Donating your skills is one of the easiest and most hassle-free ways to help your community. Just look at financial advisor Shannon Simmons. She took a year off from her Bay Street job to help women get their financial houses in order. She accepts anything from transit tokens to butter churning lessons in exchange for her advice. So, take a page out of Shannon's book and consider swapping or donating your skills.

Did you know?

• The skills we donate have real monetary value - just look at the $14 billion worth of volunteer hours Canadians donate every year. That's the equivalent of 1.4 per cent of Canada's GDP.

• Teaching, mentoring, bookkeeping and counseling are all top volunteer activities.

Easy tips:

• Make a list of all your skills - professional and amateur - that might help the people, events and organizations in your community.

• Everyday skills, such as reading or listening, can be donated to hospital patients and people in old folks' homes.

• Stay engaged with the organizations you want to help, keeping track of upcoming drives and events.

For more information:

See Shannon's Barter Babes website here.

Check out websites like Get Involved that pair skilled people up with organizations in need.