By Janine Vanderburg, CEO, Joining Vision and Action
I just returned from the Encore 2016 conference in San Francisco last week. Over 400 people gathered, inspired by a collective vision: that people as they age can experience an “encore” in work, service, learning and leadership – using their talents and experience to better their communities and society as a whole.
I came away with lots of takeaways, and five in particular that are key to nonprofits and social enterprises.
Encore talent is here to stay. With just over 2.9 million Americans turning 65 each year, and an estimated 21 million people who say they are interested in encore careers, social sector organizations and social purpose businesses have a ready supply of experienced talent to deploy to society’s most pressing issues.
- Multigenerational programs are in. The Eisner Foundation awarded grants of $100,000 each to Robert Eggers LA Kitchen and Generations United for their work in bringing generations together. The benefits of children and youth having older adults in their lives was discussed again and again. Funders have a strong interest in seeing programs that connect older adults with children and youth.
- Millennials and boomers want a lot of the same things in the workplace. Meaning, purpose, flexibility, and did we mention fun? One of the most quotable conference comments: “Don’t assume that an older adult in your workplace won’t want to learn as well.”
- Strategic partnerships are in. Nowhere was this demonstrated more than in Marc Freedman’s closing speech on the Purpose Prize, where he introduced Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP, and announced that AARP is taking over the Purpose Prize, an initiative started by Encore.org. Understanding how to leverage partners’ strengths for more social impact was a key theme of the conference.
- Finally, innovation is not just the province of the young entrepreneur. An interesting new program was announced at the conference – Boomerang Giving. In the words of one its founders, “Senior discounts are so yesterday.” Boomerang Giving was started by seven Seattle residents who decided they would keep track of any senior discounts they received and give the money to charity. Now it‘s a movement that could help raise millions of dollars for charity, just by encouraging people to keep track of small discounts and passing them forward.
The overall theme of the conference? People of all ages can do more and better, together. It’s always been true, but the connectivity we enjoy today makes it so much easier to leverage each other’s strengths and come together for good.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]