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Boomers and Beyond: 12 Best Practices Vital to Volunteer Resources in the Future

Boomers and Beyond: 12 Best Practices Vital to Volunteer Resources in the Future

It seems increasingly complex to offer what the different generations of volunteers want, particularly Baby Boomers and Millennials: high impact volunteer opportunities, a range of choices of positions, ways to apply their workplace skills and more. The good news is there is a wealth of research on the topic. The bad news is that many of today’s leaders of volunteers don't have the time to sort through the gigabits of information on generation change, are puzzled by (or sick of) the hype on Boomers, and face real barriers in implementing the necessary modifications in their organizations.

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Mon, 10/18/2010

I couldn't agree with the thesis in this article more! In my work as an organizational change consultant who specializes in volunteer engagement innovation, I am constantly surprised about how little our volunteer world has changed. Truly it is the definition of insanity in action, if we just try harder we will get a different result! And think how hard it is to embrace change when we haven't done so in so long. It is like asking the driver of a covered wagon to use a GPS.

It is equally important to engage Baby Boomer volunteers and the generations that follow them in the innovation process. Let them lead change initiatives; this is precisely the work that they want do do. We have to be authentic in this process and collaborate with volunteers from the get go.

What is possible is incalculable. In had an interesting discussion last week with a new Volunteer Engagement Director who had been an Executive Director for small nonprofits where staff did almost everything. She said, "I never realized what is possible with volunteers leading change; new initiatives, improved leadership development strategies, and the capacity to make it happen".

Our advice to our clients is to start small. Those champions that already exist are just waiting to be asked to lead change. Once you plant the seeds of change, you will begin to create a tipping point for others within your organization to embrace change.

This is the work that we were meant to do. To be agents of change while adding capacity to organizations, it just doesn't get any better than that. Thank you MAVA for this great report.