Elderly volunteers: Assessing their potential as an untapped resource

Ram A. Cnaan, Julie G. Cwikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In these times of dwindling resources for human services, the elderly are considered by many policy analysts and researchers to be the largest untapped source for volunteer recruitment In this article we identify the origins of this societal expectation, its current actualization, and then analyze factors contributing to and deterring actual deployment of large numbers of elderly as volunteers. To assist in this analysis we have employed the conceptual framework that examines expected age, period, and cohort effects among the elderly on volunteerism in order to provide a basis for more realistic projections. Our findings indicate that elderly volunteers cannot be viewed as the cure-all to a squeeze cm economic resources. In light of expected changes in future cohorts, elderly volunteers can be expected to increase their contribution only if creative recruitment and training methods will be used by volunteer administrators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-147
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Aging and Social Policy
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 16 Nov 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Gerontology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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