5 Surprising Stats for Nonprofits on the Value of Senior Volunteers

By eleventy marketing group

A growing segment of the volunteer population is providing nonprofits increasing valueA strong volunteer force adds impact and exposure to your nonprofit. More active volunteers means you can accomplish more goals. It means more fundraising events and efforts to further your mission. It also keeps your organization prolific and personified in the community. It reminds people of your brand and the good you’re doing, and can spark the interest of others in getting involved.

Your volunteers make a big difference for your nonprofit across the board. That’s why it’s important to keep an active and growing volunteer base. Some new volunteering statistics from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) in Washington, D.C., show a key opportunity for growth.

Senior Volunteering Reaching New Heights

The stats below come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, and they are from 2011 (the most reason year volunteering statistics are available). They show volunteering by seniors making a big jump over the past decade.

Volunteering by senior citizens hit a 10-year high in 2011

1 in 3 U.S. volunteers are age 55 or older

More than 20 million senior volunteers contributed nearly 3 billion of hours of service in 2011, at a value of $67 billion

Senior volunteers made up 31.2% of the volunteer force in 2011, up from 25.1% in 2002

Nearly three-quarters (72.4%) of seniors are volunteering informally by doing favors for and helping out their neighbors—7 points higher than the national average

A Unique Marketing Opportunity for Nonprofits

Seniors have always played an essential role in nonprofit organizations. They make up a large portion of many nonprofit donor bases, and are often more open to supporting different causes. But the sharp rise in volunteers is a fairly new phenomenon.

With the life span increasing, and more seniors remaining active and healthy thanks to new knowledge and technology, seniors are becoming an increasingly valuable volunteer asset. It’s projected that, by 2030, 1 in 5 Americans (more than 72 million people) will be 65 or older. That means older Americans are a growing population that will play a growing role in the volunteer force for nonprofits moving forward.

Along the Same Lines, But Outside the Box

Nonprofits should make an effort to recruit more senior volunteers for online fundraisingOnline involvement is another area where senior activity continues to increase. Last summer, the Pew Internet & American Life Project reported for the first time, half of Americans age 65 and older are online. More seniors are joining social networks to connect with friends and family than ever before.

That opens another opportunity for nonprofits. Older Americans can also play active roles in online fundraising. Don’t dismiss this important demographic when marketing your online efforts. You may be surprised how many seniors are willing to get involved on the Web.

Key Takeaways & Tips

  • Make an active effort to target and recruit senior volunteers
  • Encourage your seniors volunteers to get family and friends involved
  • Spotlight the contributions of senior volunteers in donor communications
  • Test a campaign to get seniors on board with online fundraising