Updated May 2020
Service to others adds an increased sense of well-being and a greater purpose to your life. Research1 suggests volunteer work can increase lifespan when we’re motivated by increased social contact and/or by helping others.
The Corporation for National & Community Service, a U.S. government agency, reports Baby Boomers gave 2.2 billion hours of service, volunteering for activities such as fundraising (36%), food donation and meal preparation (34.2%), mentoring (26.2%), transportation and labor support (23%), tutoring young people (23 %); and lending professional and management expertise (20.5%).
Many volunteers feel it is the most important thing they do and they receive invaluable benefits from their service to others. Sounds great, right? Here are some ideas to help you get involved in volunteering:
Zero In on Your Options
Answer the following questions to pinpoint the type of volunteer work that appeals to you:
- What are the causes you care most about?
- How much time do you want to commit?
- How much responsibility do you want?
- What skills, expertise or knowledge can you bring to the organization?
- Do you prefer to work on your own or as a team member?
- Do you desire a high-profile position, or do you like working behind the scenes?
Understanding your interests and preferences helps you find a volunteer opportunity that makes a difference to you and the organization or cause.
Find Volunteer Opportunities
There are always volunteer opportunities at local schools, libraries, civic groups, hospitals, community theater, historical sites, nonprofits and service organizations, etc. State, regional and national organizations also need volunteer workers. Check the websites of causes that interest you, or check out these databases:
AARP (American Association of Retired Persons):
AARP hosts multiple resources for older adults seeking volunteer opportunities. The Create the Good site directly allows you to search by zip code and interest. AARP’s volunteer portal helps you find volunteer gigs with the organization’s branded services, like TaxAide. The AARP Experience Corps is a mentoring program affiliated with the AmeriCorps national service network.
SCORE (formerly Service Corps of Retired Executives):
SCORE is a network of more than 10,000 volunteers supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration and representing multiple industries. SCORE volunteers use their business expertise to mentor founders and share confidential counsel to entrepreneurs and business owners.
You can also create your own ways of doing good. Establish a group of volunteers in your neighborhood and “adopt” a homebound senior, cook and share healthy meals, gather to help make homes safer, or create a neighborhood program to revive a sense of community.
The benefits of volunteering bring us fulfilment, a sense of purpose and connection to our community. Investigate opportunities to give back today.
Related Blog Posts:
If you enjoyed this article on active senior volunteering, you may also like our blog post on organizing a seniors meet.
1 Motives for Volunteering Are Associated With Mortality Risk in Older Adults
Sara Konrath, University of Michigan and University of Rochester Medical Center;
Andrea Fuhrel-Forbis and Alina Lou, University of Michigan;
Stephanie Brown, University of Michigan and Stony Brook University Medical Center
Health Psychology© 2011 American Psychological Association 2012, Vol. 31, No. 1, 87–96.
0278-6133/11/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0025226;