What is RSVP?  Started in 1966 by the Community Service Society (CSS), a 179-year-old nonprofit agency, RSVP (Retired & Senior Volunteer Program) matches the skills and interests of adults 55+ with volunteer opportunities at New York City nonprofit organizations and licensed health care facilities.  With nearly 3,000 volunteers, RSVP in New York City is one of the largest senior volunteer programs in the nation.  CSS/RSVP is the first and largest RSVP. There are 750 RSVPs nationally and 20 sites in 17 countries internationally. 

What are the requirements for becoming an RSVP volunteer?  You need to be at least 55 years of age and be willing to volunteer in one of the five boroughs of New York City. 

What if I want to volunteer outside of New York City?  RSVP is a national program.  While RSVP New York City is the largest one, there are hundreds across the country and internationally.  Please visit www.seniorcorps.gov/about/programs/rsvp.asp to find the RSVP nearest you.

What if I am under age 55?  Please go to www.volunteermatch.org for volunteer opportunities for people of all ages.

What are the benefits of being an RSVP volunteer?  First and foremost, you will be making a big difference in the lives of others.  Second, you will be working with dedicated staff and volunteers to improve the lives of fellow New Yorkers.  All RSVP volunteers receive supplemental accident insurance coverage and most are also eligible for partial travel reimbursement. 

What do RSVP volunteers do at nonprofit agencies and licensed health care facilities?  RSVP has more than 400 partnering organizations ready to engage volunteers.  RSVP members serve in many different ways such as mentoring a troubled child, financial coaching, helping organizations with program development, providing counsel to new business owners, tutoring children in after-school programs, conducting friendly visits to homebound senior citizens, teaching adult learners to read,  providing administrative assistance, and so much more! 

How do I become an RSVP volunteer?  You will go through a comprehensive one-on-one interview to help you connect with volunteer opportunities that suit their skills and interests.  To schedule an interview, contact Deirdre Ryan-Spirakis at 212-614-5536 or email dryan@cssny.org. 

Do I have to live in New York City to be an RSVP member with Community Service Society?  No.  You can live outside of the five boroughs, but you are required to conduct your volunteer work within the five boroughs of NYC.

I don’t know what type of volunteer work I’d like to do.  Can RSVP help me figure it out?  Yes!  When you contact RSVP you are a scheduled for a one-on-one interview with a placement expert who will work with you on finding the right opportunity that fits your skills and interests.  Most of the time you will be connected with the potential placement organization while you are in the RSVP office.

Is there training for volunteer opportunities through RSVP?  Yes.  All opportunities have training.  The length and extensive nature of the training depends on the position.

I don’t want to do the same thing I did in my career.  Can I try something new?  Of course!  RSVP strongly believes in finding a volunteer role that suits what you want.  Volunteering can be a great way to discover new skills and interests that you never knew you had.

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