Guide to AARP: Its Structure, Subsidiaries, and Advocacy for Over-50s

Dec 29, 2023 By Triston Martin

One prominent US-50+ group is the American Association of Retired Persons, more often known as AARP. Former schoolteacher Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus established this non-profit, apolitical group in 1958. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is an advocacy and service organization with more than 38 million members.

AARP's operations extend across various domains, including offering member benefits, conducting marketing activities, and representing the interests of its members through lobbying. This broad range of services underlines the organization's commitment to addressing the diverse needs of the older population.

AARP's nationwide network of chapters and dedicated volunteers powers its operations. The organization provides information, education, research, advocacy, and community services. These services address consumer rights, economic stability, employment, health, and autonomy.

One of its notable endeavors is its role as an independent publisher, with publications like Modern Maturity magazine and the monthly AARP Bulletin contributing significantly to its revenue. In 2019, AARP's revenue reached $1.70 billion, a testament to its diverse revenue streams, which include advertising income from its publications and royalties from licensing its brand.

Membership fees form the backbone of AARP's revenue model. As an IRS-recognized 501 c4 nonprofit, AARP can advocate for its members. It runs several 501 c3 public charities in addition to its for-profit operations.

Signing Up for AARP

Joining AARP is easy. Use the AARP website to enter and manage your membership.

  • Go to the signup portal.
  • Complete the form with personal details, including your name, birthday, address, and, if applicable, spouse’s information.
  • Set up your online AARP account using an email address.
  • Choose the length of your membership.
  • Agree to the terms and conditions by checking the box.
  • Proceed to the payment section.
  • Submit your application with payment information.

AARP for Traveling

The travel discounts offered by an AARP member can significantly outweigh the annual fee for those who travel often or occasionally. A quick look at the AARP benefits page reveals numerous deals in car rentals, travel packages, and other offers tailored for members.

For a Grand European Travel package, AARP members are eligible for a substantial reduction of $100 per person on over 30 river cruises across Europe, Asia, and Egypt. Furthermore, if you choose guided tours by Collete, encompassing land, river, or rail, you can save between $50 and $100 per person.

The list of member-exclusive travel benefits continues:

  • A 5% reduction on Vacations by Rail cruise tours.
  • Savings range from $65 to $200 on flights with British Airways.
  • A 12% discount on bookings at Park Ride Fly USA locations includes extra services like luggage assistance and airport shuttles.
  • A 10% discount on accommodations at various hotels and resorts.
  • Up to 30% off the standard rates for car rentals at Avid and Budget.

Shopping with AARP Membership

The array of shopping discounts available to AARP members extends the value of the membership beyond travel. For instance, members receive a $110 voucher for purchases over $139.99 from Naked Wines, a 30% discount on FTD gifts, and a 5% to 15% reduction on services at The UPS Store.

Additional shopping perks include:

  • A 10% discount on Laundry’s Kitchen home meal delivery service.
  • A 20% reduction on your initial order (up to $50) from Schwan’s Home Delivery.
  • Exclusive cash rewards at Walgreens.

AARP memberships provide access to exclusive retail discounts. Members can enjoy reduced prices on products and services from renowned companies. These discounts make shopping for essentials and gifts more affordable, allowing members to save money while purchasing quality products.

Affiliated Organizations of AARP

The AARP Foundation stands out as a charitable entity supporting individuals over 50 facing economic and social challenges. This foundation includes the AARP Experience Corps, which promotes child tutoring and mentoring, and the AARP Institute, which is responsible for managing gift annuity funds. The AARP Foundation's efforts reflect a commitment to aiding those in later life stages, ensuring they have the support and resources needed.

In contrast, AARP Services, a profit-driven arm, focuses on developing and managing innovative products and services. This sector of AARP plays a crucial role in introducing new offerings that cater to the needs and interests of AARP members, ensuring a dynamic and responsive approach to aging-related concerns.

Legal Counsel for the Elderly, another non-profit branch, offers essential legal assistance to seniors in Washington, D.C. This service is vital for older individuals requiring legal guidance, representing a commitment to ensuring justice and support for this demographic.

AARP Financial Services, a for-profit entity, handles AARP's real estate interests, showing the organization's diverse range of activities. Similarly, the AARP Insurance Plan administers various group insurance plans, providing AARP memberships with tailored insurance solutions.

Beyond these, AARP actively champions various initiatives, such as driver safety programs, television production for senior audiences, and campaigns against hunger in America. Additionally, AARP's outreach programs tackle housing and social isolation issues among seniors, demonstrating its broad scope of influence and advocacy.

AARP Membership Advantages

Joining AARP comes with numerous tangible benefits. The AARP Member Benefits page highlights over 300 perks spanning various categories. These benefits encompass discounts and access to services that cater to different needs and preferences. For AARP members, these discounts and resources offer practical and enjoyable opportunities.

Dining Perks

AARP members can also enjoy discounts at various restaurants. These dining discounts offer a chance to enjoy meals out with friends and family at a reduced cost.

Entertainment Opportunities

Entertainment options are more affordable with AARP memberships. Discounts are available for Ticketmaster, Book of the Month, and Ancestry services. Whether attending a concert, enjoying a new book, or exploring family history, AARP makes these activities more accessible.

Advocacy Support

The AARP Foundation and AARP State Offices play a significant role in advocacy. Members can benefit from the AARP Foundation Litigation services, which represent the collective interests of older adults, ensuring their rights and needs are addressed.

Community Engagement

AARP creates opportunities for community engagement through events and resources. AARP Near You and the AARP Virtual Community Center offer platforms for socializing, learning, and participating in various activities, fostering community among members.

Healthcare Benefits

Dental, vision, short- and long-term care, pet, and Medicare-eligible plans are available to AAPR members. AAPR members also have access to prescription drug discounts, making healthcare more affordable.

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