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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Getting Boomers/50-plus to volunteer

I have done some work for organisations (mainly charities) looking to capture the energy and spare time of the new cohort of older people. Most UK charities rely on the age cohort that is now 70+ for the mainstream of its volunteers. The big question is how to make volunteering something that somebody in their late 50s early 60s wants to do.

This is an interesting article about a US conference called: "Boomers and Civic Engagement: Opportunities and Challenges". In the UK there are more challenges than opportunities.

Here are some of the comments/conclusions:

Boomers don't seem to have a sense of obligation or duty to volunteer. Instead, boomers might choose to help and want to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts.

Volunteering should be positioned as a fun experience. One of the ads that was used to illustrate this approach used this tag line: "Volunteering: Think of it as a face-lift for your spirit." I understand the sentiment – not sure about the effectiveness.

Many of the target age group are too busy to volunteer. This is certainly an issue I encountered in the UK.

If you are interested in new thinking about capturing the elusive Boomer volunteer then this article is worth a read. Dick Stroud

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