targeting generation z as they enter the nonprofit world

Reaching 82 billion members, Generation Z is on its way to becoming the largest consumer generation out there. Gen Z includes those born from 1996 to today, with the oldest Gen Zers turning 25 this year. As these members near the golden age to become regular donors, it opens up a door of opportunity for nonprofit organizations. What is behind that door, you ask? New brand ambassadors.

COVID-19 didn’t shake this generation’s world when digital means became the primary source of connection this past year. Generation Z hardly knew of a time before technology became mainstream. Surrounded by technologies and social media from a young age, Gen Z has grown up with a vast awareness of various issues such as climate change, humanitarian challenges, and so on. In fact, their experience with technology and hyper-awareness makes Gen Z an ideal group to reach out to. Gen Zers have a desire for change and are motivated to help make a difference in the world.

It’s time to embrace this generation’s passion and turn it into support! Let’s look at four helpful tips and strategies on how to engage these digital natives.  

1. tell an honest story

Generation Z values trust, effective change, and heart-tugging stories. Share honest and inspiring stories about real people you serve along with the impact it brings to society. Have these stories feature an individual from the Gen Z age group who receives aid from your nonprofit. Sharing stories of young clients will motivate this demographic to have a stronger compassion and understanding of your mission. This building block of trust will create meaningful relationships between your nonprofit and potential Gen Z donors. Show how their contributions would make an impact and how much their support is needed. This will ultimately drive this authentic driven group to become invested. 


2. utilize your digital presence

It’s important to take advantage of the various features on social media to reach Generation Z, because of their high involvement with the digital world. Use language and demographics that they’re familiar with to strengthen your reach. Using intentional hashtags, videos, and creative targeted campaigns can boost awareness and show Gen Zers you need their help.

Another way to get in front of these digital gurus is to expand your social media networks to platforms like TikTok and Instagram. These apps focus on creative photos and videos that can boost engagement with your mission. TikTok is one of the biggest social media platforms that attracts Gen Zers right now. Check out some ideas on how to get your nonprofit on this platform! Familiarize yourself with key features to utilize new platforms in the most beneficial way possible.


3. inspire Gen Z to become long-term donors

As the most socially-conscious generation, Gen Zers are truthseekers and can tell if a nonprofit brand is authentic or not. Before making a donation, they want to engage with an organization first and have a deeper understanding of the mission. One way they can achieve this is by getting involved in-person. Use digital communications to motivate participation in real-time events to build these people into long-term ambassadors. Using different social media features like TikTok, Instagram live, and ads will help inspire them to learn more about your impact in the community. As anyone, they want to know their passion for worldwide change is valued. By feeling welcomed into your organization’s community and developing trust on and offline, Gen Zers are on their way to becoming big donors.


4. hire Gen Z staff

Although Generation Z is one of the youngest generations, 32% of Gen Zers donate their own money to charity and 26% of 16-19 year olds volunteer for nonprofits. Some of these ambitious members are referred to as “philanthroteens”, meaning “They want to go out in the real world and do something”. Take advantage of this group’s interest in making a difference by hiring young adults on staff. What better way to reach the generation than to have the same generation be the ones to do the reaching?! Embrace their experience with technology and put it to good use. Hiring Generation Z in social media management positions will expand your audience reach and enhance your mission due to their creative ideas and knowledge about popular trends.


We hope these tips and strategies were helpful in brainstorming ways to reach out to this determined group of people. Generation Z may be the newest generation to the donating game, but they are ready to make a difference!

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