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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Young at Heart: Volunteering After Retirement

We just read a very interesting article.

Using Elderly Volunteers To Create A Whole New Workforce by Jack Rosenthal explains the largely untapped potential of retired people to contribute to the market, specifically for nonprofits. Many people face boredom in retirement and want to share their experience and wisdom with younger generations. But, faced with ageism and long hours, it is often difficult to find a place to do so.

Enter ReServe, a nonprofit that matches interested elderly people with organizations in need of knowledgeable part-time help. They create a mutually beneficial relationship where organizations receive good information and aide from an experienced worker, and the worker receives a small stipend and is able to stay busy while contributing to society.

In our experience, the information provided in the article is absolutely true. Only a small percentage of retired workers are disabled or ill, and many still want to contribute. In fact, that's exactly how Volunteer Expeditions was born. Patti had retired, but she wasn't done helping people. And for the last five years, she's sent group after group to New Orleans on volunteer vacations and shared her passion with so many others. By the end of 2012, Patti will be 70 - and she will have sent over 1200 volunteers on meaningful trips!

She isn't alone in this, either. Many of her trips are for religious congregations, which have a wide age range. Her very first group had volunteers as young as 17 and as old as 75! She also has several friends who have started nonprofits of their own as well once they retired, and many others volunteer regularly.

Patti and her diverse groups and friends make it clear that just because someone is past retirement age doesn't mean they are unable to help. With their experience and wisdom, many elderly people have quite a lot to contribute.

Do you work, even though you've retired? In a nonprofit or anywhere else? Tell us about it in the comment section below!

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