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​The Boomer Effect

According to “Giving in Retirement: America’s Longevity Bonus,” two thirds of baby boomer retirees report that it is the best time in life to give back. Why?

Compared to when they were employed, the majority of retirees say they now give in a way that is more focused, hands-on, and impact-oriented.

The study, conducted by consulting group Age Wave in partnership with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, shows that not only do people tend to donate more after leaving the work force, but those same donors are living longer thanks to medical gains — and that means good news for nonprofits. When considering contributions of both money and time, retirees lead the nation in giving. Although retirees account for less than a third of the adult population, they contribute 42 percent of the money given to charity and nearly half of all volunteer hours. They are expected to donate $6.6 trillion in cash and $1.4 trillion in volunteer services over the next 20 years.

While younger generations are more likely to give to animal rights, environmental, and human rights causes, this older demographic tends to give to religious or spiritual charities. But, those donations don’t come without strings attached. Baby boomers are 49 percent more likely than their parents’ generation to want answers from nonprofits as to how their money is being spent. Forty four percent want to have a say in how their donation is being used.

If nonprofits want to capitalize on this generous group of donors, they also need to be prepared to share information and welcome involvement from retirees. Eighty four percent of retirees say an important reason they are able to give more in their later years is because they believe they have greater skills and talents compared to when they were younger.

While donations from retirees have the potential to change the face of giving, contributing can also change a retiree’s outlook on life. Seven in ten retirees report that being generous is an important source of happiness in their retirement years. Giving and volunteering with other people who have similar interests, values, and passions can often help create new relationships to replace the social connections that can be lost when people leave their final positions. Eighty-five percent of retiree volunteers say they have developed important new friendships through their giving and volunteering activities.

To read “Giving in Retirement: America’s Longevity Bonus,” click here.

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