Giving Back After Retirement

September 23, 2019 | United Way Team

Learn more about how to get or stay involved in the community following retirement.

Retirement, although fun and exciting, can bring on some unsettling change. You’ve spent much of your life working, networking, building partnerships, and giving back to the community and deciding how you’re going to spend your time without some of these major responsibilities can be challenging. Additionally, deciding how you want to get involved and give back can be tricky.

“I volunteered before retirement and truly enjoyed it,” said United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) volunteer, Mark Hartung. “I knew that after retirement I’d have the time and flexibility to continue volunteering but wanted to be of value to the community.”

UWECI’s 55+ Initiative connects volunteers with meaningful opportunities in our community, offering one-on-one placement to help find a good fit for your skills, talents, and interest that also match the needs of nonprofits in East Central Iowa.

Whether you’re at or nearing retirement, here are a few ways to get on track and remain involved in the community:

  1. Just do itIMG_20190626_083336

When it comes to giving back to the community post retirement, don’t be afraid to jump right in.

“Don’t put off getting involved in volunteering,” said Hartung. “The fact is, everyone has skills that can be leveraged by one or more nonprofits. United Way can help you find volunteer opportunities that are not only a good fit for you, but that match your abilities and the needs of local organizations.”

In addition to the 55+ Initiative, Volunteer Now—our volunteer matching site—provides a one-stop shop for one-time or ongoing volunteer opportunities that interest you and align with your skills.

  1. Continue connecting with others

Throughout the course of your career, you’ve gained expertise in your industry while building networks and strong relationships. With more time on your hands, we encourage you to not only continue giving back, but to also advocate for the causes you’re passionate about. This could be by encouraging colleagues to join you for a volunteer opportunity, attending events with other members of the community to share your passion, or even connecting with new leaders in your industry.

“Volunteering keeps one pertinent and involved,” said UWECI volunteer, Kate Minette. “Participating with the young and other retirees adds a huge element of enjoyment to life and creates new friendships.”

  1. Share your skillsIMG_1857-2

Just imagine the value you could add to a local nonprofit by utilizing the skills you spent years perfecting. Many agencies need leaders with diverse strengths, whether it’s on a board, committee, or a seasonal opportunity.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is just one example of an opportunity that could utilize specific skills.

“You just might be amazed by how many skills you have that nonprofits are looking for,” said Hartung, who also volunteers with VITA. 

  1. Make a planBlog_09-2019_Retiree-Volunteering

Whether you’re looking for a flexible volunteer schedule or are hoping to dedicate more time, make sure the organizations you’re involved with know where you stand. This is applicable to financial contributions as well, especially if you gave through your workplace in the past.

An easy way to stay connected with these nonprofits is by sharing your personal email address. They’ll likely continue to share the impact of your giving, upcoming volunteer opportunities, and general updates about the agency.

Regardless, this time of your life can be exciting. As you transition into a new routine, consider dedicating some of your time to a local organization or connecting with UWECI to figure out where the greatest needs are or finding a good fit for you.

“Find something you will love that fits your schedule, and where you can make a difference for your community and for yourself. It’s out there!” said Minette.