How to modernise your program and manage change resistance from senior volunteers

Numerous organisations are currently grappling with the challenge of updating their volunteer programs while navigating resistance to change from their more experienced volunteers.

Many organisations that benefit from volunteer programs are experiencing a clash between the need to modernise their program and managing the change resistance from senior volunteers.
How can you seamlessly implement contemporary enhancements like dashboards, portals, mobile check-in/check-out, volunteer profiles, and online onboarding to appeal to an aging demographic, including those who may be less familiar with technology, without causing undue worry or stress?
Not all elderly volunteers will be perturbed by the modern day volunteer systems such as Rosterfy. In fact there are a large number of aging volunteers who see these improvements as greatly enhancing their experience of the volunteer program. Smartphones, tablets, voice activated devices have all been adopted en masse by senior citizens.

In this article we will dive into one such program from Golf Australia who use Rosterfy to maximise the efficiency of their team but have also received outstanding feedback from their volunteers.

Seven ways to manage change resistance from senior volunteers

Before we uncover what’s been so successful in Golf Australia’s program we’ll highlight seven  ways you can manage change resistance from older volunteers when introducing new systems and modern volunteer management programs.
  1. Clear and open lines of communication
    Address your intentions to modernise your volunteer program ahead of time. This will give your volunteers plenty of time to address any concerns they might have or considerations you may need to make for people with specific needs.

    Keep a simple and easy to follow format:

    - What is changing?
    - When is it happening?
    - What if anything do your volunteers need to do?

  2. Education and Training
    Offer comprehensive training sessions to familiarise your volunteers with the changes and demonstrate how the changes will benefit them and the organization.

    When managing large numbers of volunteers, in person training isn’t always viable so you need an easy to access, online solution for delivering information and ensuring your program meets any compliance requirements expected. 

    Use an online training provider to deliver the training or if you have Rosterfy you can build your own LMS program to ensure all training steps are complete, you have a record of the training and a real time status for each volunteer. 

  3. Give your volunteers a sense of empowerment
    Involve your volunteers in the decision making process as much as possible. Their input can provide valuable insights and increase their sense of belonging in the program. Rosterfy’s Volunteer Management Platform gives volunteers their own Volunteer Portal displaying their full volunteering history.

  4. Take small steps
    Introduce changes gradually rather than all at once, allowing your volunteers to adjust incrementally and feel more comfortable with the process. Document the changes or create a regular blog update of them so your team or volunteers can catch up in their own time.

  5. Create support networks
    Establish support networks among volunteers where they can share experiences, concerns, and tips for adapting to the changes. Many volunteer programs designate people as ‘Group Leaders’ within the volunteer base. This creates a point of contact within your teams so they can relay information.

  6. Offer one to one assistance
    Try to offer individualised assistance and support to those who may struggle with the changes, whether it's technological support or emotional reassurance.

  7. Celebrate process
    Acknowledge and celebrate milestones achieved as a result of the changes, highlighting the positive outcomes and successes. When you use a Volunteer Management Software provider with Reward and Recognition features you can ensure your volunteers feel appreciated.

  8. Patience and understanding
    Be patient and empathetic towards their concerns and resistance, recognising that change can be particularly challenging for older individuals.
By implementing these strategies, you can effectively address change resistance among elderly volunteers and foster a more positive and collaborative environment within your organisation.
What motivates the 'over 60' to volunteer?

We conducted a survey among hundreds volunteers within the Rosterfy Community to explore their motivations for volunteering, the frequency of their volunteer activities, and their inclination towards volunteering if the experience predominantly occurred online.

What would motivate your to volunteer?

Given that Volunteer Recruitment stands as a crucial challenge for numerous volunteer programs, it is essential to ensure that your messaging resonates with your intended audience.

The following insights stem from a survey conducted among individuals aged 60 and above, shedding light on their motivations and preferences towards volunteering.

Motivate to Volunteer2Being part of a community and meeting new people was the standout motivator for the over 60, their desire to meet like minded people with the same interests and be sociable is the driving force to encourage them to volunteer.

Over 60 volunteers are far more likely to volunteer weekly

One standout revelation from our survey was the frequency at which individuals over 60 choose to volunteer. They are significantly more inclined to volunteer on a weekly basis compared to any other age group.


Frequency of Volunteering2

By comparison Gen-Z are less likely to volunteer weekly indicating a need for greater flexibility in their volunteering hours than other age groups. This is something organisations need to consider when advertising volunteering positions.

Volunteer Online2
Confirming the enthusiasm of individuals over 60 for embracing modernisation in volunteer programs, our findings reveal a strong inclination among this demographic to apply for volunteer positions online.

How Golf Australia evolved their volunteer program while supporting senior volunteers

For a golf tournament to run smoothly it required a large number of highly valued and enthusiastic volunteers. They donate their time and share their passion to make sure the guest and athletics have an enjoyable experience.

Golf Australia understands the value of their volunteers, so much so they want to ensure they offer them the best possible experience when offering their time to the tournament or any number of roles related to their events. 

The challenge they faced was catering for the needs of their volunteers while introducing systems and software to alleviate some of the pressure or burden that’s put upon the time when managing applications and shifts.

The experience of being a volunteer has to come first for their 200+ volunteers over 78 different clubs and an average age of 67. They knew they needed an initiative system that anyone can pick up but also one powerful enough behind the scenes to streamline the application process, training, onboarding and opportunity notifications. 

Rosterfy allowed for volunteers to self-select shifts after being shortlisted into roles, as well as checking in the volunteers online.
“Implementing Rosterfy is just one of the ways we are transforming our volunteer program. We want golf to be seen as a volunteering destination for anyone willing to contribute their time,”
Golf Australia’s Head of Workforce Engagement Claudia Marazita said.

Following the Vic Open, a survey was conducted and the results suggested the overall experience of using Rosterfy was extremely positive. 80% of volunteers either Strongly Agreed or Agreed that Rosterfy was easy to use.

Blog Quote

A word from our team

Ramon Sho, Head of Enterprise Delivery, Rosterfy - Technology modernisation is changing the volunteer landscape with the use of AI and Volunteer Management Systems that help coordinate, communicate and schedule volunteers all while ensuring everyones data is safe.

One of our common challenges we hear is how to engage an elderly volunteer demographic while using technology. Working with our customers, we see the following approaches generating the most success:
  1. Intuitive User Interface - Ensuring your user interface and volunteer journey is as streamlined as possible. You don't want to create friction or have loose ends in the application or onboarding process that just creates frustration and you risk losing their attention.

  2. Mobile First - It may seem counter-intuitive, but elderly volunteers are quite comfortable with mobile technologies, where we have seen success in interacting with mobile clients more then traditional methods such as through computer browsers.

  3. Clear and consistent support - Commonly your older generation volunteers are repeat volunteers and tend to build relationships across organisations, even within other volunteering teams in the same organisation. Ensuring they are supported by known staff members with clear processes over time will gradually reduce change resistance.

The Definitive Guide to Successful Volunteering 

In this latest white paper we uncover how the best of the best grow their volunteer numbers but not at the expense of losing touch with the heart of your cause or event



Organisations with volunteer programs need to consider the overall experience of their program and future proof it by introducing modern systems. However, this can't be at the expense of the wellbeing of their volunteers.
There are steps you can take to make sure that adding new processes and systems to your program won't alienate your volunteers. Communicating your intention to make improvements is the first step. 
Choose a system provider that has a history of delivering world class systems and has a platform that many people find intuitive, easy to use and still impactful such as Rosterfy.


About Rosterfy

Rosterfy is used by nonprofits, charities, sporting federations, local governments, and more to better manage their volunteer programs by improving how they can recruit, screen, train, and retain volunteers.

Our market leading technology helps you create an engaging experience throughout the whole lifecycle of your volunteer journey.

Book a call today.


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