Baby Boomers “The Golden Age of Volunteering”
Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 11:50 am
Aging Baby Boomers will create a golden age of volunteering over the next decade, according to demographer Bernard Salt.
But Salt says Not for Profit organisations will need to learn to manage the expectations of the intelligent and opinionated generation if they are to effectively harness their volunteering potential.
Speaking at the 13th National Conference on Volunteering, Salt says that according to the last census, the peak age for
|Bernard Salt says the an 'active retirement' for Baby Boomers has huge potential for volunteering. [Photo: Ryan Witcombe]|
volunteering in Australia is 65-79 – with 24% of people in this age bracket volunteering. Salt says that over the next decade, this age group is set to blow out by 800,000 – this means there will be an extra 200,000 people volunteering.
With the average retirement age in Australia at 58, and the average life expectancy hitting 82, there is now a 20 year gap between the retirement and death, something Salt refers to as the ‘sweet spot’ of volunteering.
Salt says as baby boomers approach retirement age, they will not cease activities and will turn to volunteering. He says Not for Profit and other volunteer-involving organisations will need to package and market to this generation and their expectations.
Salt says Baby Boomers are different to generations that have come before them – they are highly educated, articulate and opinionated, and are accustomed to trading, not giving things away for nothing. He says volunteer organisations will have to manage their expectations, and engage with Baby Boomers in a way which recognises their skills.
Looking forward to the next 10 years, Salt says surges in the following demographic groups will also have a big impact for volunteering:
- Kids – with 70,000 more babies born per year than in 2000, volunteering activities related to children such as school canteens, playgroups and schools will have a greater need.
- Young Adults – The current surge of international students means that there will be a large number of young adults over the next ten years. For these Gen-Y’s, charitable organisations, conservation and animal welfare organisations will be important causes. Gen Y’s are attracted to sexy volunteering , and with ‘adolescents’ as Salt defines it now stretching until the age of 30, volunteering sits well with this group.
Other demographic challenges facing volunteering includes what Salt describes as a ‘demographic erosion’ across the wheat belt and inland Australia as people move to the coast. He says this will lead to an increasing need for volunteers are services are eroded.
He says Australia’s changing ethnic makeup, with higher levels of migration from Asia rather than more traditional sources, means Not for Profit organisations will need to be aware of changing Australian culture.
Bernard Salt is a social demographer and a partner at KPMG. Volunteering Australia’s National Conference is on in Melbourne until October 29.
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