Ever Thought of Older People and Volunteering?
A Practical Checklist for organisations involving older people as volunteers
- Have fully operational equal opportunities policies which encourage older people to volunteer and to be involved more effectively.
- Try not to adopt a narrow view of what activities are suitable for older volunteers. A choice of volunteering roles, including those which are physically and mentally taxing, should be offered.
- Build flexibility into the volunteering role to allow older people to carry on with other things going on in their lives.
- Support older volunteers well - do not throw them in at the deep end, or ask them to put in more time than they can spare.
- Follow good practice in the management of volunteers in all instances, e.g volunteer policy, recruitment and selection, induction, training, supportand supervision.
- Try to offer older volunteers something new and different from what they have been doing all their lives.
- Offer training - the opportunity to learn should be given in a variety of formats to suit various preferred methods of learning.
- Make your volunteers feel empowered and consult and involve them in the development of their volunteering
- Be creative, and consider if there are tasks within the organisation which individual older volunteers or a group would be able to undertake and run as their own project, with back-up support.
- Match older people to tasks based on their interests, abilities and skills.
- Market volunteering to older people as something which could meet their needs and provide a new, exciting, even enjoyable, leisure activity.
- Follow good practice in management of volunteers in all instances e.g. volunteer policy, recruitment and selection, induction, training, support and supervision.
- Overcome obstacles, such as lack of transport or expenses - this will make it easier for older people to volunteer.