Strategies for Recruiting Older Adults

Into Volunteer Roles

The following article was written by Dorothy Jones, Director of Corporate, State & Local Partnerships at the National Partnership for Student Success.

Volunteering can benefit older adults in numerous ways and those benefits are well documented. An independent study in 2019 showed how AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers feel less depressed, are less socially isolated, and have seen an improvement in their health after volunteering for just two years. For older adults in their communities, this sense of belonging is important not only for mental well-being but also as an incentive for them to continue serving. However, many organizations still struggle with recruiting older adults for a variety of reasons, often exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To recruit and retain volunteers, it is important for organizations to create a relationship with the community they are serving and have an understanding of their community’s senior population. Members of the National Partnership for Student Success’ Engaging Older Adults in Student Success Learning Community identified various places and ways to recruit seniors to service.

Find a Volunteer Opportunity Near You:

Answer the call to service to support young people in your area. Find an opportunity in your community to volunteer as a tutor, mentor, or other NPSS-aligned support.

Strategies to Recruit Older Volunteers:

  • Contact senior, retirement, or assisted living/continuing care communities. Seniors who are a part of these facilities are often looking for ways to be involved in service-oriented projects.
  • Libraries often provide programs and services that can help address community needs, including for older adults, and many have dedicated staff to support adult services.
  • Organizations like the YMCA have active senior programs that are great places to build relationships and potentially recruit volunteers.
  • Houses of worship or spiritual centers can be a great place to recruit volunteers focused on supporting their communities.
  • Partner with a local clinic that serves a large older adult population. Often, clinics are looking for opportunities for community involvement for their patients as evidence shows improved mental health around volunteering.
  • According to LJ Generational Reading Survey 2019, baby boomers and silent generations are at the top of the list for being avid readers. Book clubs, libraries, and reading groups can be another place to recruit volunteers.
  • Groups such as bingo halls, car clubs, card clubs, pickleball clubs, and other activity groups serving an older population in your community are worth connecting with and exploring.
  • Cultural organizations can be another place to connect with and give access to the senior populations who are involved within their ethnic, national origin, or spiritual community.
  • Often, active volunteers are aware of other members of the community who might be interested in joining your cause. Asking current volunteers to invite their social circle to explore opportunities with your organization is another great way to recruit new volunteers.
  • Newspapers and magazines specifically targeted towards the senior population is another way of spreading the news. Sometimes larger newspapers also have certain parts of their papers geared specifically towards senior citizens.

Interested in getting involved with the Learning Community? Reach out to Dorothy Jones at for more information.

Reference to any non-U.S. government organization, event or product does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation or favoring of that organization, event or product and is strictly for the information and convenience of the public.

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