It’s time to start talking about a new generation. By now, I think it’s safe to say we all have a good grasp on the “millennial generation.” We understand their habits and what motivates them to buy, donate and all that’s in between. But have you considered who’s coming up behind them (and quickly)?


Generation Z, people!


Gen Z: AKA "Philanthroteens"


Gen Z is a group that needs to be paid attention to; especially you, nonprofits!


Now let’s define them so we all know who we’re talking about. Gen Z is comprised of anyone born between 1996-2010, but don’t let that scare you away. There are over 61 million of them in the U.S. and over 2 billion around the world. That’s 27% of the world’s population, for those who don’t like math. And in case that’s not convincing enough, here are a couple other stats you should know:


  • By 2020, they will make up 40% of all consumers
  • Gen Z spends 74% of their time outside of school or work online.
  • Their spending power is currently valued at $44 billion

So why should nonprofits care?


As is true in most everything, if you’re not thinking ahead, you’re behind. We can’t only focus on our current donors and those with the deepest pockets and sharpened skillsets. By being proactive and intentional with the upcoming generation, you will continue to firm your foundation of donors for years to come. And Gen Z is especially primed and ready for your message. Here’s why:

  • 26% of those aged 16 to 19 volunteer regularly
  • 32% of Gen Z have already donated to causes they care about
  • 50% are looking for a job in volunteering

And to think, they’re just getting started! So all this information is great, but how do you begin to engage these young whipper snappers?


  1. Keep it simple and easy

As you might imagine, this generation is used to consuming a LOT of content. They swipe to the next picture/video/article if it doesn’t immediately catch their divided attention. And let’s be real, cute puppy videos are hard to compete with.


Fun fact: Gen Z has an attention span of 8 seconds (that’s 4 less seconds than the generation before them)!


For this reason, you need to make sure your messaging is spot on, clear, and digestible, and ensure your website is easy to navigate on mobile.


  1. Tell your story

Find ways to tell your nonprofit’s story and communicate your impact, not just through statistics and numbers, but through real stories of change that a Gen Z-er can tangibly understand and feel moved by.


Something else to consider, this generation is most impacted when you communicate their personal impact. They want to know what difference their participation made, ultimately making them feel like they're making the difference they long for. For example, instead of "Thank you for your gift!", they want to hear, "Your gift of $50 helped us provide Thomas with school supplies for an entire year." 


  1. Be active on social media

This may seem obvious, but social media is the land where Gen Z lives. This means you must also live there if you want to be in their space. Not only do you need to be “present”, you must also be active and engaged. Gen Z-ers want to see that you’re posting often, you’re alive and sharing content they care about on a regular basis. Gone are the days where you can simply “exist” on social media. You need to create interesting content (video especially), use hashtags and tell your story in a compelling way.


This generation, like never before, is more philanthropically inclined and wanting to make a difference at an early age. We can’t miss this huge opportunity to engage with them and get them on board early. To listen to our podcast about this very topic, click here.

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