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When I talk about online software that enables volunteers to be part of the process, without a doubt, the concern that comes up most often is something along these lines: “My volunteers are too old and couldn’t / wouldn’t do this”.I hear this so often that I fear that these same leaders of volunteers who are overly concerned that their senior volunteers cannot use a website might also be restricting seniors from filling certain volunteer opportunities because it is ‘beyond them’.This is important to understand because it will allow volunteer coordinators, who use web-based volunteer management software, to streamline their volunteer program and tap into a large percentage of the population.Seniors appear to be embracing the internet: governments in Canada ( the USA (gov/Topics/Seniors.shtml) and Australia ( for example, have portions of their websites dedicated to seniors.A research project conducted in Canada between 20 found that 51 per cent of Canadians above the age of 60 are using the Internet.Given that this data is at least 2 years old and that the 60 crowd is the fastest growing internet-using demographic, there are likely more of your senior volunteers online than you realize. Department of Commerce, seniors use e-mail as much as any other age group.Those that do, will reap the benefits, and those that don’t, will not. What about the senior volunteers who do not access the internet?If you think old age means that you can't learn new things, then think again.

Now ask yourself, which one of the three tasks would you do first?Research shows that older people can, and do, learn new things.According to Microsoft, seniors recognize the benefits of computers and the internet in the areas of employability (paid and unpaid) and socialization.I don’t want to make the mistake of suggesting the every senior will now go online.And I certainly would not want a senior volunteer who has been helping your organization for years (perhaps even long before you got there) to feel forced into it.

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