New program aims to match senior volunteers with non-profits

Published: Nov. 2, 2017 at 4:08 PM CDT
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Springfield is launching a new program to match retirees with non-profits that need their help.

“Give 5” would take a pool of seniors on tours through town, stopping at participating non-profits. During their 30-minute stay, leaders of that group would pitch their needs, and interested retirees can decide if they’d like to chip in.

All Springfield is asking in return for this is for the retiree to try to volunteer for five hours per month, hence, “Give 5.”

“Essentially it's civic match-making,” city manager Greg Burris said. “Trying to match retirees, or soon-to-be retirees, with volunteer opportunities in our community.”

He also pointed to a study that shows Springfield non-profit groups are 8,000 volunteers short of their current needs.

“Probably 350 of the nonprofits that are active have no paid employees at all, they're all volunteers,” Dan Prater said. He conducted the study at Drury University.

“I think the way we bridge it is exactly what we're doing today,” he added. “We create a program where people who have a passion can take that passion or skill set and they see a tangible way to get involved and do something.”

Burris stresses that he wants to avoid “menial” type jobs for these seniors, who he says are retiring professionals who want to feel like they’re contributing their skills to something meaningful.

“They really need to think, 'what's the meaningful work we can give to our volunteers?'” Burris said. “It's really an opportunity for our non-profits to go to the next level. Because if you've got an army of volunteers who are talented - retired CEOs, retired doctors, retired attorneys, retired home makers - a variety of people, you can actually take your organization up two or three notches just by the volunteer talent.”

Applications for retirees and non-profits to sign up for the program are