Some Boomers find satisfaction doing volunteer work, while others may question whether it is the best way to spend their time. The first question to ask about volunteering is simply, Can you afford it? Not every Boomer is in a financial position to be able to volunteer, which almost always means working without pay. If you have to generate some income and still want to volunteer, however, you can often reach an acceptable compromise by working part-time and volunteering part-time.
Volunteering is very personal. You can pursue a passion or an interest by volunteering for a nonprofit organization whose cause is important to you. You can help the disadvantaged or under-privileged through literacy, public health, and welfare programs. You can help change the world for the better by working with an environmental organization. You can care for animals by volunteering at your local animal shelter. You can support culture and the arts by volunteering for a local museum or theatre company. You can use your business expertise as a volunteer counselor or consultant to students and entrepreneurs. Those are just a few examples. There are likely to be numerous volunteer opportunities like these and others right in your own community.
Volunteering can also uncover unexpected opportunities. I have volunteered for a local nonprofit for many years in a variety of ways. In addition to helping the organization, I have made a number of valuable contacts; for example, one of the organization's donors knew I was a semi-retired marketing professional and recommended me to a startup company. This resulted in my doing several paid consulting projects for the company.
Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose. It can offer you a personal reward because you'll feel good about helping others. It can also provide you with social interaction and act as an anchor when you need the structure of a scheduled activity. And in some cases, volunteering can even lead to unanticipated income.