[IMGCAP(1)]I mentioned in my last blog post that I’d soon be sharing some of what’s to come for spring, and how cleaning out your closet can make room for some new trend pieces perfect for work, while helping to support your community.

Well, luckily I have the chance to work on a fun fashion-related project with my local Goodwill Industries contact and take a tour of their newest store in Western New York. For this project, I’ll be creating an editorial fashion spread showcasing 2012 spring trends pulled from the newly opened Goodwill store, and will provide some tips on cleaning out your closet and making donations, which can help support organizations that assist those in your community.

In preparation for this fun and fashionable project, I started thinking about how community relations and volunteering with nonprofit organizations is very much a part of personal professional development and a way that CPA firms can stay connected to their local neighborhood.

Many of my firm’s directors and employees sit on boards or offer up some of their time outside of the office to local nonprofit organizations. This is a great way to support your community, network with other local business people, and become a stronger and more knowledgeable working professional.

So, besides knowing that being active and engaged in your community can be a great thing for your career, helping you to develop and grow, there are also ways to be both socially conscious and stylish.

There are a few ways of finding products and brands out there that, with a purchase, can also do some good. Here are some tools and suggestions to help you do just that.

Giveback.org: The Give Back Foundation was established to allow anyone to join and set up a personal foundation account. The funds that accumulate in that account are part of the Give Back Foundation. Each user has the ability to direct the funds from their account to any charity in good standing with the IRS.

Momitforward.com: This is a unique social media community and worldwide network dedicated to enhancing the lives of women, their families, and the communities in which they live. I found a great article detailing some of the products and brands that can help you give back to the causes and communities you care about most. Take a look and start shopping!

QVC Presents FFANY Shoes on Sale: The 18th Annual QVC Presents FFANY Shoes On Sale gala was held last October in New York City. The amazing fundraiser included cocktails, contests and shopping, with attendees seeking out the hottest styles for half price from tons of popular designers. TV viewers were also able to get in on the action and tune into QVC to shop over 100,000 pairs of brand name shoes at fabulous discounts. Net proceeds from the event and TV sales benefit breast cancer research and education institutions across the country.

This endeavor has a very special meaning to me, as several of my former coworkers were heavily involved in the event and cause. I remember their passion and interest in helping those in need through fashionable footwear and want to let others know about the great yearly opportunity. Look for the event happening again this fall!

Last but not least, I wanted to throw the spotlight on a local company here in Buffalo, N.Y. that is doing some good across the country. You and Who sells t-shirts and other apparel and, for every item sold, donates a matching item to people in need through the local organizations they work with across the U.S.

The company works along with local artists across the country to design shirts that help expose the public to their work, offer them the chance to make some money (with artists paid $1 for every shirt with their design sold), and help their local community—as with every shirt with their design sold, a matching shirt is donated to one of the organizations You and Who works with in the city the designer is from. For example, if someone buys a shirt designed by a Portland artist, then a matching shirt with that design is donated to a Portland organization.

The company will be launching their spring line at the SXSW music, film and interactive festival in Austin, Tex., and I wish them tons of luck. Although these T-shirts may not be suitable for an office with a professional dress code, they may be perfect for at home or at play, all while supporting a city or an artist that you love.

Coming up in my next blog, I’ll be sharing my Goodwill project with you, and also taking a look at some of the top spring trends to consider for the new fashion season. There are lots of amazing trends to interpret at work, and I’m totally ready for some color after this winter! Are you?

Emily Alexandria Burns is a State University of New York Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and started her career in New York City working for companies including Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, Christian Dior and Jones Apparel Group. She is now e-marketing communications specialist for Freed Maxick & Battaglia CPAs in Buffalo, N.Y., and recently named the Association for Accounting Marketing's 2011 "Rookie of the Year." Follow her on Twitter @FreedMaxickPR or email her at emily.burns@freedmaxick.com.