Much ink has been spilled writing about Millennials: how to work with them, how to leverage their social and environmental awareness for nonprofit donations; on and on the list goes. As large as the Millennial group is, there is an even larger generational cohort coming up just behind them: Generation Z. Generation Z refers to those born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, making the oldest members about 23 and the youngest 13. Much about Generation Z is still forming as the group comes of age, but certain broad trends are already easy to see.
If any of the following points sound familiar, there’s a reason for that: one nonprofit expert observes that in many ways members of Generation Z are like more-extreme Millennials. Millennials care about causes rather than institutions; Generation Z blows right past that to global social issues like clean water and poverty. Millennials love Facebook; Gen Zers have moved on, thinking Facebook’s for their parents.
Let’s look at how a few broad characteristics of this group may affect its approach to nonprofit donations.
The True Digital Natives
Boomers and Gen Xers tend to describe Millennials as digital natives. But most Millennials remember life before 90s innovations like home internet access and 3D graphics. The real digital natives are Generation Z. None of them remember life before widespread Internet access. The oldest of them were tweens when the iPhone first arrived. They live and breathe technology.
A nonprofit donations strategy that includes no digital arm is one that misses Generation Z entirely. As this next generation comes of age, be sure your organization is ready for them with a robust digital approach.
The Connected Generation
Generation Z doesn’t remember a time when the internet was not ubiquitous. Most of them don’t know life before social media. They are socially connected online in an incredibly deep way. The 2017 Global Trends in Giving report indicates that about 65% of Gen Zers were influenced to give through a social media post. This is a staggering number, considering that much of this cohort hasn’t yet entered the workforce. Nonprofits should work to capture hearts and minds across a wide variety of social platforms if they hope to capture the dollars of Gen Z donors.
Given this generation’s social, technological, and internet-dependent bent, social and mobile giving should play a key role in your nonprofit’s digital strategy. We know Gen Z is phone-dependent and socially minded, so it makes perfect sense to leverage both these traits. Implement a modern mobile and online giving platform, and link to that platform in every social media post you make.
The Doers and Nonprofit Donations
Many experts describe Generation Z as doers, or founders. They care about global causes, and they are highly likely to get involved. Perhaps in part because this cohort isn’t yet in the workforce, they turn their care and passion into volunteering. As a nonprofit, go after these kids now and sell them on your cause. Bring them in as volunteers and help them see how they are changing the world through your nonprofit. If they’re sold on your mission now, they will remain so as they age and enter the workforce.
As you look to capture the hearts (and wallets) of the next generation, capitalize on their digital and social connectedness as well as their passion to make a difference.