Aging and charity – How to Connect with an Older Population
With more than 1,000 Americans reaching retirement age EVERY DAY Ronn Torossian believes there is an elephant in the room every nonprofit needs to soon address. How to get – and keep – an aging population engaged.
Statistics tell us that boomers, much more than their parents, are looking for fun in retirement, not necessarily just “leisure.” However, they are also looking for ways to volunteer. After all, other polls also prove that the idea of spending your golden years golfing wears thin after about a year for most folks. They want to be engaged, and they want to feel useful again.
There’s a new survey out that, Torossian says, offers some insight into how charities can get older volunteers on board even as society continues to age. Some of this news is not so good.
The current generation one might call “elderly” is extremely generous with their time and their finances. However, the current group of boomers beginning to hang up their day job are increasingly saddled with other concerns. They have more debt than their parents, and more grandparents are dealing with additional parenting duties. Occasional visits are becoming full time jobs as both parents work or more families consist of single-parent units.
So how can you recruit these folks to your cause? Here are several tips for attracting and involving retirees in your non-profit work:
Focus on the social aspect of the work
In most cases, when people retire they also lose a significant amount of their social interaction. Volunteering can be a great way to get that back. So make sure all of your efforts are inviting and encourage social interaction. Everyone loves to go where they have friends and do what their friends are doing.
Invite the guys
Look, it’s a fact that, when it comes to retirees, women outnumber the men by a wide margin. So, if you get the guys there, you can just about bet the women will follow. Plus, if you make your cause attractive to the men, you will often engage couples, getting two volunteers where you might otherwise just have one.
Create challenges and short-term projects
Many boomers are coming from very successful careers in a dog-eat-dog marketplace. They want a challenge, and you can provide it for them. Just be sure to create projects and challenges that are relatively short-term and have obvious success metrics. People of all ages want to be able to “see” or “experience” their successes, but this is especially true for retirees.
As your non-profit looks to continue its work into the future, you need to take these tips into consideration. Fail to do so, and you might find yourself in a very difficult situation.