Benefits Of Volunteering After Retirement: A Quick Guide For New Retirees

Many retirees find volunteering to be a rewarding activity. You might be curious about the reasons behind its popularity and how to get started, especially if you’re considering volunteering yourself. To help you out, here are the key things to know.

What Are The Benefits Of Volunteering As A Retiree

Retirement is a time of exciting possibilities, but it can also be a period of adjustment, especially when it comes to maintaining a sense of purpose and staying healthy. Volunteering can be a powerful tool to help with this, bringing fulfillment, social connection, and even physical and mental health benefits.

Let’s explore these benefits in more detail:

Volunteering Creates Fulfillment

Fulfillment is like happiness, but it’s a deeper feeling. It’s the kind of satisfaction you get from doing something worthwhile, like keeping a promise or helping others. Some people mix it up with just having fun, but fulfillment is more lasting.

Volunteering is a great way to feel fulfilled, and it’s not just for retirees. Most people find a lot of satisfaction in their jobs, but after retirement, they need something new to give them that good feeling. That’s why retirees often volunteer more.

But volunteering isn’t the only path to fulfillment in retirement. There are many ways to find happiness after you stop working. If you’d like some ideas, check out my article: How To Get Fulfillment In Retirement.

Also, if you want to know more about the fulfillment that volunteering brings, there’s a book called Human Kind with inspiring stories about how small acts of kindness can make a big difference around the world. It can definitely encourage you to start volunteering.

Volunteering Improves Social Interactions

As mentioned, work and careers provide fulfillment, but they also provide much-needed social connections for everyone. When people retire, these connections can disappear or weaken, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Remember, social interaction is crucial for our health, too. Studies by Harvard Health Publishing show that retirees with a wide circle of friends tend to be more physically active, have a more positive outlook, and even experience less decline in mental sharpness. These same social interactions can also help prevent dementia.

Volunteering is a fantastic way for retirees to expand their social circle. It gets them out and about, meeting new people beyond their usual friends and family.

Read: How To Stay Social In Retirement

Volunteering Helps You Staying Active

Volunteering isn’t just about socializing; it’s essentially a job without a paycheck. Because of this, volunteering can feel like work, involving a lot of physical and mental activity. It often keeps volunteers on the move, which heavily promotes physical health.

And this is a good thing. After all, staying active is crucial for overall health, including social interaction and activity levels. For example, biking to a volunteer opportunity can help a retiree meet the CDC’s recommendation of at least 30 minutes of daily aerobic activity for older adults.

Meanwhile, many retirees worry about lacking mental stimulation. Keeping the brain active is vital, and social interaction can help. Volunteering often provides mentally stimulating tasks, which can improve cognitive function.

Read: How Can I Stay Active in Retirement

How To Find The Right Volunteering Role As A Retiree

Not just any volunteer job will do. Just like with a career, finding the right volunteering role is key to reaping the benefits I discussed earlier. The perfect fit can lead to a far more meaningful experience.

To find the right volunteering role, start by understanding what you want from volunteering. Consider questions like why you want to volunteer, what activities interest you, and if you want to utilize professional skills or learn new ones.

Be sure to not tackle these questions alone. Discuss them with your spouse, friends, or former colleagues. Their insights can help you uncover your retirement passion, which could perfectly align with the right volunteering opportunity.

Also, many local organizations offer volunteer positions. Consider community centers, churches, or even sports clubs. They may have openings that fit your interests and skills perfectly.

If you have no idea where to start, here are some of the common volunteering roles retirees often take:

  • A Foster Grandparent: Volunteering as a foster grandparent involves providing guidance and attention to children in need. Activities include helping with homework or engaging in fun activities. To become a foster grandparent, you can apply through the National Community Service’s Americorps Seniors. Typically, a background check is required, and volunteers are expected to commit to a minimum period or specific hours per week.
  • A Senior Companion: The Americorps Seniors also offers volunteer opportunities as a senior companion. In this role, volunteers assist individuals aged 55 and older with daily tasks they find challenging. The program aims to support seniors in living independently at home for a longer duration.
  • A Mentor Or Coach: Volunteering as a mentor or coach in your professional field can be rewarding. However, coaching requires different skills than traditional professional work. Consider taking a course through Coaching Training Alliance to enhance your coaching abilities before diving into this role.

To know your other options, consider checking out volunteering associations and websites. You can start by going to,, and

How To Get The Most Out Of Volunteering

Volunteering as a retiree is a fantastic way to get involved in your local community, stay active, and fill your retirement with purpose. To ensure you get the most out of your volunteer journey, here are some helpful tips:

  • Be Committed: When you volunteer, you’re committing to a task or job, and people rely on you. It’s essential to make commitments you can fulfill and avoid over-committing. Remember, volunteering is a job, but you don’t have to work every day. Balance your commitments with enjoying your retirement.
  • Be Aware: Before applying for a volunteer role, be aware of any specific qualifications, background checks, or training requirements. Understand the processes and commitments involved beforehand to avoid unexpected obligations. It’s essential to know what you’re getting into before committing to a volunteer position.
  • Be Inclusive: Volunteering might feel daunting if it’s new to you, especially after retiring from a long-held job. To ease into it, consider bringing a friend or your spouse along. Starting together can make the experience more enjoyable and less intimidating, as you can support each other and feel more at ease interacting with others in a new environment.
  • Be Discerning: Learning to say no is crucial for maximizing your volunteering experience. Many organizations appreciate any help they can get, but it’s important to set boundaries to avoid overcommitting. Be clear from the beginning about your availability and the tasks you’re willing to undertake to prevent taking on too much as a volunteer.
  • Be Proactive: Continuously learning and improving can enhance your skill set, benefiting your role as a volunteer. MasterClass is a great platform for learning new skills and expanding your knowledge base.

By following these, you can approach volunteering with confidence and ensure it becomes a truly enriching experience for both you and the organization you choose.


Hopefully, this has provided valuable insights into the reasons why volunteering is popular among retirees. Additionally, it has explored how you, too, can get involved in volunteering as you transition into retirement.

And for further inspiration, you might be interested in exploring some of my other recent posts:

Happy reading!


My wife and I quit the rat race and retired in 2021. We RV'ed around the US for a couple of years and now we're slow traveling outside the US!

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