16 November 2005
Volunteers of America and The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College yesterday released a new publication, "Expanding the Boundaries of Corporate Volunteerism," focusing on the aging Baby Boom generation, or those born between 1946 to 1964, and corporate volunteering trends.
Published with grant support from Atlantic Philanthropies, the publication provides new research about the United States’ aging labor force and suggests ways the private and public sectors can tap into the talent and energy of the Baby Boom generation in their volunteer programmes while preparing their own employees for a lifetime of volunteering.
“With nearly one-fifth of the workforce projected to be age 55 or older by 2015, older workers will be essential to the success of both private and public sector organizations,” said Jimmie Paschall, executive vice president of external affairs at Volunteers of America. “The findings of this research have important social implications for both for and nonprofits and provide rich insights into the rapidly changing environment with regard to the civic engagement of America’s growing senior population.”
During the past several decades, employee volunteer programmes have emerged as an important component of the American workplace, offering benefits to companies, employees, nonprofit organizations, and local communities. Volunteers of America and The Center for Corporate Citizenship believe employee volunteer programmes are likely to expand as organizations move to integrate and align employee volunteer programmes into the larger corporate citizenship strategies of their organizations.
The research involved examining the attitudes of 1,000 workers -- both retired and active -- through focus groups and survey research. Twenty-two companies located throughout the United States and representing a variety of industry sectors participated. Executives within the companies were also interviewed to gain an understanding of the scope of corporate practices and attitudes regarding volunteerism and the role of employees and retirees.
“This research is a call for companies to realize that the value of retired employees must be recognized and nurtured before they stop reporting to work on a daily basis,” said Bradley K. Googins, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College. “It also reaffirms the benefits a company receives from the civic engagement of its employees and the importance of maintaining good will with retirees and making them a strategic part of a corporate volunteer programme.”
Key findings from the research include:
- For most companies, retirees are not seen as a strategic part of volunteer programmes;
- More corporate leadership is needed in addressing issues of the aging workforce, including how to best integrate older employees and retirees into volunteer programmes;
- There is a business case for maintaining good will with retirees and including retirees and alumni in volunteer programmes;
- Employees and retirees express a solid interest in volunteering through the workplace;
- Volunteer programmes must capitalize on the interest by understanding and addressing the changing needs and expectations of employees and retirees;
- Businesses have an important role to play in helping employees and retirees navigate transitions in and between work and civic engagement.
The Center for Corporate Citizenship at Boston College is a membership-based research organization and a leading resource on corporate citizenship.
Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit organization providing projects for poor families and homeless people in America's rural communities.