5 Ways to Connect with Gen Z as a Non-Profit

Generation Z makes up 27% of the US population today, but engaging with supporters from this diverse population could be very challenging. However, many of them sincerely care about environmental and social issues—and they’d donate to make a difference. And your nonprofit organization can help engage this passion productively. As Gen Z joins the workforce, they’re likely also searching for efficient partners who share their drive. Your charity could attract donors from the Gen Z population and even gain life-long supporters. But you can begin by discovering the passions of these underutilized folks and how to connect with them.

Who Is Gen Z?

Generation Z, or Gen Z, refers to young people born during the late 1990s and later. Moreover, this group of socially-driven, energetic youngsters accounts for 2 billion humans on the planet. They succeed the Millenials and earlier generations and are mostly children of Generation X.  They’re also sometimes called “digital natives,” having known mobile and Internet technology all their lives. Colloquially, Gen Z bears the tag “zoomers.” They’ve also been given the labels of Gen Tech, post-Millennials, Gen Y-Fi, and more. Whatever you call them, Gen Z is the next generation of donors.

Notable People in Gen Z

We can learn about a generation by looking at their most visible members. These Gen Z influencers reach their peers and the rest of the globe via different fronts. While some are fashion models, others are environment advocates or social media influencers. We’ll see some notable Gen Z persons who wield tremendous popularity both within and outside their generation.

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish is a singer-songwriter who started her musical career at the age of 13. The 2001-born singer gained widespread attention in 2015 when she released “Ocean Eyes” on SoundCloud. Billie’s debut album made her the youngest female ever to top album charts in the UK. She also became the first 21st-century born artist to have a top album in the US. Eilish isn’t all about music, however. She has generated extensive media attention around her outrageous fashion sense. Raised as a vegetarian, Eilish also regularly lends her voice to animal rights and veganism. The multiple-award winner has been featured in the Time100 Next List and embodies Gen Z stereotypes.

Greta Thunberg

Greta is an outspoken Swedish teenager who has skipped classes to drive international protests against climate change. She has inspired many across the world—including global leaders—to canvass for the environment. The 2003-born environmental activist started campaigning after winning a local climate change essay contest. She started skipping Friday classes in 2015. But today, millions of other people have joined her climate strikes all around the world. Greta spoke once before the UN and was labeled Time’s 2019 Person of the Year, among other recognitions. Nonprofits can learn a lot from her concerning Gen Z philanthropy behavioral tendencies.

David Dobrik

David Dobrik is a Slovak US resident YouTuber with nearly 20 million YouTube followers as of February 2021. Dobrik leads the famous The Vlog Squad and is arguably the king of YouTube vlogging today. His channel was the fifth-most watched YouTube creator channel in 2019. However, there’s more to Dobrik’s influence among other young fellows across the world. For the second time, he was given the title of top social media influencer for teens in 2020. Dobrik was one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2021 in the social media category. He’s also an actor, reality show judge, and dubbed to be Gen Z’s Jimmy Fallon.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafza is a Pakistani female education rights advocate and the youngest Nobel laureate. Malala’s activities reinforce the fact that Gen Z is looking to change the world in a selfless way. She began advocating education for girl children in her Pakistani homeland, where the Taliban had banned school for girls.  Malala wrote an anonymous blog for BBC where she shared her experience during a Taliban-related crisis. Her prominence rose after surviving an assassination attempt in 2012 for her activism. Malala has received numerous national and international honors and recognitions for her advocacy.                                                                                                                              

Noah Centineo

Noah Centineo is a 24-year old American model and actor with over 18 million Instagram followers. Centineo’s widely known for his movies, including To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. He began his movie career in 2009 and currently has notable awards in the bag. Noah isn’t silent about social issues, either. He co-founded Favored Nations, a charity organization that mediates between donors and other profitable causes, including the 2020 BLM protests. Noah Centineo also mobilized fellow Gen Z members to vote in the 2020 national elections. Noah’s activities grant insight into Gen Z’s perspectives and typical worldview.

Gen Z Values

What makes Gen Z tick? Gen Z fundamental values differ in some ways from those of earlier generations—including Millennials. Your nonprofit organization has ample opportunities to involve them in your social cause. You’d also engage them more appropriately if you can figure their stand about most topics.  Gen Z has a virile social life, depending enormously on mobile and Internet technology. They’re almost always online and also hold formal education in high repute. It’s therefore understandable that they care about connectivity and availability of information.  However, although iGen spends ample time before social media and Netflix, technology isn’t their own priority. They care much about much of the same things as earlier generations. And many people consider them more socially and educationally rounded than their predecessors. Gen Z is growing in intelligence faster than even Millennials did—thanks to 21st-century mobile technology. 

Gen Z Values Equality and Social Justice

Gen Z is the most racially diverse generation, with more mixed ancestry than other predecessors. That’s why they generally care less about their peers’ skin color or ancestry. To them, having an Asian female Vice President or a black President isn’t some paradigm shift. It’s a primary aspect of 21st-century life. While individual exceptions vary, generally, Generation Z isn’t as racially or gender-biased as their forebears. They tend to be more accepting of people of other persuasions and origins. They’re also more likely to protect these groups as well. 

They Value Individuality and Uniqueness 

Gen Z wants to “be themselves” more than any other generation. They aren’t much about trends or what’s generally acceptable among their peers. Instead, it’s about expressing individuality and personal identity. Gen Z has entrepreneurial tendencies in their make-up. They’d gladly spearhead or support someone else who’s on the forefront pushing their core values, even if those values go against the grain.  Gen Z prefers brands that appeal to their personality and individuality. And they’re willing to pay for products that shed the spotlight on their uniqueness. They want to partner with organizations that align with their beliefs and core values. And nonprofits looking to bring them into charity will do well to highlight Gen Z’s individuality. 

Their Money Goes Where Their Values Are

Gen Z won’t just donate to any cause that says good things about themselves. They’d instead support social causes they feel deliver on declared goals. And while they’re at it, they don’t mind voting for a movement with their money.  Because of this inclination, Gen Z would pay more for sustainable and ethical products. Major social causes like climate change are vital to them. Companies are becoming increasingly aware that they can’t get away with unethical environmental commitments anymore. 

Gen Z Values Privacy Protection 

Gen Z members are keen on protecting their privacy, online or elsewhere. An IBM survey shows over two-thirds of Gen Z aren’t too comfortable sharing complete personal information. They’d instead share personal information with brands they’d trust will adequately secure their details.

Gen Z Engagement Strategies for Your Nonprofit

The estimate of Gen Z’s spending power in the US alone tops USD 140 billion. And what this means to charity organizations is that there’s increased potential for life-long donors. Let’s see some of the best strategies for engaging and communicating with Gen Z.

1. Show Passion for Your Cause 

Do you want to engage Gen Z in your charity organization? Then it would help if you depicted that you’re passionate about your cause. Show them in exact terms what each donation does for your organization’s goals. How much social challenge can ten dollars resolve?  Work with well-annotated infographics and inspiring stories that can stir people’s minds towards your organization’s goals. Consider a brief gallery of videos or photos showing how real people benefit from your activities. When people can impact donors, you’d amass more supporters for your mission.

2. Connect With Them Online

Everyone knows that Generation Z is online. Nonprofits can, therefore, utilize digital marketing skills in connecting with Gen Z online. Reaching them online gives them an easy opportunity to spread your cause on social media. We at FFL focus more on virtual engagements to cater to this generation. Consider creating real and original YouTube ads that tell the story of your organization, for instance. You may also think of raising awareness for your organization through online movements and viral hashtags. Examples are #BLM and #SchoolStrike4Climate online movements. Get them involved, encouraging them to promote peer-to-peer fundraising for your social cause.

3. Use Clear and Concise Communication on Social Media

Gen Z’s affinity for mobile technology reduces their attention span to just eight seconds. If you want them participating in your organization, concentrate on getting across a simple message on social media. Put aside in-depth information about underprivileged persons or specific information about how you’d fulfill your mission and save that for your website.  Instead of bugging them with details, it’d help to state, “Give online to end world hunger.” Then include a short video or link to a more elaborate expression of your nonprofit’s cause. Keep your communication clear and concise—and Gen Z will show their appreciation of you with their donations.

Women lifting the package

4. Set Up Multiple Donation Platforms

See to it that your charity provides multiple donation options for prospective donors. Gen Z’s prolonged Internet exposure gives them easy access to complex processes—all at once. They want a simplified process they can participate in without having to make complicated online transfers. Remember, they’d rather be unique than follow just any trend. At FFL Global, we offer a plethora of donation options—credit cards, paypal, patreon, online cryptocurrency donations, and even monthly sponsorships. A similar monthly donation program of $10, for instance, could encourage more Gen Z than you’d anticipate. The key is giving them freedom and an opportunity to express themselves while supporting your cause.

5. Keep It Real

Gen Z isn’t only tech-conscious; they’re also marketing savvy—particularly online. Because of the barrage of “goodwill messages” they get, they want partners who’d truly make a difference. And they’d detect when an ingenuine organization is trying to get their donations. Gen Z wants you to be real and authentic with your message. If they feel part of it, you’d soon have them standing solidly behind your cause. Generation Z is fast entering the workforce, bringing their unique worldviews into the corporate world. They want a real, digitally-optimized social cause that cares for others—and recognizes their individuality, too. Connecting their values with your cause makes them feel more involved and always welcome around your organization. Well, there you have it! Incorporating Gen-Zs into your nonprofit organization is sure to do you a whole lot of good in the long run not only financially but in terms of marketing and advoacy. Avoid delays. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine!

You Can Help!

Support the important work of Food for Life Global to serve its international network of over 200 affiliates in 60 countries.
Food for Life Global is a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, EIN 36-4887167. All donations are deemed tax-deductible absent any limitations on deductibility applicable to a particular taxpayer. No goods or services were provided in exchange for your contribution.
Food For Life Global’s primary mission is to bring about peace and prosperity in the world through the liberal distribution of pure plant-based meals prepared with loving intention.
Paul Turner

Paul Turner

Paul Turner co-founded Food for Life Global in 1995. He is a former monk, a veteran of the World Bank, entrepreneur, holistic life coach, vegan chef, and author of 6 books, including, FOOD YOGA, 7 maxims for soul happiness.

MR. Turner has traveled to 72 countries over the last 35 years helping to establish Food for Life projects, train volunteers, and document their success.

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