Vital Aging Network

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Reshaping Volunteer Opportunities

Organizations and agencies that use volunteers are asking whether they possess the infrastructure to support an emerging generation of volunteers, who will be seeking opportunities that offer unique experiences, challenging positions, and additional flexibility. Not only must these organizations appeal to a more diverse population, but they must provide a different kind of volunteer opportunity. The need is great. The challenge is finding the right way to attract active and independent individuals to solve the issues communities face.

Volunteers want meaningful experiences, a chance to learn new skills, and flexibility through short-term assignments. Organizations are getting creative. Some agencies are incorporating exchange programs for volunteers who live in different locations at different times of the year. Other agencies are using incentives such as tuition reimbursement, opportunities to volunteer as a group with family members or colleagues, and assistance with health care costs.

As communities’ needs continue to grow, the involvement of older adults through volunteer service will become increasingly important.

Page Author: Dawn Lindblom

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