Baby Boomers Have More To Give - US Report
22 September 2008 at 4:55 pm
Despite their pessimism about the direction of the country, Americans between the ages of 44 and 79 are ready and willing to pick up the mantle of volunteerism worn by earlier generations, according to a report released today by AARP and Civic Enterprises, a public policy firm.
Tom Nelson of AARP says the boomers are they’re living longer, healthier lives, and they want to do more.
The report, “More to Give,” was released as part of a ServiceNation Summit in New York on Sept. 11-12 and the start of a national dialogue around the civic engagement of “Experienced Americans.” The goal of ServiceNation is to develop a blueprint for using volunteerism to address some of the challenges facing society.
More than half of the 1,012 adults polled for the report said that a wish to help people in need was their chief motivation for volunteering, as was a feeling of responsibility to help others.
Among other reasons were the desire to stay healthy and active (48 percent) and to make an impact on an issue or problem facing the country (47 percent). Almost half said they preferred to volunteer on their own, while about a third wanted to work through a Not for Profit or community organisation.
The survey found that the biggest barriers to volunteering are lack of time (70 percent) and the need to earn a living (54 percent), followed by insufficient information about opportunities
The study was co-authored by three experts in civic engagement: John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises; Robert D. Putnam, author ofBowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community; and former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford, special assistant to President Kennedy during the launch of the Peace Corps.
Key findings include:
• Four in ten Experienced Americans (41%) indicate they are very or somewhat likely to increase the amount of time they spend volunteering in the next 5 years, and nearly the same proportion (39%) of retired Americans report that they did increase their volunteering when they retired.
• Not only are Experienced Americans interested in volunteering more, but most are able to do so. A majority (53%) of Experienced Americans are unimpeded by health or care giving for relatives in their home.
• Fifty-two percent of respondents said that their desire to “help people in need” was an extremely important motivation for volunteering, followed by 48 percent who identified the desire to “stay healthy and active.”
• Respondents expressed the most interest in volunteering through faith-based or religious groups (45%), by mentoring or tutoring young people (40%), and by helping older adults live independently (38%).
• Respondents also identified key barriers to their civic engagement:
• They prefer to volunteer without a regular schedule (79%).
• They have no time (70%).
• They have not been asked (68%).
• They need to make money (54%).
The report can be downloaded at: http://www.aarp.org/research/family/volunteering/moretogive.html