February 24, 2011 in Cam Marston
Millennials have been known as the generation of community service and volunteerism, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Baby Boomers volunteer more than any other generation. About a third of Baby Boomers regularly volunteer. Not only is that higher than the national average today, but it is significantly higher than the volunteer rates for the same age group in the past, showing perhaps that Boomers are still the generation that thinks they can make a difference.
Boomers who are at or close to traditional retirement age have the highest rates of volunteerism but even those in their 50s are pitching in at a higher rate than other generations. “This goes along with the idealistic, change-the-world feelings of their youth,” says Yolanda Rodriguez, who serves on the executive council of AARP in Florida. “For many, it’s about pursuing a lifelong passion.”
Many Boomers are interested in taking on projects, as opposed to mere tasks, as volunteers, according a spokesman for volunteermatch.org. They are interested in donating their skills as experienced managers and professionals. Boomers who volunteer in these capacities are more likely to be satisfied by the experience. Three-quarters of them return from year to year, much higher than the regular volunteer retention rate of 55%. As more Boomers move toward retirement age, while remaining energetic and idealistic, volunteerism could be a hallmark of Boomers’ post-career lives.