What’s next for long-term nonprofit founders and leaders who have devoted their working lives to solving social problems? That’s the focus of a survey featured this week in the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“Virtually all of the people in the study, which included some leaders who have already retired, said they wanted to continue working for charitable causes as volunteers or in more flexible paid roles,” the Chronicle reported. “But just over half wondered if they would, indeed, be able to find a way to contribute after leaving their current positions, an indication of fears that the nonprofit world might not be ready to make full use of their skills.”

The online survey of 266 nonprofit employees age 55 and older was conducted by the Building Movement Project, a group aimed at strengthening social-change nonprofits, along with Encore.org and Clohesy Consulting. Survey results show that nonprofit leaders don’t want to retire from being activists to build a better future. They want new ways to continue meaningful work with more flexibility, less stress and responsibility, and the continued income they need for financial security. The upcoming retirements of experienced nonprofit leaders will create an abundance of executive-level talent, eager to continue contributing and pose a challenge to the sector.

How can it engage this talent in high-impact, meaningful roles, both paid and unpaid? As for the talent, long-term nonprofit leaders are apprehensive about entering a new, encore stage of life and work, but remain optimistic about their future. They know what they want even if they may not be sure how to get it or where they will land.

For some key stats from the research, click here. Check out the full study here.

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