Recruiting Baby Boomers As Volunteers

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Baby boomers are busy people. There is lots of competition for their attention and their time, so you’ll need strategic and targeted recruitment efforts.

The four C’s of recruitment

  1. Connect to boomers
    Reach and connect to baby boomers through key influencers, like their peers. If you have baby boomer volunteers already involved in your organization, they are your very best recruitment ambassadors. Research shows that word of mouth promotion is one of the best ways to recruit volunteers. Encourage your current baby boomer volunteers to spread the word and encourage others to get involved.Baby boomers are highly influenced by expert opinion. Use evidence-based research findings or testimonials from experts or high profile members of the community.

    Many of Canada’s baby boomers are in the workforce – either full-time or part-time – so workplaces are important places to connect with them. Target workplaces that match the volunteer needs of your organization. Explain how employees’ particular qualifications would help further your cause. If there are baby boomers nearing retirement connect with them and give a personal invitation to find out more about volunteering with your organization. One way to do this is to get on the agenda of retirement planning seminars or “lunch and learn” events offered through HR departments.

    You can also connect with baby boomer volunteers out in the community. Consider organizing activities and services that families can do together and offer opportunities for intergenerational volunteering. For example, many families are looking for opportunities to give of their time during the holiday season. Look for opportunities to speak about your organization at places where baby boomers gather – like running clubs, yoga studios, lectures, arts or sports events. Have your best and brightest ambassadors there to talk to about volunteering. And don’t forget your own clients! Users of your services will very often come back to volunteer. You just need to ask.

    Finally, connect with potential baby boomer volunteers online. More and more baby boomers are looking for information of every kind online. An easy way to promote your volunteer opportunities is to make sure that they can “Google” you to find the information they need. There are also several options for posting your recruitment message online through your local volunteer centre’s website, CharityVillage.com or Workopolis. When they click the link and go to your website, make sure that your website is current and welcoming. Since many baby boomers are also using social networking sites, consider connecting with them there. To find out more about new media tools like blogs, wikis, social networks and podcasts, click here.

  2. Create key messages
    When you have a sense of where to connect with potential baby boomer volunteers, you’ll need to create key messages that build on what we know about baby boomers and what motivates them.

    Motivations for baby boomers General recruitment messages
    Commitment to a cause-and making a difference Volunteering builds your community.Link the volunteer position directly to the mission of the organization
    Personal development (mental and spiritual) Find new purpose.
    Concern for health and well being Boost your health and reduce your stress.
    Meet other people who share interests and passions Volunteering is social networking–and fun.
  3. Customize for different baby boomer audiences
    Baby boomers are a huge group with wide ranging ages, interests and backgrounds so you will need to segment your audience and recruit accordingly. For example, baby boomers who were born in South Asia may not relate to boomer pop references from North America. Similarly, baby boomers who were born in the 1960s have different priorities than older boomers.
  4. Communicate widely with high quality materials
    Baby boomers respond to professional high quality packaging so keep that in mind when you create and assemble your recruitment materials (like annual reports, mission statements, position descriptions, goals and program descriptions, etc.) Make sure that your online and print communication materials have the same high quality standards. Use your local media to publicize your cause or your service at every opportunity and appeal to experienced seasoned members of the community directly. Research shows that of the top volunteers in Canada 20% responded to information in the media.

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