Justifiably, some seniors are no longer in the position
to volunteer or to donate to voluntary organizations, as
indicated by the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering
and Participating (NSGVP).
Giving and Volunteering in Seniors (PDF)
In order for volunteer and non-profit organizations to use their resources effectively and
efficiently, it is important for them to understand the tendencies of their potential donors and
volunteers. For example, this type of information might allow a non-profit organization to identify
particular groups that are more likely to be donors, or to target under-represented demographics with
new and innovative campaigns. The Giving and Volunteering of Seniors is a report assembled by
the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. As the title suggests, the report outlines the donation and
volunteer habits of Canadians aged 65 and older. The information was gathered during the 1997 and
2000 National Surveys for Giving, Volunteering and Participating. To read the full report, please
follow the link.
Although the survey indicates that senior volunteerism has
dropped, the seniors who frequent the hundreds of senior centres
throughout Alberta seem to belie this finding. One just has to
read Calendar of Events advertised by senior centres, (often
organized by senior volunteers) to understand that many of
Alberta’s seniors are active people who travel; attend art
galleries, concerts, and festivals; take and give courses and help
fund raise and volunteer in events such as Alberta’s Birkenbeiner. Seniors also ski this longest cross-country race
in North America, with the most difficult category involving
skiing 55-km with a 12 pound pack.
Alberta organizations such as Seniors United Now (SUN) have
very active senior volunteers. SUN’s mission is to unite every
senior in Alberta under one umbrella organization so that the
Seniors of Alberta may speak with one voice on the issues that
matter to them. Senior volunteers can also be found in a number
of non-profit organizations that do not necessarily focus on senior's
issues. The 2000 NSGVP found that seniors tend to favour
arts and culture, social services, and religious organizations
when donating their time and talents.
In addition to active volunteering, seniors have made their
mark with charitable donations. According to the NSGVP ,
seniors across Canada donated a total of $854 million to
charitable organizations - specifically religious, health and
social services organizations. This accounted for 17% of the
total donations made in Canada that year.