Get Ready for Gen Z

The following content originated from the article, 10 Non-profit Sector Trends for 2021 in Personify WildApricot in December 2020. This blog focuses on one of those key trends: The emergence of “Gen Z”. I believe this trend will begin impacting the Not-For-Profit Sector in big ways starting in 2022.

Some quick facts on Generation Z (Gen Z):

  • Includes people born between 1993 and 2011
  • Also known as the “Internet Generation” because they were born after the invention of the Internet.
  • There are about 7.3 million Gen Zs in Canada, with the oldest members turning 25 in 2021, a prime age to cultivate to become NEW donors.

This will be the largest consumer generation over the next five years, reaching 7.3 million in Canada and 82 billion worldwide. For any nonprofit or charity, it’s time to start investing in reaching this newest generation of supporters.

Who is Gen Z?

First, it’s critical to develop an understanding of who Gen Z is, and how their behaviour will impact fundraising. In January 2019, TTI Insights described Gen Z the following ways:

Generation Z is financially focused: When it comes to work, Generation Z views their job as a means to an end.

Generation Z is entrepreneurial

They know there’s money to be made from good ideas. They are also keenly aware that everything they don’t currently know is a simple click or two away, which makes the bold decision to be an entrepreneur less arduous and easier to swallow.

Generation Z is all about technology

From the time of their birth, the internet and cell phones (for the most part) were commonplace. Gen Z wants instant gratification, and they know that if they need information, it’s easily accessible.

Generation Z is competitive

This group is very focused and competitive in most areas of life. Not only do they want to get into the best schools and get the highest paying jobs, but they also want to win every debate and every sporting event. Competition constantly drives this group.

Change is welcomed by Generation Z

With limitless information at their fingertips, Gen Z has a lot of knowledge and exposure to many different topics. With this breadth of knowledge, they constantly seek new ideas and experiences. With this mentality, they tend to rally behind causes that resonate with them, often before they even take time to consider the “other side.”

Diversity doesn’t even register with Generation Z

They’ve grown up in a diverse world and it’s all they know. Neither race, sexual orientation nor religion are the identifying characteristics that they may have been for previous generations. People are just people to Gen Z. It doesn’t mean they won’t judge, however. Gen Z is more likely to judge someone for what you are, rather than for who you are.

Generation Z wants to be heard

Having access to so much information, Gen Z has strong opinions and wants them to be heard. This is especially true in the workplace, where they expect to be an equal contributor. Gen Z members believe their ideas are just as valuable as ideas from members of other generations. While they may lack the experience that only comes with time, their ability to change on a dime, process information quickly and compete make them a voice to be heard in any organization.

How to Reach Gen Z in Your Fundraising

So, what do you need to do to reach Gen Z in 2022 and beyond?

  • Gen Z was born into the digital world. If your organization wasn’t pushed into the digital world by COVID-19, 2022 is the time to make the move to engage this digital generation.
  • Gen Z values inclusivity. Make sure all your communications are inclusive.
  • Gen Z flourishes in communities. Facebook recently highlighted that “While they prize their individuality, Gen Z also crave the connections that communities create, which may explain why there are over 10M+ groups on Facebook, with 1.4B people using them every month.” Your organization must create space for community, online and offline, to best engage Gen Z.
  • Gen Z are fact chasers. They will not engage with an inauthentic brand. Your organization needs to stay true to its brand and maintain transparency.

Use of Video Will Keep Rising Among Gen Z and Others

“People want to access, authenticity, and transparency. Use video to lift the veil on your not-for-profit. In this same vein, people prefer to interact with amateur content than super polished and posed accounts.” (Julia Campbell, Nonprofit Digital Marketing Consultant)

If you aren’t using video in your not-for-profit marketing, you’re missing a crucial opportunity. A recent Google survey revealed video trends for not-for-profits that you can’t ignore:

  • YouTube is the top video platform.
  • 79% of donors reported that online video ads were the most useful online media marketing they saw
  • Video ads tied with email ads garnered the highest and fastest levels of engagement.
  • 39% of people who watch a video look up the organization within a day of viewing it.
  • 57% of people who watch a video for a not-for-profit donate.

So, What’s Next?

Non-profits are always looking for an edge in fundraising and Gen Z can be that edge if you make a concerted effort to engage them. Begin by hiring Gen Z to your fundraising team. Second, develop a specific fundraising strategy to engage Gen Z. And third, implement your Gen Z strategy in early 2022. The first non-profits to sincerely engage Gen Z will profit from their enthusiasm, dedication to your cause, and willingness to go that extra mile for your organization. They are looking for causes to embrace and ways to change the world. They are waiting to be asked.

If you follow the steps above and start thinking critically about how to reach Gen Z, you will have much more success in your fundraising approach. To discuss further or for questions or concerns, you can reach me at [email protected].