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Older generation eyed

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Nonprofits need to adjust their programs to attract the vast volunteering and giving potential of the aging Baby Boomer generation, a new study says.

Boomers, now ages 37 to 57, will cause the over-50 population to grow by 18.3 million people over the next 10 years, says the study by Independent Sector, a research and advocacy group in Washington, D.C.

With nearly half of Americans over 50 volunteering, the coming surge in citizens over age 50 could add 9 million volunteers.

The American Association of Retired Persons, which co-wrote part of the study, suggests nonprofits tailor their volunteer programs to people over 50 by offering more flexible volunteer hours and accommodating volunteers with disabilities and health concerns.

Nonprofits also could create virtual-volunteer programs, such as online tutoring, that take advantage of Boomers’ computer skills and allow them to volunteer without leaving home, the group says.

Nonprofits could benefit from focusing fundraising on this age group because working Americans reach their highest income level after turning 50, the study says.

The study looked at trends in the current over-50 population to understand how Boomers might behave when they are over 50.

Compared to retired people of this age group, working people over 50 are more likely to have a college degree, have volunteered in their youth and had parents who volunteered – all signs of higher adult civic involvement, the study says.

Working people over 50 volunteer nearly 11 hours a week, the study says, while retired people give an average of 18 hours a week.

“Nonprofits would be well served to customize their approach to recruit these volunteers and demonstrate the value of their service to the individual volunteer and organization he or she serves,” Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector, says in a statement.

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