Avatar of Tom


New Ways to Make the Perfect Volunteer Match

March 8, 2013 in Engaging Wisdom


  • Older adult volunteers can co-lead with volunteer coordinators.
  • They can help to recruit and engage their colleagues–and double the number of volunteers providing aging services.

The Need for Strong Recruiters:

Imagine what talent search firms, outplacement firms, organizational development specialists, and temp placement firms do. The skill sets and competencies these private sector services use are bundled into the position descriptions of volunteer program directors and coordinators and encompass what they do day in and day out.

Performing this broad range of skills and competencies is what it takes to run volunteer programs and make and maintain “perfect matches” that provide hundreds of thousands of volunteers a meaningful, productive, and satisfying experience while giving human services organizations and agencies greater capacity to respond to the needs of the people  they serve.

However, with 10,000 people turning age 65 and 6,000 retiring every day, the number of “perfect matches” will have to double to keep pace with the growing need for aging services and larger numbers of potential volunteers. Soon, making “perfect matches” through individual position descriptions will be too much for the number of volunteer coordinators we have. New approaches will be required.

How Volunteers Provide Solutions:

Recent developments in older adult volunteer engagement clearly demonstrate that many existing and potential volunteers have what it takes—the necessary training, skills, and experience—to work alongside staff to develop, lead, and support increased numbers and types of engagement opportunities and numbers of older adult volunteers.  When skilled volunteers assume these co-leadership roles, the potential to double the number of volunteers is much greater.

When volunteers take on co-leadership roles, after an initial start-up period, the time and energy required on the part of the organization and the staff to manage volunteers are greatly reduced. The end result is

  • Increased and higher levels of volunteer engagement.
  • Greater alignment between organizational needs and volunteer interests.
  • Increased, more person-center services.
  • Improved holistic response to the needs of persons served.
  • Greater progress toward meeting the missions of the organizations.

If training and technical were available to lead and support your organization to shift gears to create higher-level engagement opportunities and increase your volunteer forces, would you do so? Do you have additional thoughts or suggestions for us to consider? Please share your answer in the Comments below.

Leave a Comment

Name and email are required. In the name field, please enter your first name and last initial.


Share Your Story

How have volunteers made an impact in your organization or community? Tell us! Submit your story!

Get Our Updates

Learn more about The Aging Network's Volunteer Collaborative. Sign up!