Access 130+ new insights and fundraising trends to build donor connections that last. Experience the report.

P2P Fundraising: The Secret to Engage Gen Z


By Ellie Burke

positive tracks

Request a Demo

Learn how top nonprofits use Classy to power their fundraising.

Schedule a Demo
Published September 5, 2016 Reading Time: 5 minutes

As of 2016, the oldest members of Generation Z (Gen Z) are 20 years old. They’re out of high school, in college, and entering the workforce. This also means they’re beginning to earn a living–and if they’re earning a living, they will soon have disposable income for what’s likely the very first time.

Don’t discount their thinner wallets. In a study conducted from 2006 to 2012, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Americans who make less than $100,000 annually actually gave a higher percentage of their income to charity than wealthier citizens.

But the real power of this emerging generation isn’t just their generosity or the way they look at today’s social problems. It’s their technology savvy that enables them to mobilize their personal networks. The oldest members of this generation were only 10-years-old when Facebook became available to anyone with an email address. A year later, when these individuals were 11, Steve Jobs announced the release of the first iPhone.

Gen Z has spent, and continues to spend, their formative years immersed in technology and social progress. They’ve also witnessed some of the world’s most challenging social problems. They’re worried about the environment, hopeful to enter a job that’s going to make a difference, and poised to leverage their technological know-how to mobilize their networks and effect change.

This is why peer-to-peer (p2p) fundraising is the perfect tool to help this generation achieve their goals as socially-minded members of society and the workforce. Now, more than ever before, fundraising software enables an individual to design a personal fundraising page that conveys their personal story, highlights their active network of supporters, is easily distributed, and offers engagement tools.

Take Positive Tracks, for example. They work exclusively with Gen Z. Their U23 Challenges Program, powered by Classy, enables young people ages 23 and under to design their own charitable athletic efforts to support causes that shape the world. Positive Tracks provides 1:1 help, mentorship, tools, and a matching dollar incentive to help youth sweat for good.

We sat down with Positive Tracks team members at the Collaborative + Classy Awards to learn how organizations can activate this young generation.

How Positive Tracks Activates Gen Z

Young people want to give back just as much as adults do. Positive Tracks gives youth the resources they need to leverage their networks to make an impact. In fact, they enable young supporters to double their contribution through their matching dollar programs. While much of Generation Z may not have access to disposable income to donate, Positive Tracks realizes they do have the ability to dedicate one thing to a cause–their sweat.

With the U23 program, young people can select a charity of their choice and participate in a physical event to raise money for the cause. Positive Tracks accepts applications for this process and then provides those selected with the fundraising tools and tips they need to be as successful as possible.

Teach Them How to Give Back

One of these tools? Top-notch peer-to-peer fundraising pages powered by Classy. Positive Tracks sets their Gen Z fundraisers up with the software and resources, such as Go-Kits full of fundraising and promotion tips, they need to mobilize their networks. And before they even begin, Positive Tracks equips young people with different fundraising ideas to help them realize the difference they can make.

In addition to educational materials, Positive Tracks also understands the important role their technology plays in successfully mobilizing this generation of givers.

You can be teaching the best lesson but unless the technology is there, the young person’s eyes are going to glaze over. [Classy] allows us to teach and look better as teachers because the functionality is better.

Nini Meyer

Founder and President

The Right Technology

In order to engage Gen Z in a way that resonates and spurs them to fundraise on behalf of your organization, you need to deliver an incredible user experience.

They have technology in their bloodstream and the tools they use are always changing. It’s really hard for us to try and keep up with what they want and what they need. If they see something that isn’t up to par, they just turn away and look for something different. Because our audience is 23 and under, it’s incredibly important that the platform that we use to engage with them is as good as it gets, super modern, super user-friendly, and sharp.

Nini Meyer

Founder and President, Positive Tracks

Gen Z is also growing up in an age of hyper customization. From the way we order our coffees to our a la carte television subscriptions, gone are the days of mass-marketing and communications. Gen Z expects the ability to personalize their online experiences, including the way they fundraise.

For Gen Z and Next Gen, they don’t want to be just a cog in a wheel; they want to build their own stuff–they want to own it. They want it to look a very specific certain way. So, the fact that [Classy] allows them to customize their pages is critical.

Nini Meyer

Founder and President

Below is an example of how a fundraiser can edit the message and story displayed on their page, as well as post updates for their community throughout their campaign.

Instructions to edit your fundraising page

If they’re not proud of the product, they won’t share it with their peers.

Nini Meyer

Founder and President

What’s Coming Up on Classy

Now, with Classy’s new Peer-to-Peer pages, nonprofit organizations can create beautiful, custom pages that empower and engage supporters like never before. In this example below, Barbells for Boobs uses the Impact Block to associate three fundraising goals with physical incentives.

Barbell for Boob's new P2P Fundraising Page

For example, if a fundraiser raises $400, they give five people the right to know if they’re living with breast cancer by paying for examinations. As a special thank you, fundraisers who raise this amount are sent a Support Team Member Hoodie and Patch.

As for the individual fundraising pages, new functionalities and built-in tips provide fundraisers step-by-step directions that allow them to set up personalized, highly visual pages in a manner of minutes.

Image of instructions to set up your p2p fundraising page.

This is oftentimes their first experience with a peer-to-peer fundraising platform. So, it’s imperative that the functionality is there–the ease-of-use is there, that it’s intuitive and that most importantly they can share their own story and make their donation page their own and [Classy] allows for that and a lot of other peer-to-peer fundraising solutions just don’t have that level of customizability.

Ray Shedd

Director of Partnerships and Marketing

Positive Tracks’ work is incredible proof of the impact Gen Z is ready to make. With p2p fundraising, you help these young people leverage their online networks and make a difference. These fundraising experiences will begin valuable relationships with the generation that will make up 40 percent of all consumers by the year 2020.

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that organizations need to meet young people on their own terms and turf. Young people see themselves as change-makers once they get active and give back for a cause they really care about via an athletic endeavor they dig. And we’re thrilled that provides a flexible and customizable platform for youth to do just that.

Nini Meyer

Founder and President

hand holding phone and coffee

Give Gen Z a Remarkable Donor Experience

Subscribe to the Classy Blog

Get the latest fundraising tips, trends, and ideas in your inbox.

Thank you for subscribing

You signed up for emails from Classy

Request a Demo

Learn how top nonprofits use Classy to power their fundraising.

Schedule a Demo

Pin It on Pinterest