Tag Archives: AARP

Welcome home baby boomers!

Part two of a two-part series

African American male, baby boomers, community leadership, fundraising, community development, leadership development, AARP, AgingTalented leadership is always in high demand. The question is: where do you look for leaders, who are you overlooking, and how do you effectively sustain their involvement? When recruiting talent for your organization, business or municipality make sure you consider individuals over age 55. Here’s what we know – these “so called seniors” represent a growing percentage of the population, and many have experience, education, and connections that can transform communities and organizations. They can provide valuable leadership in the civic and nonprofit sectors, when called upon.

It is important to consider individual seniors for individual positions in organizations, agencies and businesses. It is equally important to create a local or regional organizational structure that attracts and engages older individuals who want to make an impact. In many communities there is an organized effort to attract and retain young leaders. A similar effort should be made to engage older residents. Care is taken when recruiting younger talent, and similar attention should be paid to the recruitment and engagement of older talent.

For example, when looking at community development, economic growth, transforming education, or increasing cultural opportunities “seniors” can be major contributors. Many have skills, experience and relationships that have been developed over years and decades. Those who had careers as corporate executives and managers have worked in communities across the country and can bring that national exposure and learning to your local community. They can play key roles on local and state civic boards and commissions. Their strategic thinking and board service in other communities can add value to local nonprofit boards.

Creating a structure that focuses on engaging the talent of seniors can yield financial and civic rewards. Such a structure can also serve as a formal way to “welcome home” those seniors who are returning to the community after careers in other parts of the country, or internationally. Consider this: What mechanisms are in place to engage people returning home, to introduce them to current stakeholders, and to facilitate their community engagement?

Evaluate local programs that target young, talented professionals for civic engagement. Could a similar program be developed for talented seniors? What structures can be created to welcome and engage individuals who had successful careers in other parts of the country, as well as those who worked regionally? What meaningful paid and unpaid opportunities are available? This is not a generation looking to “lick envelopes” – these are talented leaders who can strategically add value and help define solutions to pressing civic issues.

Take a look around and see who’s in town. Identify who is coming home and create a strategy to engage them. It’s mutually beneficial: a win for the community, and a win for seniors. Don’t let stereotypes render top local talent invisible.

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Advertisements

Grow your talent pool: recruit people over 55

Part one of a two-part series

 boomers, baby boomers, senior citizens, employment, nonprofit employment, AARP, aging, Talent Pool People over 40Are you overlooking a valuable pool of prospective employees and volunteers? Are you unknowingly operating from out-dated stereotypes of “senior citizens” and leaving talent sitting on the sidelines?

In today’s lexicon “talent” means college educated individuals ages 25 – 35. Maybe 40. But in our experience that’s a limited definition. Here’s what we know. There are many talented individuals over 55 years old who are unengaged, their talent untapped all to the detriment of the communities they live in, and employers seeking a diverse and experienced workforce. Think about it for a moment: early retirement, buy-outs, downsizing, layoffs, corporate restructuring. These all result in skilled, experienced and well-connected individuals who are no longer part of the work-force. Many have proven themselves over-and-over again in the course of their careers. They are up-to-date on technology (despite rampant jokes to the contrary), understand corporate culture, know how to work-to-deadline, mentor, strategize, and innovate. They have been doing it for years!

Many of these individuals need to continue working either full-time or part-time. Others have secured their financial future but want to remain active in the workforce and in their community. Regardless of economics most want to give back, feel connected, and contribute. And many have the skills that nonprofits are looking for. “Soft skills” include the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, strong written and verbal communication skills, networking, ability to work as a member of a diverse team, stability, excellent attendance, maturity, discretion, time management, decision making and more. Experience that easily translates to fund development and fundraising include sales, marketing, training and development, and team building.

If you want top talent for your nonprofit make sure you recruit in ways that result in an applicant pool that includes individuals 55 and over. If you want to attract and retain “seniors” as part of your team, take time to assess your own responses to seniors and look for organizational biases that could your workplace “uninviting.” Are younger managers experienced in managing people older than they are? What is the average age of your workforce? Will you be bringing in one older person or are there others already part of your team? Is your business culture inclusive, respectful and appreciative?

In terms of fundraising and fund development it is important to remember that many of the larger gifts given to nonprofits are made by individuals who are over 50. Having older people as members of your team is crucial. People who are well connected within your community are even more valuable. Add a history of sales or marketing and you may have struck it rich!

When looking for employees and volunteers take proactive measures to ensure your pool of applicants includes qualified, experienced and talented people over 55. The benefits are yours to experience!

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.