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Saturday, 11 May 2013

#10ideas that may help you attract older #volunteers

as early retirement becomes rarer in industrialised nations and people remain in the workplace longer those who recruit volunteers for the non-profit sector need to consider how such factors are likely to affect how they attract volunteers  

the 10 points below are ones I have summarised from the material in this paper (the paper is by Brayley, Nadine, Obst, Patricia L., White, Katherine M., Lewis, Ioni M.,Warburton, Jeni, & Spencer, Nancy (2013) and is formally titled "Exploring the validity and predictive power of an extended volunteer functions inventory within the context of episodic skilled volunteering by retirees. Journal of Community Psychology. [In Press]")

the paper is based on a sample (described in the paper as adequate yet small ) of 187 (M = 103 F= 81) older individuals who were residents of Queensland State in Australia with vocational experience in business management, business development, human resources, information technology, finance, accounting, marketing, or promotions. (The small sample has been subjected to various statistical analysis - and the selected skill sets were based on the reported needs of rural agencies, and the desire to optimise the worth of the research findings to service providers)

so here are the 10 points ....

1) think transition through part time work to retirement - many older workers expect their transition to retirement to include a period of part-time work - so how are you providing part time opportunities that may become volunteer opportunities when the part time person retires?

2) think episodic volunteering - also referred to as ‘new’ volunteering - which is short term or discrete, task-specific volunteering, where the boundaries are clearly defined.  this may be more attractive to older people who may now be seeking greater variety in volunteering opportunities which are strongly aligned with their personal interests and which allow them to continue to use their accumulated life skills.  

3) think baby boomers - remember that the highly educated baby boomer generation (i.e., individuals born 1946-1965) - many of who have worked in professional fields  - are beginning to enter retirement and they may be more attracted to skilled volunteering opportunities. 

4) think skilled volunteering - so a style of volunteering which involves the use of people's work related knowledge and expertise, on a voluntary basis, within non-profit agencies.  

5) think VFI (volunteer functions inventory)  - a 30 item motivational assessment tool used when exploring the psychosocial motives underlying and predicting retired business professionals’ engagement in episodic, skilled volunteering  (and its suggestion that all psychological and social motivations can be explained through six core functions). 
i) Values (for altruistic reasons) 
ii) Enhancement (to enhance their self-esteem)
iii) Protective (to negate negative affects)
iv) Career (to facilitate employment or career advancement
v) Social (to adhere to the normative influence of important others or for companionship)
vi) Understanding (to promote personal learning)

6) think significant predictors of or intention to volunteer - which this paper suggests are the functions of values (see point 6 above) and continuity (see points 7 below and related issues in points 8 and 9 below)

7) think  continuity - so for those who have held professional roles how does volunteering allow them to continue to use their vocational skills.

8) think maintenance of self identity  - people's adaptation to ageing may be facilitated through the maintenance of existing internal and external life structures which individuals strive to achieve by “applying familiar strategies in familiar arenas of life”.  so for example the use of gained skills and the opportunity to function within a work setting may also support individual’s professional identity which - for retired business professionals - remains an important part of their self concept.

9) think familiarity - at the core of continuity theory is the notion that adjustment to ageing is achieved by seeking familiarity in one’s internal and external pursuits

10) think coping strategies for ageing - Individuals may seek external continuity also as a mechanism for coping with physical and cognitive changes typically aligned with normal ageing

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