Friday, September 21, 2018

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The United Way of Bruce Grey in partnership with the Community Foundation Bruce Grey embarked on a study on the status of boards of directors within Bruce and Grey Counties, specific to concerns to the age of board members.

I was having coffee with a retiree from the volunteer and community sector and she remarked how everyone in the room at a meeting had ‘white hair’,” explained the United Way of Bruce Grey's Francesca Dobbyn. “So we decided to look at the concern that young people were not being brought into leadership roles.”

The data was complied by David Clark of DMCmetrix.

The United Way Bruce Grey conducted a 31-question on-line survey of area not-for-profit and various other service-oriented organizations. Respondents opted in to complete the survey (self-referral) via an email invitation. Responses were collected between January 11 and March 10, and generated 76 responses from 65 organizations. The respondents ranged from social services agencies to the faith community to arts and heritage.

The purpose of the survey was to: “…help us understand the barriers and opportunities for local charities and not-for-profits to engage people under the age of 40 in sitting on boards of directors and moving into leadership positions.”

There is evidence that boards are, for the most part, populated with an older demographic and that recruitment of younger people (40 years and younger) has been a challenge, and largely unsuccessful.

The study found that 76% the leadership of these organizations were over the age of 50 with 31% being over 65. Board members were a little more spread out but the majority of those involved were also over the age of 50.

Very few organizations offer alternatives to in-person attendance to board meetings.

Participants in the survey were enthusiastic about recruiting younger adults to their boards, citing new ideas, energy, and a different perspective as potential opportunities from younger board members.

A healthy and engaged volunteer sector is really important to the vibrancy of our community.


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