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Volunteer Power!

Volunteer Power News — Number 39
Author: Thomas W. McKee
"Volunteer Power News" Monthly Newsletter

© 2006 Advantage Point Systems Publishing

In this Issue:

1. When I Am 64. Are you recruiting a whole new generation of volunteers?
2. Age is A Funny Thing—Get a real laugh at your next training or meeting by reading this piece.
3. A Sample Key-Note Presentation: Winning Strategies for Changing Times

When I Am 64
Are you recruiting a whole new generation of volunteers?

Paul McCartney, who just turned 64, wrote these words when he was a teenager and later this song debuted on the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album.

When I Am 64
Paul McCartney

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

You'll be older too,
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride,

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four.

I, like Paul McCartney, am 64 and although not officially part of the post World War II babies called “Boomers” who are just turning 60 this year, I identify with this growing number of potential volunteers who are entering their retirement years with an unprecedented vitality. Just as we all made the proclamations that “40” was the new “30”, and then “50” was the new “40”, we now claim that “64” is the new “50” as we usher in an entirely different kind of graying population that refuses to fall prey to the rocking chair.

In other words, we are not your grandfather’s grandfather.

"The baby boomer generation has changed almost everything," said Mark Beach, spokesman for AARP (which, by the way, no longer stands for the American Association of Retired Persons, as many of their members are not retired). "They're not even thinking of age as a limitation . . . These days, many retirees are embarking on second careers or steady volunteer work after the Social Security benefits start trickling in, Beach said, and a notably active lifestyle means an increased emphasis on travel, fitness and adventure. . . . The notion of retirement is changing and we're going to see that more and more," he said. "People aren't sort of bound by the cultural constraints that they used to be."

"We're not going down without a fight. This generation is just not going gently into that good night," said Jan Reisen, co-founder with Pete Kooiker of boomer blog Aging Hipster. Now, boomers such as Reisen joke that their kids are free to put them in a retirement home, but it had better have high-speed Internet. "I don't think we have the perception that we're going to be old and used up and of no use," she said. "I think we're going to be very noisy.”

When Paul McCartney wrote the song in the late ’50s, the average life expectancy was 69, which was only five years older than those of us who are 64 today. And by the way, the 64 club (those who have turned 64 this year) includes Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streistand, Garrison Kiellor, Donna Mills, Muhammad Ali and Calvin Klein. And we now don’t buy the teenager McCartney’s picture of "the good life" largely consisting of knitting by the fireside in a rocking chair. In 2003 (the most recent year for which statistics were available) the average life expectancy was nearly 78, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Though most people assume they'll retire at 65, most actually do so at 62, according to the Center for Retirement Research. Many of my friends are more active in volunteer work than they have ever been, and they bring to the volunteer organization their experience and professional skills. Most of them say, ‘I’ve never been so busy, and I love it.”

But be careful when you recruit the 64 year old. Remember these important issues.

Your cause is our mission to make a difference

We were ready to change the world in the 60’s and still believe in causes. So make sure that your mission is something that people can get excited about. We don’t want to make a contribution--we want to make a difference.

Your vision is our opportunity to fulfill a dream

My wife, Susie, who will quickly point out that she is not yet 64, is a ESL college professor teaching graduate students. I have been a speaker and trainer for over 40 years, and we dream about volunteering to teach either overseas or in our country. But we don’t want to stuff envelopes, we want to fulfill a dream.

Your professional needs are our expertise

We don’t want to stuff envelopes. Wow, that doesn’t sound like we are interested in getting our hands dirty or doing labor. We are not afraid of jumping in with the team when a job needs to get done. We have stuffed thousands of envelops, set up hundreds of chairs and tables, cleaned bathrooms and swept floors; however, the organization that is still using high quality, professionally trained volunteers only to do unskilled labor, will lose many 64 year old volunteers. We want to be recruited to use a life-time of professionalism to help you accomplish your vision. And we are not alone.

Don’t miss the opportunity to recruit the 64 year old professional. But do it right.

Reprinted by permission from Mikey's Funnies

The following is a great piece to read at a meeting or training. It always gets a laugh.

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?"
"I'm 4 and half."

You're never 36 and a half, but you are 4 and a half going on 5! That's the key. You get into your teens, now they can't hold you back. You jump to the next number.

"How old are you?"
"I'm gonna be 16."

You could be 12, but you're gonna be 16.

And then the greatest day of your life happens: you become 21. Even the words sounds like a ceremony--you BECOME 21. YES!!!! But then you turn 30. Ooohhh, what happened here?? Makes you sound like bad milk. He TURNED. We had to throw him out. There's no fun now. What's wrong?? What changed???

You BECOME 21,
you TURN 30,
then you're PUSHING 40...stay over there, it's all slipping away...

You BECOME 21,
you TURN 30,
you're PUSHING 40,
you REACH 50...my dreams are gone...

You BECOME 21,
you TURN 30,
you're PUSHING 40,
you REACH 50
and then you MAKE IT to 60...Whew! I didn't think I'd make it.

You BECOME 21,
you TURN 30,
you're PUSHING 40,
you REACH 50,
you MAKE IT to 60,
and by then you've built up so much speed, you HIT 70!

After that, it's a day-by-day thing. You HIT Wednesday, you get into your
80s, you HIT lunch.

I mean my grandmother won't even buy green bananas: "Well it's an
investment, you know, and maybe a bad one."

And it doesn't end there...into the 90's, you start going backwards: I was JUST 92. Then a strange thing happens, if you make it over 100, you become a little kid again: I'm 100 and a half!!
Age is a funny thing: You know you’re getting old when you stop buying green bananas.
Age is a funny thing.

You know you're getting old when you stop buying green bananas.

Sample Key-Note Presentation by Tom McKee

The following is an outline of a presentation that I have used as a key-note presentation. It is filled with success stories of leaders and organizations that not only used these three strategies, but know how to balance the three leadership strategies in a volunteer organization during changing times.

Winning Strategies for Changing Times

The Three Essential Leadership Strategies for Mobilizing the
Power and Passion of the Volunteer Network

Thomas W. McKee


1. The four global seismic shifts that are changing the face of volunteerism
2. Volunteerism is on the rise to meet these challenges, but . . .
3. Volunteers and volunteer leaders must wear these three strategic leadership hats
4. Think of these strategies as a leadership hat that you can change for the specific strategic need.

The Cause Strategy: Leaders have a passion for a cause
• What is passion? Why do you get out of bed?
• What is the power of a focused cause?
• How to create or revitalize the organizational cause.

The Community Strategy: Leaders don’t fly solo—they are active in synergistic communities
• Synergy: The sum is greater than the total of the individual parts
• What is the power of community?
• How do you create community with a diverse membership?

The Corporate Strategy: Leaders know how to process—to think strategically
• “Everything must degenerate into work if anything is going to happen” (Peter Drucker)
• What are the roles of “rules and regulations” in an organization?
• How do you monitor processes (rules and regulations) and still empower the 21st century volunteers who want to do it their way?
• Key Questions
1. Are you leading a social-mission organization that is run like a business?
2. Are you leading a business that has a social mission?

So What? What kind of an organization, leader or volunteer manager are you?
• Cause driven
• Community driven
• Corporate (process) driven

Tom McKee is a leading volunteer management speaker, trainer and consultant. You can reach Tom at (916) 987-0359 or e-mail him at tom@advantagepoint.com. Other articles and free resources are available at www.volunteerpower.com.