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Baby Boomers Ready To Give

24 November 2003 at 12:11 pm
Staff Reporter
The Baby Boom generation represents the largest untapped pool of potential volunteers for the Not for Profit community in recent history, according to a new US study.

Staff Reporter | 24 November 2003 at 12:11 pm


Baby Boomers Ready To Give
24 November 2003 at 12:11 pm

The Baby Boom generation represents the largest untapped pool of potential volunteers for the Not for Profit community in recent history, according to a new US study.

The report called Experience at Work: Volunteering and Giving Among Americans 50 and Over, has been produced by the INDEPENDENT SECTOR and AARP. (American Association of Retired Persons)

It found that as Baby Boomers begin to approach retirement age, Not for Profit organisations will be faced with unprecedented opportunities and challenges to engage this population.

Experience at Work gives an analysis of the over-50 population by examining the current giving and volunteering patterns of this age group and comparing the philanthropic habits of Americans still in their working years, aged 50 to 64, and those who are retired, aged 65 and over.

The report, released during the 2003 INDEPENDENT SECTOR Annual Conference in San Francisco this month, reveals that members of the working population aged 50 to 64 are more likely to have graduated college, volunteered in their youth and had parents who volunteered; these are all indicators of higher levels of adult civic involvement.

This age group has the highest income level, gives the most, and has the greatest potential to increase volunteering and giving for years to come.

The retired population over 50 is less likely to have graduated from college, has the lowest level of income and gives the least amount of money to charities. While they tend to volunteer at a lower rate than their working counterparts, retired Americans give more hours on a regular basis.

Experience at Work reveals:
– The over-50 population is expected to grow by 18.3 million people over the next ten years;
– Those in the 50 to 64 age group will show the largest increase of 13.9 million people. These 50- to 64- year-olds will still be employed, earn the most and become the most generous givers;
– Not for Profits can expect an increase in the number of high givers from this age group; and
– More of this population will be available to volunteer more often.

While the report offers good news for the future of volunteering, INDEPENDENT SECTOR and AARP also caution Not for Profits to tailor volunteer programs and fundraising efforts to meet the needs of the over-50 population.

Diana Aviv, president and CEO, INDEPENDENT SECTOR says Not for Profits would be well served to customise their approach to recruit these volunteers and demonstrate the value of their service to the individual volunteer and organisation he or she serves.

Aviv says if Experience at Work gives only one recommendation, it is that NFPs ought to seize this opportunity to engage older volunteers.

The report recommends that Not for Profits:
– Create a climate respectful of older adults;
– Recognise and work to overcome barriers to volunteerism (such as time constraints) by offering more flexible hours;
– Provide opportunities for volunteers with disabilities and health concerns; and
– Provide more accessible volunteer opportunities such as virtual volunteering.

INDEPENDENT SECTOR is a Not for Profit, nonpartisan coalition of more than 700 US organisations, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, collectively representing tens of thousands of charitable groups. Its mission is to promote, strengthen, and advance the sector to foster private initiative for the public good.

If you would like an electronic version of the report in PDF Format just send us an e-mail to

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