3 Ways Nonprofits Can Engage Gen Z: From Our Latest Report


By An Uong

Gen Z looking at cell phone

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Published March 21, 2023 Reading Time: 3 minutes

Gen Z is the largest and most diverse generation in U.S. history. As this demographic matures, these young adults are establishing their giving practices, with 57% planning donations in their financial budgets each year.

Gen Z is intentional about the causes they give to, often doing research before and after a gift. Nonprofits have an opportunity to learn how they can better engage Gen Z donors as this demographic develops into mature philanthropists.

Our newest report, The Nonprofit’s Guide to Engaging Gen Z, combines data from Classy’s Why America Gives report and Pursuant’s GivingDNA analysis. The guide takes a deeper look at the Gen Z donor base and offers actionable takeaways for nonprofit leaders looking to engage this group of donors. We’re showcasing three learnings from the report so you can get a glimpse of the insights, then dive into the full guide.

1. Speak Directly to Gen Z Values

Gen Z values relationships built on trust. For a generation that has spent most of its adolescence and adult life exposed to constant news cycles and social media, engaging Gen Z will take an intentional approach to incorporate these top values they hold close to their hearts:

  • Authenticity
  • Transparency
  • Political leanings

Taking a moment to weave in these values throughout your campaign messaging and branding to Gen Z will help start the conversation from a genuine place.

Storytelling also matters more than ever with Gen Z since 53% of Gen Z donors are likely to repeat a donation for a cause they feel passionate about. Sharing as much as you can about the narrative behind your campaign will help Gen Z feel more connected to the cause.

We all know social media is important in engaging Gen Z since 47% of Gen Z donors check out an organization’s social platforms before they donate. It’s important here to stay consistent with your organization’s tone of voice across channels in order to build that necessary trust.

2. Understand How Gen Z Learn About Causes

In order to engage successfully with Gen Z donors, you have to know how they learn about causes. Seventy-nine percent of Gen Z donors learn about new causes through social media, so emphasizing these channels will help you reach this audience.

While your use of channels may change over time, the current top three social media platforms used by Gen Z to discover new causes are:

  1. YouTube (44%)
  2. Instagram (37%)
  3. TikTok (37%)

An organization’s presence on social media is especially important considering 40% of Gen Z donors learn about new causes from influencers or celebrities. This is an opportunity for partnership with influential supporters who can help amplify your message.

3. Leverage Community to Engage Gen Z

Another way to actively engage Gen Z is to empower them in your campaign. Since 79% of Gen Z donors are likely to donate to a friend, coworker, or family member, leveraging Gen Z supporters to fundraise on your behalf will help you broaden the reach of your cause.

Going beyond monetary donations, Gen Z is the most likely to support a cause through advocacy—over 6x as likely to do so compared to Baby Boomers. Don’t hesitate to give Gen Z opportunities to get involved with your events and campaigns at a hands-on level.

Make Your Impact on Next-Gen Donors

Building a loyal Gen Z donor base at your nonprofit means understanding how to reach this generation authentically. Our report, The Nonprofit’s Guide to Engaging Gen Z, offers data-driven learnings and strategies for you to leverage as you set out on this journey.

Together with Pursuant and their GivingDNA analysis, we’ve produced a comprehensive and nuanced view of Gen Z donor sentiments and habits. Get the entire report to learn more. 

Gen Z and cell phone

The Nonprofit's Guide to Engaging Gen Z

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