ReServe Greater Boston is a unique resource that offers nonprofits the talents, experience and vibrancy of workers 55 and over. Adults in the United States are living longer than ever, with many seeking part-time opportunities after retiring from careers. These older individuals can fill nonprofits’ staffing needs with mature, stable and productive employees who have many more years to work. With about 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 60 every day – and nonprofits facing a greater demand for services while working with fewer resources – ReServe helps people age 55 and older continue living productive lives and helps nonprofits fill needed positions in a cost-effective manner.
ReServe GB, a program of Community Work Services (CWS), is a nonprofit organization designed to match professionals age 55-plus with nonprofits and public sector organizations in need of highly skilled and experienced part-time specialists. These talented individuals – ReServists – typically work 10 to 20 hours per week for a modest stipend. They work with nonprofits and their clients because they want to give back to their communities through service, thereby utilizing a career’s worth of credentials, skills and experience. Agencies reap the benefits through skilled job matching, significant cost savings and the fact that ReServists “hit the ground running” with little or no need for training. Assignments can be short and project- based or ongoing as long as there is a need.
ReServe can impact the capacity of organizations to advance their missions and achieve goals on an as-needed basis. In Greater Boston, we currently have 300 ReServists ready to serve. These professionals generally live within I-495, but we also have ReServists working in Rhode Island.
ReServists have assisted nonprofits with business plans, fundraising, marketing plans and even accounting and IT needs. Greg Betley started working as a ReServist after a long career as a senior technologist for hardware and software companies, looking for part-time opportunities to help nonprofits fulfill their missions.
His first match was a five-month project to develop and implement a case management database for Hearth, a nonprofit focused on elder homelessness. A few months later, he accepted an 18-month opportunity as acting CIO at St. Mary’s Center for Women and Children, which is focused on helping women and children living in poverty. Greg successfully implemented a strategic plan to upgrade the IT infrastructure and migrate to new platforms while reducing costs. St. Mary’s President Deirdre Houtmeyers said, “We’re in a completely different place now, from servers to PCs, hardware and software. We have a new computer lab. Greg has had an unbelievable impact.”
ReServe started in New York City in 2005. Locally, a dedicated group led by Phyllis Segal, a VP at Encore.org, and Carol Greenfield, an entrepreneur in the field of elders and workforce development, saw this model fitting a need in the greater Boston nonprofit arena.
ReServe Greater Boston opened its doors in 2013 and thus far has placed more than 100 professionals at 70 different nonprofits. Our ReServists have had long, successful careers in IT, PR and marketing, finance, travel and much more. These are individuals who now want to work part-time and advance a cause by serving nonprofits and their clients and consumers.
When a nonprofit partners with Re- Serve, that agency receives access to our ReServists and we also advertise your job with all of our talented professionals. ReServe GB staff sends each agency resumes to review, and the nonprofit can interview candidates to make sure that they are right for each position. Once a match is made, we help set up Re- Servists to start filling the organization’s needs. An agency pays $18 per hour to cover a modest stipend for the worker and ReServe’s administrative costs (i.e. insurance, payroll). The goal is a cost-effective and easy way to access very special, engaged and hard working individuals.
CWS, the Boston Fedcap affiliate, was founded in 1877 and is a leading and innovative organization helping adults to transform their lives through employment. With this tradition as our backbone, ReServe GB is dedicated to helping people 55 and older and nonprofits find each other to help the people who we all serve. More information is available at 617.910.5158 or www.reserveinc.org/greaterboston.
Judith Willett is the director of ReServe Greater Boston. This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of “The Provider”, a publication of the Providers’ Council.