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Boomers Make Their Mark Through High-Impact Volunteering

By Mellissa M. Lavalle
Special to the Telegraph – August 15, 2006

According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, approximately 77 million babies were born in the United States during the “boom” years of 1946-1964, making “baby boomers” the largest population group in our country’s history. And whether it’s changing the way we view retirement and aging to making a difference in their communities, boomers are said to be having more impact on society than any generation to date. In 2005, nearly a third of all boomers volunteered for a formal organization, making them the most dedicated to volunteerism of any other populous.

Locally, organizations like the Executive Service Corps (ESC), a 501(c)3 that works with nonprofit organizations throughout New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont, has also begun seeing an influx of senior-level executives and professionals across Northern New England interested in donating their time and expertise.

“Moving to Florida to play golf and wait for the grandchildren to visit isn’t the basis of everyone’s retirement dreams,” says Michael Daily, ESC founder and executive director. Daily, a graduate of MIT with an MBA from Harvard Business School, has over 20 years of senior management experience as a COO/CFO of manufacturing companies. A consultant for ESC since 1995, he has also been the leader of ESC’s efforts in Northern New England since 2000.

With over 25 specially trained volunteer consultants on hand, ESC is one of the largest consulting organizations in Northern New England devoted to serving nonprofit organizations. The skill and experience level of baby boomers are valuable commodities in today’s business world, and it is that marriage of organizational need and individual talent that has allowed hundreds of local organizations to benefit from ESC.

“The professional mind doesn’t stop the day retirement begins,” he explains. “For years – in many cases, decades – our volunteers played significant roles in any number of challenging, rewarding work environments. The part of them that found those challenges exciting and motivating cannot be turned off like a light switch.”

Daily says that many boomers instead seek to strike a balance between enjoying retirement and staying connected with the business world and, as a result, soon develop a strong desire to give back to the community by donating their time and expertise to area organizations in need.

Much of ESC’s work is in the general management areas of strategic planning, improving board effectiveness, mentoring CEO’s, and business planning, though particularly needed are specialized skills including public relations, human resources, information technology, marketing, and fundraising.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the percentage of retired baby boomers who volunteered increased steadily from approximately 25% in 2002 to approximately 30% in 2004. These numbers do not surprise Daily, who regularly hears from volunteers how satisfying they have found their experience with ESC.

“Volunteering on any level is rewarding,” he says. “Whether it’s volunteering at the soup kitchen or seeing an organization’s become more effective as a result of your input, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from building common relationships with others and giving back to the community you live in.”

For information on the consulting services, volunteering, or general info about ESC, contact us.