HOW YOU BENEFIT: Advantages
Encore-stage adults are more interested in impact than title; many seek purpose over competitive salary. They represent an affordable option for nonprofits as employees, consultants and skilled volunteers. Community Experience Partnership (CEP) promotes strategies that leverage older adults to address pressing civic needs across nine diverse communities.
These characteristics of workers 50+ are particularly valuable to employers, according to a Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey:
- Work experience. Experienced workers hit the ground running.
- Maturity/professionalism. They can be great organizational ambassadors, with valuable networks and contacts.
- Strong work ethic/reliability. They are willing to go the extra mile; they honor commitments and follow through on projects to get the job done.
- Can be mentors. Encore talent can play a vital role in growing new leaders.
The Appeal of Encore Talent
A survey of nonprofit employers, conducted by Peter D Hart Research Associates as part of the 2008 Tapping Encore Talent study, found that many see significant benefits of encore workers.
Valuable Experience: 96 percent see significant (69 percent) or some (27 percent) benefit.
Commitment and reliability: 96 percent see significant (67 percent) or some (28 percent) benefit.
Create multigenerational workplace: 92 percent see significant (47 percent) or some (45 percent) benefit.
Fill important roles: 92 percent see significant (56 percent) or some (36 percent) benefit.
Encore Talent In Action
From systems engineer to ReServist in workforce development nonprofit
Jerry Wheelock, ReServist, Boston Education and Skills Training (BEST): After a career as Principal Systems Engineer, Jerry Wheelock now leads a project to upgrade database software for a workforce development nonprofit in Boston.
Joan Abbot, Assistant Director, BEST: “It is hard to describe how much value he has brought to this organization. As a small nonprofit, there is no way we could afford someone like Jerry, if he wasn’t a ReServist. ReServe is a concept whose time has come.”
Therese Ellery, Senior Program Officer, Rose Community Foundation:
“Organizations are calling us and saying ‘I have a project.’ It’s been exciting to see organizations finally realizing we have an untapped resource in encore talent.”
Len McNally, Former Program Director, New York Community Trust:
“The genie is out of the bottle. Older adults are not going to sit in their apartments. They’re going to stay active civic change agents in their communities.”
- Community Experience Partnership: A six-year initiative of the Atlantic Philanthropies that tapped talents of older adults to tackle community needs. Nine community foundations share lessons from their programs.
- Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM): Preparing for an Aging Workforce Report
- Encore.org: Tapping Encore Talent: A MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Survey of Nonprofit Employers
Brandy Kramer, Project SHINE Program Coordinator:
“Boomers bring many strengths to volunteer work: their ability to focus on the important things and to create sustainable programs. They meet people where they are rather than imposing their own values. They have extensive networks, and when they’re passionate about your work they’ll reach into their network to tap additional resources. Boomers are tenacious but gracious – they won’t just take no for an answer; they’ll keep trying to find an opening.”