You’ve heard of the baby boomers, Generation Xers and definitely millennials. You probably know all about these different groups of people, what their needs are and especially how to reach out and engage them with your nonprofit’s mission. But there’s one up-and-coming group of youngsters for your nonprofit to start reaching out to: Generation Z.
Generation Z follows the millennials as the newest and youngest generational group living in the United States. Generally speaking, they were born between the years of 1997–2013, meaning the oldest Gen Zers are just now starting their freshman year of college and the youngest are still waddling through elementary school. While the millennial generation grew up with the rise of theinternet—and even has working memories of times without the internet—Gen Z has been connected online their entire lives.
What does this mean for your nonprofit organization? Just like any other generation, Gen Z requires a different means of engagement as they begin making decisions about donating to important causes. Is your nonprofit ready to start connecting with Gen Z? Today we have some tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Be mobile.
Generation Z is the first generation in history to spend their formative years—and the rest of their lives—completely immersed in technology. Unlike the millennial generation before them, they have no recollection of the simpler days of VHS tapes, roll-down windows or flip phones. What does this mean for how your nonprofit organization engages with Gen Z? It means if you are not online, they will not connect with you.
Being mobile is critical to driving engagement with the youthful Generation Z. This means your nonprofit website should be as accessible as possible through mobile devices. First and foremost, your website should be responsive. A responsive site is one that automatically sizes down and reformats to fit whatever screen it is being viewed on.
For example, right now you’re reading this article on a responsive site. Whether it’s on your phone or on a desktop computer, no matter how big the window is, you’re still able to see every word without having to scroll or search through tiny buttons to find what you’re looking for. Responsive sites drive a lot more engagement than their non-responsive counterparts, because younger generations like Gen Z—and even some older ones—are turning more and more to accessing the internet through their smartphones.
Gen Z was born with technology at their fingertips, so you want to make sure your organization is accessible at their fingertips by having a mobile website that’s easy to maneuver and easy to donate through.
2. Engage socially.
According to Nonprofit Tech for Good, more than 50 percent of children ages 0–8 spend an average of 43 minutes every day on smartphones and tablets. Older Gen Zers are no different. Generation Z grew up with their phones in their hands, ready for anything. They are constantly taking in information, while at the same time deciphering it and forgetting it. This consistent exposure to technology means that your nonprofit organization needs to be on social media if you want to engage with younger generations.
Utilizing social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram gives your nonprofit the ability to connect with younger constituents where they are, rather than asking them to come to your website. You can share event information, photos, mission content and more to gain interest and get exposure for your organization.
The more available you are online and on social media, the more interest you can gain from Generation Z, which leads to greater engagement and growth for your organization.
3. Get them involved.
Next up: Make sure you get younger volunteers involved in your nonprofit. According to the New York Times, Generation Z currently accounts for approximately 60 million of the population, outnumbering the millennial generation before it. This is a huge group for your nonprofit to be aware of and to connect with. Sure, Gen Z may not have their own checking accounts yet and might not even be able to drive without adult supervision, but giving them opportunities to get involved is the quickest way to make sure they keep coming back to your organization for years to come.
What does this mean? It means giving Gen Z opportunities to volunteer within your organization. It means providing areas where they can give donations. It means sending up-to-date information their way via email or text. When Gen Zers do decide to give or volunteer with your organization, make sure you thank them, not their parent, and they’ll continue to get involved with your organization in the future.
4. Focus on volunteering.
Obviously, the younger generations may not have the most money in their pockets to donate at this moment. That’s no problem! Focus on connecting Generation Z with volunteer opportunities. This way, they will feel more engaged with your nonprofit organization now, and will likely give monetarily in the future when they are able.
Try hosting events that allow for younger volunteers, such as fun runs where they can hand out water, food drives where they can collect items from neighbors or clothing collections, where they can actually go through their own items and donate some of what they have. By giving them opportunities to actually get out and get involved in your cause, Gen Z will feel more connected and continue to be involved.
5. Create unification.
Finally, just because you’re focusing on engaging with Generation Z doesn’t mean you have to forget about everyone else. Remember to create unification among all your constituents as much and as often as possible. You don’t want anyone to feel left out or isolated from the dialogue.
Host events, share information through different channels and engage through different platforms to make sure Generation Z sees the bigger picture of your nonprofit. When you build unification, you create a solid foundation for the organization to stand on from now on into the future.
Generation Z may be a little new to the nonprofit game, but don’t count them out. By engaging with them appropriately and directly, you can make these young constituents feel like a valued part of your organization. Try some of these tips to start engaging, share your cause and grow your mission.