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Perspectives and Policies on the Retirement of Older Volunteers

Perspectives and Policies on the Retirement of Older Volunteers

Adults 65 and older are an increasing demographic, with many retired from work and reinvesting some of their time into volunteering. A new challenge for volunteer administrators is managing these older adults and, eventually, managing their decisions to withdraw or retire from volunteering.

This segment of older, volunteering adults was a major concern of U.S. and Canadian volunteer administrators who responded to a survey in a study reviewed in this issue’s Research to Practice. Almost 80 percent of the respondents were concerned with volunteers retiring or aging out, and the resulting impact on their volunteers, volunteer programs, and organizations. Few indicated that their organization had policies related to this issue, which led to a logical conclusion: though a lot of attention is paid to recruitment and retention of volunteers, it is now time to add volunteer retirement to the conversation.

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Sun, 01/05/2020
The greatest swathe of retiring volunteers is in our retail sector with high numbers of volunteers between 70 and 90 years of age. Last month one person retired at 100.5 not due to the cancer they have (and is on our books for) but due to arthritis. We introduce conversations about other activities for volunteers finding their present roles too taxing. We (the entire team of paid and volunteer staff) provide full supports for volunteers becoming patients or dying for other reasons. We attend funerals and provide support in bereavement. We have legacy discussions with volunteers who are leaving for whatever reason, to find out what we don't know. A volunteer doesn't stop being a volunteer unless they specifically ask to and then we ensure they no longer receive any mail including donation requests as that is disrespectful. They have completed their donor period.