Impact Hours: connecting 55+ experience with the community 

CHRISTINE FRANKLIN 

 Do you know individuals, retired or later in their careers, who are looking for short-term volunteer opportunities to apply their skills and experience to a good cause?  

ImpactHours.org is a new website that connects individuals aged 55+ with Ottawa non-profits for short-term, skill-based volunteer opportunities. Spotlighted by the Council on Aging as an “Innovative Age-Friendly Initiative” and recently featured on CBC Ottawa Morning, Impact Hours provides a free local service to 55+ individuals, offering them access to an inventory of volunteer opportunities posted by non-profits in need of their skill-sets and experience.  

Non-profits with limited resources and gaps to fill benefit from donated skills and experience of 55+ adults to help with specific needs in support of their core missions, or to assist with questions or issues in areas such as technology, marketing, or fundraising.  

In developing Impact Hours, organizers knew that volunteers play a vital role in supporting non-profits in their social missions to do good in the community. However, they discovered that expectations and attitudes of volunteers are changing, with many wanting increased flexibility. For example, some older adults expressed reluctance to take on a regular volunteer commitment but indicated that they would welcome informal, ‘one-off’ volunteer opportunities that valued their time and experience. Since short-term, skill-based volunteer opportunities can be difficult to find, Impact Hours was created.  

Organizations like the Ottawa Tool Library are already actively engaging the skills of 55+ adults through Impact Hours, and they are increasing their impact as a result. “Older adults have a tremendous amount of knowledge that would be so sad not to pass on to the next generation,” says Bettina Vollmerhausen, co-founder of the Ottawa Tool Library.  

“At our tool library, we have many people 55+ who share their skills in meaningful ways, either as tool librarians, tool ninjas, or tool doctors. In particular, our tool ninjas like sharing their gained knowledge around proper tool handling and project management during our Maker Days when members come to work on their DIY projects with the tools in our inventory,” said Vollmerhausen. 

Impact Hours, was developed in the belief that small actions can have an impact, for the benefit of individuals, non-profits and the wider community. Here are just a few of the volunteer opportunities currently listed on the site by non-profits wanting to engage skilled volunteers: 

  • Construction of Sunshelter Structure (Canadensis Botanical Garden Society) 
  • Videographer (The Glebe Centre) 
  • Repair Café Fixers (Ottawa Tool Library) 
  • Skill-Based Mentors (Junior Achievement Ottawa) 
  • Environmental Project Advice (Ottawa Eco-Talent Network) 
  • Writers (Council on Aging, Ottawa Network for Education, Dementia Justice Society of Canada) 

Visit ImpactHours.org to view other volunteer opportunities and to learn more about how the platform facilitates connections between skilled 55+ volunteers and non-profits. You can also sign up for Impact Hours’ newsletter and subscribe to email alerts for new volunteer listings that match preferred search criteria. Christine Franklin is the founder of Impact Hours and can be reached at info@impacthours.org. 

 

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Filed in: Community Groups, Front Page

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