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Who Are Canada’s Baby Boomers?

Canada’s baby boomers are members of a diverse group born between 1946 and 1964. Some still cope with teenagers at home, others pay university tuition fees, some care for aging parents while still others enjoy their grandchildren. Some baby boomers work full-time, some part-time, while others contemplate retirement or are already retired. Their interests and aspirations are as diverse as they are. They are always looking for new experiences, challenges and how to make a difference. Baby boomers want to stay active in mind and body, make connections and continue to learn.

Because of their sheer numbers, baby boomers influence and redefine every stage of their lives. Volunteering will be no different.

Retaining Your Baby Boomer Volunteers

Once you’ve succeeded in recruiting baby boomer volunteers for your organization, it is important to keep them active and engaged. Some of the same approaches and incentives used to retain your employees can be used to retain your volunteers.

Why baby boomers stop volunteering How to keep them engaged
The expectations weren’t clear. Set up clear orientation processes:

  • Be ready – Once volunteers arrive, don’t keep them waiting.
  • Make volunteers feel welcome – When you first meet your volunteers, offer a tour of the office or event area, make coffee or water available and don’t hold back your enthusiasm.
  • Introduce volunteers to other staff members – Avoid any potential tension between volunteers and staff positions by being clear about roles and responsibilities.
  • Set expectations – Be clear with your volunteers about what is expected of them. Tell them what you need accomplished and act as a resource should they have questions or concerns.
  • Provide enough training – Take time to give them the tools they need to do their volunteer work, including clear guidelines.
They don’t have time.
  • Design episodic volunteer opportunities – Offer flexible schedules, where possible.
  • Make it easy for them – Offer parking permits, bus fare, and schedules that don’t conflict with commuter traffic or meal times.
They don’t feel appreciated.
  • Thank them – Congratulate your volunteers on a job well done. Do it often.
  • Check in – Periodically ask them how comfortable they are with their level of duties.
  • Recognize volunteers who show greater interest by promoting them to positions of greater responsibility.
  • Make it a rewarding experience – Let people know they’re important. Offer perks such as lunch on a long day, or host volunteer appreciation activities.
  • Find out what recognition means to your volunteers – not everyone feels recognized in the same way.
The organization doesn’t “walk its talk.”
  • Actions speak volumes – Be the professional, well-run organization they believe you to be.
  • Remember that for baby boomers, feeling purposeful is key – The more engaged they are, the more likely they are to continue volunteering.
  • Respect their commitment to your cause – Treat them as partners, not subordinates.

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