FAQs for Volunteers - 50+ Volunteer Network

Exactly what is the 50+ Volunteer Network?

The Montgomery County 50+ Volunteer Network is a cutting edge county initiative housed at the Montgomery County Volunteer Center.  It focuses on our largest growing population -- those who are 50+ -- many of whom want a second (or third) act and may have different retirement goals than previous generations.  The program harnesses this population's lifetime of skills, experience, and interests, and, while still providing flexibility, offers their services to local nonprofits and government agencies needing resources.

What makes the 50+ Volunteer Network different than similar services or finding an opportunity on a website?

Unlike other services and website postings, we make the match for you based on your personal consultation with one of our Advisers.  The Adviser provides advice and support to place you in an opportunity that combines your interests, skills, and availability -- and continues to offer support to ensure success.

How is this program different from other programs offered at the Volunteer Center?

For several years, the Volunteer Center operated the Pro Bono Consultant Program for people who wanted to offer their professional skills on specific projects, and still offers Senior Corps RSVP (Retired Senior and Volunteer Program) which focuses on volunteer opportunities for seniors 55+ at specific partner organizations.  The 50+ Volunteer Network integrates and absorbs these programs, taking the best practices of both and expanding the scope of the volunteers and volunteer opportunities. It’s part of the Volunteer Center’s effort to promote and expand volunteerism in Montgomery County!

Can I still take on a Pro Bono project?

Of course!  Nonprofit and government agencies still need volunteers who have expertise in accounting, management, writing and editing, IT support, strategic planning and other professional fields and want to undertake short-term, outcome-based projects. 

Who qualifies to be a part of the program?

As long as you are 50+ and willing to make a significant contribution of your time and talents to a nonprofit or government agency needing assistance, you qualify. We find that retired professionals, professionals considering retirement, empty nesters, and others in a life transition all fit well with our program.

How does it work?

Through a personal consultation with a trained Adviser, you are matched with a nonprofit or government agency based on your interests and skills and the agency’s needs. We work with you and the nonprofit or government agency throughout the placement process to make sure that it is – and continues to be -- a successful placement on both sides. Over time, many of our volunteers take on more than one assignment. 

What are the benefits of volunteering?

In addition to all the good you are doing for your community, numerous benefits flow to you as a volunteer as well.  You will experience a healthy sense of self-esteem, additional social interaction, and the “helper’s high,” a distinct physical sensation associated with giving back.  Concrete evidence of physical and mental health benefits – lower mortality, fewer symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease, and higher levels of health satisfaction – also exist.

Why should I volunteer through this program?

Sometimes, the best way to find volunteer opportunities is through your existing networks, or perhaps to make contact with organizations with which you already have an affiliation.  And, the Volunteer Center’s searchable database of opportunities is a great way to connect directly with the hundreds of nonprofits that list thousands of varied volunteer positions.  But, for those people who are seeking to make a more significant level of commitment and are looking for guidance, the 50+ Volunteer Network provides the personal connection to a meaningful, vetted service opportunity, taking into consideration your availability, location, personal interests, and professional skills. 

What types of volunteer opportunities are available?

Most volunteer positions require some level of skill and a commitment to serve on a regular basis. Opportunities include direct services to an organization's clients -- tutoring, mentoring, work force development-- or organizational support -- helping with administrative tasks, special events, offering professional services, joining a board. A volunteer can also take particular interests and aptitudes and apply them to a skilled volunteer opportunity.  For example, someone who enjoys preparing his/her taxes, likes numbers, and enjoys people may be perfect for training as a RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program counselor!

What types of agencies need assistance?

The Volunteer Center has more than 1,300 registered nonprofit and government agencies and any one of them may participate in the 50+ Volunteer Network.  We do make sure, however, that the organization has the resources to support and supervise volunteers and to provide any necessary training. 

How do I get started?

Complete a 50+ Volunteer Form and email it to us at 50plus@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-2600.