Retirees Lend a Helping Hand to United Ways

The United Way Retirees Association is starting to collect information about United Ways using retiree volunteers - either former United Way staff or other community retirees.  We are interested in spreading the word about how local United Ways can involve retirees in their work.  
To date several UWRA members and United Ways have responded to our call for information – thank you!  Below are a few highlights from the responses.  
Responses from UWRA Members:
To date nine UWRA members have shared information about United Way volunteering. A few respondents were asked by their local United Way to help out in some capacity; however, the majority either kept in touch since retirement or offered their assistance. A key piece of advice to fellow United Way retirees was offered to those who may be interested in staying involved with a local United Way on a volunteer basis: 
If the United Way does not call you, you should call them to say you would like to volunteer. 
Types of activities our retirees reported they were involved in: 
  • Helping to start a retiree group
  • Serving on Committees/Councils/Boards – Women Initiatives, Community Impact and Advisory, etc.
  • Directing or assisting with special projects
  • Promoting Planned and Tocqueville gifts/advising on Planned Giving 
  • Local United Way historian
A sample of comments about their volunteer service at the local United Way: 
  • I think it is important to continue supporting financially as well as supporting their programs. I want them to be successful.
  • Keeps you connected with the United Way system, fellow workers, and the work of UWW, especially in the small cities.
  • It's the least that I can do, and besides, it's fun!
  • As former UW staff it is what we know and believe it.  We trust the process and have skills to share.  It makes a difference in our community.
  • Ex staff can play an important role in preserving the history of a local United Way. 
  • Because I worked for the United Way I love it and I also believe in what they do
  • I have been thinking of going to talk our UW Exec about starting a management assistance center at the United Way since we have so many talented people in this community that could help non profits with their talents on a management level.
Responses from United Ways: 
To date five United Ways have shared how they recruit and use retiree volunteers.  The number of retiree volunteers per United Way range from one to 50!  The Metro IV United Way that reported they currently use approximately 50 community retirees actively recruit and use them in various capacities:
Many come from our University, as they were volunteers when they worked for the University and just continue in their retirement.  We also recruit through articles in the newspaper, Rotary and other service clubs, schools, and churches….We love them to death.  Activities engaged in include: Fund Distribution Committee, Board of Directors, Campaign Committee, VITA program, Nominating Committee, Day of Caring, Special Events. Sue Panek, Executive Director, Oshkosh Area United Way 
While the majority of retiree volunteers were from the community, several United Ways reported engaging United Way retirees to assist in such areas as planned giving, impact council, fund raising and marketing.  The ways the respondent United Ways engage their community retiree volunteers include: 
  • Invited past contributors (recently retired) from a local industry to a lunch meeting to brainstorm on campaign and ended up with committed campaign volunteers
  • Serve on Board and Committees
  • Make campaign calls on other retired persons  
As one Executive commented about their retiree volunteers: They are wonderful!  We added another retiree to our allocations committee, and he has a keen analytical mind with a background in logistics.  Has brought great ideas to improve our process!
One United Way respondent indicated she would love to get ideas on what type of recognition other United Ways give to their retiree volunteers – so we have added this question to our survey.  If you have information to share on retiree volunteers, we would love to hear from you so that we can spread the word on how to best potentially tap this important community resource.   Please feel free to call the UWRA office or complete a short survey.  Thanks!! 
Former United Way staff:    Are you volunteering at your local United Way – or have you in the past? Please click here to complete a brief survey.   
Current United Way staff: Is your United Way using retiree volunteers – either former United Way staff or other community retirees?  Please click here to complete a brief survey.