeds become as normal an activity as carpooling to soccer practice and watching Glee together, your kids will be more likely to spread kindness for a lifetime.