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 Baby Boomers usher in a new age of volunteering

By Morgan Phelps
(Posted August 2007)

With Baby Boomers — the 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 — about to hit retirement age but not about to actually retire, many predict a reinvention of retirement itself that includes a dramatic boost in volunteering.

According to Deborah Russell, Director of workplace issues at AARP, 69 percent of Baby Boomers anticipate working beyond the traditional age of retirement.

Baby Boomers are not only working later in life than earlier generations, they are more concerned about making an impact in their community and family.

According to a 2005 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Baby Boomers have the highest rate of volunteers of any age group. Thirty-three percent of Baby Boomers volunteer an average of 51 hours each per year.

But Baby Boomer volunteers aren’t just looking to stuff envelopes or enter data, they want opportunities to contribute their talent as well as their time. Volunteer Match, an online volunteer networking site, investigated this issue in it’s report “Great expectations: Boomers and the future of volunteering.”

In the report, Civic Ventures President and Experience Corps CEO John Gompert said, “Boomers are not looking for busy work. They are looking for meaning and purpose.”

Their report found that two in five non-volunteers choose not to volunteer because they have not found the right opportunity.

Gomperts said, “Boomers have a strong desire to launch a new chapter in their working lives that involves significant social contribution.”

It is up to nonprofit organizations to meet the needs of this growing population, or potentially loose a large population of helpers. Many choose to this by including volunteers in important decisions, offering leadership roles and rewarding volunteers

Nonprofits will potentially see many benefits from catering further to the hard working, mature, and highly skilled population that is known as Baby Boomers.

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