HOW YOU BENEFIT: Transferable Skills

Nonprofits must be increasingly nimble, driven by results, grounded in evidence and collaboration (see Alliance for Strong Families and Communities’ report on this topic). People shifting to the nonprofit sector bring skills relevant to key nonprofit functions, such as development, marketing, finance, human resources, technology and strategic planning.

Those working in encores report that people skills, organizational management, project leadership and human-services experience were essential to their success. These skills developed in the for-profit sector transfer well into nonprofits, according to The Bridgespan Group:

  • Influence. Able to influence colleagues and peers toward action without reporting-line authority.
  • Managing. Adept at managing and developing people at all levels of organizations
  • Adaptability. A flexible style, developed by working with different types of employees and clients in a variety of situations.
  • Stakeholder relationships. Can establish common goals and achieve results across multiple stakeholders.
  • Operational experience. Able to multi-task and engage a number of functional areas.
  • Working with financial constraints. Creative and persuasive skills to accomplish work with limited resources.

The 50+ population is also ideally suited for direct service volunteer roles. See Tap Volunteers for useful information on engaging encore talent as volunteers.​

Encore Talent in Action

From computer programmer to nonprofit music school  

JimMcNernyJim McNerney, Experience Matters Encore Fellow and Project Lead, Phoenix Conservatory of Music (PCM): After a career as a programmer for Intel, Jim McNerney combined his passion for music with his technical skills to create three recording studios and launch a music technology curriculum for PCM.


regina2Regina Nixon, Executive Director, Phoenix Conservatory of Music: “Without Jim and his technical expertise and passion, coupled with the [Encore Fellows] funding and Experience Matters resources, PCM would not have been able to get this project off the ground!” 

Read more.

Encore Talent in Action

From Burger King franchise manager to nonprofit director

stuartrayStuart Ray, Executive Director, Guiding Light Mission: When Ray took on the Guiding Light lead role, the organization was $300,000 in debt with virtually no assets. Today the program, which offers a shelter, substance abuse counseling and employment support, is debt-free with a much bigger budget.

“For me, the work I do here is about economic development,” he says. “It took me nine months to figure that out, but every one of these guys has special gifts and talents … as I look at it, God gives everyone special gifts and talents; how do I facilitate those? It’s exactly what I did at Burger King. My last 10 years were really about human potential.”

Read more.


  • Communication (written, speaking, advocacy)
  • Management (people, teams, projects, operations)
  • Adaptability and capacity to connect (relationships, partnerships)
  • Research
  • Organization
  • Sales and marketing
  • Planning and analysis

Sources: Bridgestar, Common Good Careers, Idealist Careers

How You Benefit

Judy Strand, CEO of Metropolitan Family Services, described Encore Fellow Cheryl Edmonds:

“I saw her innovative spirit and her ability to move us beyond where we were in some ways. She was a person who challenged us to think in new ways and I really welcome that kind of leadership. She had the personal integrity and commitment and the strict trueness to get this done despite the fact that we both knew the work was not going to be easy.”


Encore Impact on Children and Youth

Encore Fellows bring relevant skills and commitment to nonprofits serving children and youth, with tangible results. Researchers at Boston College Center on Aging and Work studied fellow contributions, documenting lasting impact on the nonprofits they served. Here are three outcomes they found:

  • Metropolitan Family Services gained an Encore Consultants Program.
  • Science Foundation Arizona gained an expanded STEM Network.
  • Green City Force increased its sustainability.

Greg Stanton, Phoenix Mayor:

“I know firsthand the benefits of engaging experienced boomers. They’re a valuable and much-needed community resource.”