Is Your Non-Profit Ready For Gen Z?


What does a philanthropist look like? Many nonprofit leaders, as well as those removed from the nonprofit fundraising arena, may be quick to describe a member of the baby boomer generation who gives generously to a cause they care deeply about. Though in the past this may have been the case, over the last few years, much attention has been given to millennials as they grow older. Not only are millennials now among the largest demographic, they also pack a hefty punch when it comes to their power to give.

However, the face of philanthropy is changing and many may be surprised by the change it is taking. Precocious youngsters of Generation Z, young people below the age of 20, have taken the stage on the giving front with some astounding results. Often referred to as ‘Philanthroteens’ or ‘Philanthrokids’, members of Generation Z have been making waves with their giving efforts. Now more than ever, kids and teens of all ages have the capacity to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and move tens of thousands of people into a deeper positions of awareness.

Because they’ve grown up in a largely technological landscape, members of Gen Z are connected to news and videos that constantly provide a bleak picture. Due to the clickability of sharing through social sites, Gen Z is acutely aware of the humanitarian challenges that exist in the world around them. And the most amazing part? They’re eager to do their part to make a difference. To harness the power of this generation’s awareness, nonprofit leaders need to keep a few trends in mind.

Acknowledge Their Contributions

With the number of young philanthropists looking to make a difference in the world growing, it may be time for your nonprofit to take a look at the ways that it acknowledges donors. The days of simply automating a ‘thank you’ letter based upon the name on a check are over. Often, it is necessary for young donors to raise significant contributions and then ask their parents to write checks for that amount to mail into their organizations of choice. If your nonprofit is simply entering names off of a donor’s check into your donor database, you may be missing the mark with your acknowledgements.

Just like any other donor, young people want to be acknowledged for the work that they do. Failing to do so, or worse – sending the acknowledgement to their parents, could result in the loss of a strong advocate for your nonprofit both now and in the future.

Communicate Quickly

With texting, social profiles and easily-accessible WiFi connections, the members of Gen Z are used to a fast and pithy dialogue. Conversations that would unfold for previous generations over the course of a few days, begin and end in a matter of hours for Generation Z. For this reason, it’s important for nonprofits to understand how to keep social conversations alive within the lightning fast landscape the youth of today are used to interacting in. Take the time to consider your nonprofit’s communication strategies – are you ready to reach out to, and communicate with, a younger generation?

Create Opportunities For Gen Z To Get Involved

The donor of today may be younger than the donors of yesterday, but that doesn’t always mean financial contributions should be your main point of focus within this demographic. Rather than focusing solely on the financial aspects of donor cultivation, take into consideration the dedication this younger age groups needs to get involved. According to  survey conducted by Sparks and Honey, over 60% of this young generation has already declared they want to make a positive impact on the world. Create volunteer opportunities for young people to get involved. In inviting them to get involved with your nonprofit’s work, you’ll be helping to ignite their passion and creating a nonprofit advocate at the same time.

Though targeting young philanthropists may seem unnecessary to many nonprofit leaders, one thing remains clear – young people are eager to volunteer. Perhaps it’s time to start expanding the definition of ‘philanthropist’ to extend beyond just those individuals with deep pockets.