Many Nonprofits Looking Forward to Workers' 'Encore'

October 31, 2008 ( - Half of nonprofit employers in a recent poll said late-career or retired workers could be appealing hires for them, while another 39% said they were "moderately appealing."

The poll, co-sponsored by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based think tank focusing on Boomer work issues, also found that nonprofit organizations that have already hired such “encore” workers are the most positive about the prospect of hiring other older employees – by a margin of 53% to 40%, according to a news release. They are also more positive about workers who have switched from corporate businesses to nonprofits (40% to 29%).

Nearly seven in 10 nonprofit employers (69%) rate the valuable experience encore workers bring to the job as a significant benefit, and 67% say the same about encore workers’ commitment and reliability.

“Money is always a concern for nonprofits, but money is not the only organizational resource,” said Marc Freedman, founder and CEO of Civic Ventures, in the news release. “Human resources are as significant as financial ones, and this new research raises the prospect of a vast new market for human resources – and a new fantasy for nonprofit leaders: What if talent were no object?”

The news release said other findings of the MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures survey included:

  • More than four in 10 nonprofit employers (42%) see recruiting and hiring talent as a top human resource concern, and only 9% expect it will get easier to find the talent they need.
  • Some employers expressed "serious concerns" that encore workers could demand higher salaries (25%), be reluctant to learn new technology (23%), lack technical/professional skills (20 %), and create higher insurance/benefit costs (19%).
  • In terms of addressing the flexibility requests of workers of all ages, 90% of nonprofits say that they offer part-time work, 86% say they offer flexible schedules to all or some employees, but just 40% say they allow employees to work from a mobile office or home.

The survey was conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., from February to April 2008. Hart Research interviewed 427 nonprofit employers by telephone from March 27 to April 18.

More information is available here .