Almost half of those over 60 volunteer in some way, a recent survey revealed.

For some it is an occasional few hours a week. For others it is almost like full time work but with no pay. For many it is something in between the two.

Voluntary work doesn’t have to be like ‘work’. There are charities and clubs looking for officers and committee members. There are Neighbourhood Watch Schemes needing people – even to start them. And there may be openings to be a school governor, a parish councillor or even a magistrate.

You don’t even need to be part of an organisation. You can just look out for needs locally – elderly people needing gardening, lifts, DIY, shopping done?

  • Why so many volunteer

    There is no one-size-fits-all reason for so many people using their years of active retirement to volunteer. You will hear a host of explanations –

    • To ‘give something back’.
    • To ‘give my life a purpose’
    • To ‘enjoy company and a sense of belonging’
    • So as ‘not to let my skills and experience go to waste’
    • For the ‘sheer fun of doing it and the sense of achievement’

    For the Christian all the above can be true and valid. Yet there’s an added dimension – that of being a good steward of the time and talents God has provided.

  • The opportunities to volunteer

    The abundance of opportunities to volunteer can be mind-blowing. Out there are organisations and agencies, needs and causes, all ready to gladly hoover up the time and skills you have to offer.

    These include –

    Your church: Along with the routine tasks that need to be done, there ought to be ways your particular skills and attributes can be used for the good of all.

    Your community: In addition to the needs you may spot yourself, is a vast array to be met through your local social services and caring organisations.

    Internationally: From just a few months to a longer commitment, there are communities and individuals waiting to be enriched by what you have to offer.

  • Finding the right fit

    Before making a commitment, there are some things to be clear about. These include –

    Faith-based or not? Do you want to serve a specifically Christian cause or to venture out into the wider world as part of being thesalt and light Jesus spoke about?

    With others or alone? Do you prefer company or are you happy to go it alone?

    Managed of managing? Do you need to work to clear instructions or prefer a level of freedom to make your own decisions?

    Corporate culture or not? Many larger charities have a culture and environment little different to a major company. While many smaller charities are ‘all hands on deck’. So think hard as to where you would most like to spend your time.

    Flexible or not? Do you need to be able to respond to things like emergency grandchild care or grabbing a last minute holiday as a bargain?

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife