Study: Tap Civic Talents

Aging Today, September/October 2008 | Go to article overview

Study: Tap Civic Talents


A new report on the potential volunteer contributions of the boomers and older generations calls for a national debate and response to open the way toward more civic involvement of midlife and older people in the United States. "We have talked too long about the potential of these remarkable generations, without doing enough to unleash their civic potential," conclude the distinguished authors of More to Give: Tapping the Talents of the Baby Boomer, Silent and Greatest Generations, a report released in September by Civic Enterprises and commissioned by AARP.

The study, based on a representative national telephone survey of 1,012 adults ages 44-79, plus focus groups in four cities, was conducted by pollster Peter D. Hart and written by Civic Enterprises CEO John M. Bridgeland, Harvard University professor and Bowling Alone author Robert D. Putnam, and former U.S. Senator Harris L. Wofford, chair of America's Promise.

The study found that four in 10 (41%) Americans in their middle or later years - those the authors label Experienced Americans - reported that they are very or somewhat likely to volunteer in the coming five years, and nearly as many of those already retired (39%) said they did increase their volunteering when they retired.

A majority (53%) of those surveyed stated that they are unimpeded by health concerns or caregiving for relatives in their home, and 52% of respondents said that they were primarily motivated to volunteer by a desire to "help people in need." In addition, 48% identified the wish to "stay healthy and active" as a principal reason for getting involved as volunteers. …

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