However, there are myriad great volunteering opportunities, especially for young people, right on our doorstep here in Glasgow.
In my previous column I talked about the opportunity for at least 15,000 volunteers to become part of history by helping at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
There is hardly a better time to become involved in your community.
Over the past few weeks I have been out and about in Glasgow, volunteering with two charities working in areas which can often go largely unnoticed, and tackling issues which can be easily forgotten by people who are not affected by them.
My experience with both was incredibly eye-opening.
My first experience was a day spent at Greater Pollok Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) volunteering part of my day as an advice counsellor.
In the current economic climate, people are experiencing hard times and turning to the CAB for assistance on matters ranging from debt problems to relationship advice.
I spent time listening to service users and talking with CAB advisers, and came away with a sense of how invaluable this service is to many people in Glasgow.
One elderly gentleman I spoke to was having problems with the Department of Work and Pensions and had been passed from pillar to post.
He was suffering from diabetes, arthritis and had had a heart attack, but was not getting help he desperately needed.
He was finally able to get help and advice from the CAB, and told me he wouldn't have been able to keep going without the advice and service it provided.
My other volunteering experience was spending a morning as a van driver with Starter Packs in Govan.
This charitable organisation deals with a problem which is largely overlooked: providing help to homeowners in Glasgow who are not yet able to afford basic household items themselves.
It was a real eye-opener seeing families sleeping on floors with no furniture or beds in their home.
I worked alongside Mitch, who left the army a few years ago to have a more stable family life and started volunteering with Starter Packs.
He found it a fulfilling experience, and it ended up becoming a paid job.
Chas, who was also helping us, has volunteered for Starter Packs since he was 16.
Three years of dedication resulted in a paid job and, more importantly, a sense that he is making a real difference in people's lives.
The time I spent volunteering has reminded me that it is vital not to lose touch with the problems of the people I represent here in Glasgow.
Far too often we live our lives in our own bubble forgetting the many problems right here on our doorstep.
So, if you have ever considered volunteering, I would encourage you to bite the bullet and get involved – you will feel the benefits for yourself as well as having the opportunity to make a real difference to others.