First Report of the National Evaluation of RSVP Volunteers

Implementing Organization: 

In 2013, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) initiated a national evaluation of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). The national evaluation was intended to collect the necessary information to describe the characteristics of RSVP volunteers, including how volunteers are distributed across CNCS’s performance measure categories, how they allocate their time to different service activities, and if there are differences in engagement in service activities by gender, age, and length of service in the RSVP program.

A sample of 1,499 volunteers was drawn from 33 RSVP grantees; 849 volunteers that completed the survey, yielding an overall response rate of 57 percent.

Findings: The majority of RSVP volunteers survey respondents are white, non-veteran, retired, women, with an income between $20,000 and $40,000, and have earned a bachelor’s degree; respondents served, on average, 8 years. Respondents who were older than 76 served with the RSVP program, on average, 11 years; approximately 42 percent of RSVP volunteer survey respondents engaged in national priority service activities such as support older adults maintain independent living in their home or in group care settings, help young children in an educational setting, or assist in adult education. Another 13 percent engaged in Capacity Building activities; male volunteer respondents younger than 65 years of age were more likely than women to engage in national priority service activities as were those younger than 65 years of age. Approximately 42 percent of the volunteer respondents engaged in service activities that directly support their communities such as neighborhood watch. 


CNCS Program(s): 
Senior Corps
Age(s) Studied: 
55+ (Older adult)
Outcomes Category(s): 
Benefit to National Service Member/Volunteer
Improving CNCS
Study Type(s): 
Case Study or Descriptive
Study Design(s): 
JBS International
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
May 12, 2016
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