TAP VOLUNTEERS: Recruit
Spread the word that you welcome encore-stage volunteers, and refine strategies to include them. Networking and word of mouth offer the most promise, according to a Conference Board survey of nonprofits. Additional resources: your website and social media, volunteer recruitment centers and websites, and organizations that recruit encore talent.
Networking and Word of Mouth
Ask people in your network about others with the talent mix that your organization needs. Here are some ideas for leveraging existing networks:
Employees. Your employees understand your culture, and are in a good position to spread the word about volunteer openings and/or talent needs.
Volunteers and donors. Volunteers and donors may be open to expanding their commitments. Many donors seek engagement that goes beyond the checkbook, as the National Council of Nonprofits recognized in their 2015 trends report.
Board members. Your board members are ambassadors to industry and community leaders. Their networks are potentially rich reservoirs of SBV encore talent.
Community networks and partnerships. Community networks and partnerships get you in front of people 50+. To recruit encore talent, connect with organizations that focus on the 50+ population. AARP, Area Agencies on Aging and community centers are examples of possible partner organizations. Places where people gather also build awareness: faith communities, health clubs, condo associations, senior communities, libraries and social clubs.
Professional associations. Associations for lawyers, HR specialists, accountants and health care workers and finance professionals are networks where you might find interested professionals. For a database of professional associations, visit the Career One Stop Business Center.
Corporate networks and retiree groups. Companies with active employee volunteer programs can extend impact through SBV with their 50+ employees. Additionally, corporate retiree groups often have volunteering components.
Colleges and universities. Higher education is exploring new models to engage the 50+ demographic. Some institutions have noncredit encore transition classes. For example, Pace University in New York offers an Encore Transition Program for executives and professionals, and the University of Minnesota offers an Encore Transitions series. Academic retiree groups often incorporate volunteering. For example, the University of Washington’s encore initiative connects UW community members with social-impact opportunities.
Conferences. Encore-stage professionals often attend nonprofit conferences to network and learn more about specific sectors.
Those who approach you. Keep a master list of people who approach your organization, and include them in your outreach.
Your Website and Social Media
People interested in your organization will find you online. Review your website and social-media presence to ensure inclusive messaging and multigenerational appeal.
Your website. Be sure that online images accurately reflect the diversity of your employee and volunteer base, including age diversity, and that the site invites visitors to look further. Does your volunteering section clearly welcome people of all ages? Are volunteer positions written with attention to key encore motivators, and do they leverage skills that encore volunteers want to share? Do you invite users to propose ways to volunteer?
Social Media. Adults age 50 and up are one of the fastest-growing demographics when it comes to social media. Be sure your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram sites reflect age diversity to build credibility with the 50+ population.
Brandy Kramer, Volunteer Coordinator, Spring Institute for Intercultural Learning
“You’re doing your organization a disservice if you don’t think about boomers as a resource and invest time in recruiting them as skilled volunteers. They have great experience, knowledge and networks that will help you accomplish a lot more than you could without them.”
Recruiting corporate volunteers
Recruiting Encore-Stage Board Members
Organizations Facilitating Encores
Established volunteer programs provides structure, training and placement and can be great sources of encore talent. Volunteers typically commit for a specific time period or project; some earn stipends or transferable education benefits. Consider these examples: link to Resources page
Boomers Leading Change in Health appeals to encore-stage adults by highlighting impact, social change and measurable results.
Volunteer Recruitment Centers and Websites
LinkedIn is a growing resource for finding skilled volunteers. Nonprofits post opportunities and can sort LinkedIn’s database to find potential volunteers.
Organizations Facilitating Encores
Established volunteer programs provides structure, training and placement and can be great sources of encore talent. Volunteers typically commit for a specific time period or project; some earn stipends or transferable education benefits. Consider these examples:
AARP Foundation Experience Corps. places tutors and mentors in schools, helping children in grades K-3 learn to read. Volunteers work part-time during the school year.
Encore Fellowships are time-limited, high-impact placements in nonprofit, social-enterprise or government organizations for experienced people transitioning into the social sector. Fellows work for a defined amount of time (1,000 hours, part- or full-time) and earn a stipend. Projects focus on capacity building.
Executive Service Corps is a network of more than 25 organizations that draw on the experience of seasoned executives and professionals to help nonprofits expand capacity. ESC volunteers work as consultants, advisors and coaches, often as part of a team.
Experience Matters in Maricopa County, AZ places skilled, encore-stage adults in nonprofits and government agencies for short-term (up to one year) projects.
Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps Program (JVE) recruits volunteers 50+ for part-time direct-service projects, serving vulnerable populations in Oregon and Washington. Roles include working in food pantries and hospitality centers, mentoring vulnerable children, and education and advocacy work.
ReServe connects experienced adults with public and private organizations in roles where they can have impact in their communities. ReServists earn stipends, and typically serve part-time on a flexible schedule.
RSVP is a large volunteer network for people 55+. RSVP’s focus areas include economic opportunity, healthy futures, education, veterans and military families, and environmental stewardship.
Encore Talent for Capital Building Project
Nonprofit: Friends of the Children, Portland, Oregon
Volunteer: Renee Rhiner, Senior Project Manager to Intel Encore Career Fellow
Placed by: Social Venture Partners Portland
Social Venture Partners Portland found Intel Encore Career Fellow Renee Rhiner. For 24 years, Renee managed building projects and teams for Intel, bringing exactly the expertise needed for the project.
“Renee’s work on the capital project will last for 75 years. How’s that for impact?” Mark Young, Executive Director, Friends of the
Volunteer Recruitment Centers and Websites
When Candidates Approach You
If your efforts to attract encore talent are successful, people will approach you. First impressions matter: Ensure that applicants have a positive experience, every step along the way.
Boomer Volunteer Engagement offers a simple process: start with a warm welcome and conduct an exploratory interview to determine interest, experience, skills, connection with mission and potential fit. Answer questions and explore why the potential volunteer is interested in your organization. Make introductions to appropriate functional areas in the organization – and be sure to follow up.
Foster a longer-term relationship even if you don’t initially see ways to leverage the applicant’s skills. It makes sense to build a bank of potential talent, as your organization’s needs will evolve over time.