NCOA Promotes Four Keys to a Successful Older Adult Volunteer Program
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For Older Adults and Caregivers

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NCOA Promotes Four Keys to a Successful Older Adult Volunteer Program


May 17, 2011

Ken Schwartz

Summit Explores Successful Models for Nonprofits Looking to Tap Volunteers Aged 55+

Washington, DC — In today’s economy, nonprofits face shrinking budgets and increasing demand for services—making volunteers an even more critical resource. To help nonprofits tap the time and talents of older adult volunteers, the National Council on Aging’s Multi-Generational and Civic Engagement Initiative (MGCE) has identified four key elements for success.

Exceptional older adult volunteer programs are built on effectiveness, impact, sustainability, and replicabilityThese attributes were clearly demonstrated by the 19 local organizations funded under a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging, with support from the MetLife Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

“Through the hard work of our community partners and our practice of learning together, we identified four common characteristics that set these exceptional programs apart,” said Tom Endres, vice president of civic engagement for NCOA. “These are the standards for all older adult civic engagement programs.”

Under the MGCE Initiative, local organizations engaged older volunteers to provide services to several target populations, including caregivers of the frail elderly, families of children with special needs, and grandparents raising grandchildren. 

Last fall, six of the MGCE organizations received supplementary grants to pursue the goal of replicating their models in additional communities where need and interest existed. The six organizations are:

On May 18, these select organizations will gather in Washington, DC, for the MGCE Summit to share their successes and discuss future steps. To learn more about the MGCE Initiative and the six agencies presenting at the summit, please visit


About NCOA The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at and @NCOAging.