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How retirees can make a difference sharing their expertise with the social sector

Using the expertise and knowledge gained throughout their professional careers, retirees can offer years of insight, skills transfer, and training to the cash-strapped social sector. By volunteering, over 65s can help address some of South Africa's social and development challenges.
Source: Jozef Polc ©
Source: Jozef Polc © 123RF.com

“The experience that retired brains bring to the table is incredibly helpful for non-profits who might not have the resources to hire people in specialist roles, like accountants or brand managers. Whether you’re a recent retiree, or someone who hasn’t been working for several years, these organisations would jump at the chance to have an expert on board to help bridge gaps in their cause,” says Romy Heldsinger, CEO of online volunteering platform, forgood.co.za.

Benefits of volunteering

Volunteering is not only beneficial to organisations, but also a great experience for the volunteer. Research has shown that volunteering has major benefits for mental health due to of the level of socialisation involved. For older adults, donating time to a non-profit provides the opportunity to meet new people and develop connections, which can help soften the landing of the jump from full-time work to retirement.

“Those who are keen to find more exciting ways to spend their time, other than watching the same reruns on TV every week, can use volunteering to keep their minds sharp and continue learning. It also means finding alternative ways to use the skills you’ve crafted – such as using your experience as a finance manager to tutor children at under-resourced schools in maths,” says Heldsinger.

Keep active and healthy

One of the benefits of retirement is the chance to change up your lifestyle. When working a full-time job – particularly in an office – physical activity can be limited. This can change for the better during retirement, says Heldsinger. By giving a few hours of your week to volunteering – whether for a child healthcare NPO or creating food packs for families in need – you can keep yourself active and healthy while doing meaningful work.

“The beauty of retirement is that it’s a new beginning. Your working life may have ended, but the opportunities and experiences within the volunteering space highlight that your purpose extends far beyond a professional career – and you may even discover a new passion by helping a good cause,” says Heldsinger.

Forgood is an online volunteering platform that has over 300 causes for volunteers to choose from. For more information, go to www.forgood.co.za.


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