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Unveiling the Generosity of Gen Z: How to Engage the Next Generation of Donors

May 8, 2024News

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, where smartphones are ubiquitous and social media platforms serve as daily conduits for communication, Gen Zers are redefining philanthropy. Born between 1997 and 2012, this cohort stands as true digital natives, navigating a world of unprecedented connectivity and information access. But what sets them apart isn’t just their technological prowess; it’s their remarkable generosity and commitment to social causes. Despite facing economic challenges such as soaring student debt and inflation, Gen Z remains steadfast in their support for nonprofits. With an average of more than $20,000 in student loans, this generation could easily retreat into financial caution. However, they are emerging as one of the most generous donor bases, with statistics revealing their propensity to give multiple times within a year, surpassing other generations. Research from Abacus Cooperative revealed that in 2022, Gen Z adults made an average of 5.3 donations — notably more than the 4.8 made by millennials and 4.7 made by Generation X. So, how can nonprofits effectively engage and harness the support of these young donors? Here are five strategies to connect with Gen Z and inspire their philanthropic spirit:

1. Define Your Purpose 

Gen Z values authenticity and boldness. To earn their respect and support, nonprofits must articulate their values and missions clearly. Utilize online platforms and social media to highlight your organization’s commitments and impact.

2. Cultivate Mentorship

Harness the power of peer influence. Gen Zers are more likely to support causes endorsed by peers or influencers. Foster mentorship programs within your organization to provide guidance and foster connections among young donors.

3. Mobile Engagement

Meet Gen Z on their preferred platform — their smartphones. The Gen Z Generation has an average of 49 hours and seven minutes per week of screen time. According to studies, the Gen Z average exceeds that of the global mobile screen time average by 104%, and the US average by 92%. Leverage this by implementing peer-to-peer texting strategies to maintain constant engagement and keep your organization at the forefront of their minds.

4. Harness the Power of Visual Storytelling

Embrace video content to capture Gen Z’s attention. Leverage platforms like TikTok and YouTube to share impactful stories, event invitations, and donor updates in a format that resonates with this visually-driven generation.

5. Sustain Engagement Throughout the Year

Recognize the frequency of Gen Z’s giving. Implement a comprehensive stewardship strategy that delivers personalized and authentic communications year-round. Utilize an omnichannel approach to maintain consistent engagement across various platforms.

Empowering the Next Generation to Give

As the most racially and ethnically diverse and educated generation to date, Gen Z’s passion for making a difference is palpable. By adapting donor outreach strategies to align with their values and preferences, nonprofits can tap into the boundless potential of this new generation of generous donors. Insights from research conducted by scholars like Roberta Katz shed light on the unique characteristics and attitudes of Gen Z. Understanding their collaborative nature, pragmatism, and desire for authenticity can further guide nonprofits in effectively engaging with this dynamic demographic. As Gen Zers continue to shape the future, it is imperative for nonprofits to embrace innovative approaches and cultivate meaningful connections with this generation of changemakers. By doing so, we can collectively harness their passion and generosity to create a brighter, more inclusive world for generations to come.

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