Thursday, April 05, 2007

Encourage Do Gooder Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers today are volunteering at higher rates than the two generations before them, but their one-in-three attrition rate could be a problem in the future, according to a new study by the Corporation of National and Community Service. More than one in three Baby Boomers (aged 46 to 57 years) volunteer their time, essentially creating a volunteer explosion in the nonprofit sector. If this increase in volunteers is harnessed properly, the capacity of nonprofit organizations can be enhanced by great measures.

Religious organizations top the list of favored volunteer outlets, followed by education or youth services. Less of an emphasis was placed on being involved with civic, political, business and international activities.

The bad news of this study comes from the fact that more than one in three Boomers who volunteer one year do not volunteer the next, and their volunteer slots may not be filled upon their departure. This is troubling, as volunteers are a critical part of the charitable-sector workforce. A 30 percent turnover rate for volunteers is not a good thing for nonprofit success.

Commitment to volunteering among Boomers increases as the number of hours donated grows, with almost eight in 10 people giving 12 or more weeks a year continuing to volunteer. Additionally, there is a strong connection between volunteering and donating. This, in turn could translate the encouragement of volunteering into greater financial and in-kind contributions from volunteers.

Takeaway: boost your nonprofit by communicating a clear purpose and clear opportunity to volunteers.
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