Volunteers fill in where your budget falls short, picking up the tasks that keep your organization running. Your first instincts may be to recruit millennial volunteers, but don’t discount the older set. Senior volunteers come up big in experience, confidence, and time. Maximize your volunteer hours by making your nonprofit an appealing place for seniors to volunteer, and enjoy the benefits of older volunteers.
Senior volunteers come to you with decades of experience in the real world. Some may have work-related experience that works well with your nonprofit’s mission. Others have operational skills like bookkeeping or management that can help your nonprofit run more efficiently. Seniors have seen a lot of change and have lots of experience dealing with people. Recruiting people with so much experience means you get an expert in the field on a volunteer basis. It’s the perfect way to deal with a tight budget while still getting the knowledge and experience you need.
Retired volunteers come with a distinct advantage over younger volunteers who need to work for a living. Senior volunteers have fewer commitments, which means they have more time to serve your organization. They aren’t splitting their time between office jobs, carpool, and youth soccer games. Their schedules are generally much more flexible, so you can get the help you need at the times that work best for you.
Benefits for Senior Volunteers
Your organization benefits from having seniors help out, but your older volunteers also get something out of the arrangement. Volunteering around other people takes away feelings of loneliness that can come with age. Older volunteers get a sense of fulfillment they may be missing, especially once they retire.
Being involved with your nonprofit also helps your senior volunteers stay active, both mentally and physically. The mental challenge of completely their assignments helps seniors stay cognitively stimulated. Your volunteers may not be bodybuilding or sprinting around town, but getting out of the house and doing even easy jobs keeps the seniors physically active.
Tips for Using Senior Volunteers
Your new wave of volunteers may be older, but that doesn’t mean they’re past their prime. Don’t be afraid to challenge your senior volunteers by giving them demanding duties. Seniors are more than capable of learning new skills. Not all older people are scared of technology. You can teach an old dog new tricks, and he may have a few tricks to teach you if you’re willing to watch and listen.
Let your volunteers reveal their strengths and interests. With time and real-world experience on their side, your older volunteers might have some great ideas to help expand your organization’s offerings. A retired music teacher might spearhead a free toddler music class for kids while you hold career service workshops for their unemployed parents. A former accountant might help you streamline your organization’s financial processes. Encourage your volunteers to have some ownership in what they do for you.
Seniors can take on any volunteer needs you have, which helps you better serve your clients, even when the budget is tight. Take a chance on the growing elderly population for experienced, motivated volunteers.