Engaging Gen Z: 4 Ways to Fundraise with Younger Generations
Generation Z, or Gen Z, consists of those born between 1997 and 2012. Because of their dedication to advocating for social and political change, this generation is often called the “activist generation.”
As a fundraiser, you know how important it is to reach new supporters and grow support for your cause consistently—part of that involves engaging with the next generation of donors. However, young people can have dramatically different values, communication preferences, and interests from previous generations, making it difficult for nonprofits to engage them using traditional fundraising methods.
Instead, it’s essential to choose fundraising ideas and marketing strategies designed with these young people in mind. In this guide, we’ll explore the strategies you can use to reach Gen Z and earn their support:
- Use online fundraising software.
- Optimize your fundraiser for mobile devices.
- Align with Gen Z values.
- Adapt your stewardship strategies.
By using fundraising strategies tailored to Gen Z's wants and needs, you’ll boost revenue, increase attendance at your events, and garner more engagement on social media platforms. Over time, members of this generation are likely to share the cause with their friends, as well.
To get started, we’ll cover how your organization can promote sharing your fundraisers by using online fundraising software.
1. Use online fundraising software.
It’s no secret that members of Generation Z are online often. Using online fundraising software allows you to meet the younger generations where they’re at, make it easy to share your fundraising initiatives with their network of friends and family, and keep data and donations organized.
A popular way to fundraise online is with peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraisers. These campaigns allow your supporters to fundraise among their friends and family on your behalf. To engage Gen Z, you might choose a fundraising idea that ends with a fun, outdoor event like a walk-a-thon. 99Pledges’ guide to PTA fundraisers explains that there are two different ways you can raise money during a walk-a-thon:
- Pledge fundraising. Have participants collect pledges for each mile they walk during the walk-a-thon. If a donor pledges $5 per mile, for example, and the participant walks five miles, they receive $25 from that donor.
- Traditional flat rate fundraising. Alternatively, donors can give a flat donation to the participant that does not change based on the distance they walk. If a donor gives $50, the participant will receive it whether they walk two miles or ten.
Online fundraising software is a diverse, flexible solution that your organization can use for any type of fundraiser, whether it’s an event or a completely virtual P2P fundraiser. Gen Z donors love to be part of the process, let them choose their activity.
2. Optimize your fundraiser for mobile devices.
When Gen Z teens and young adults are online, they often prefer to use their smartphones over a computer. This means that to keep Gen Z on track to donate to your campaign, it’s critical that every aspect of your fundraiser is mobile-responsive.
When organizing your fundraiser, make sure that:
Your website is mobile-friendly. Your organization’s website should automatically adjust the size of its pages, images, and other onscreen elements to fit on smaller screens. This way, users can easily navigate the site and read about your cause without needing to constantly zoom in or out.
Smartphone users can navigate your donation form. Your donation form is the last touchpoint supporters have with your organization before making a donation, so it’s imperative that their experience is positive and convenient. Make sure text, buttons, images, and data entry fields are properly sized and function smoothly across all devices.
You make sharing easy. Embed social media share widgets into your website and donation form so younger donors can easily share the fundraiser online. This is a great way for them to show others in their community what they’ve done to support causes that matter to them and motivate friends to donate too.
Taking these steps can be beneficial for many organizations, from nonprofits to schools to businesses. After all, a significant portion of web traffic now comes from mobile devices, and adapting to those users’ needs can help you raise more revenue and spread awareness of your cause to a wider audience.
3. Align with Gen Z values.
One way to build stronger donor relationships with your Gen Z audience is to show that you align with their values. While each member of this generation has a unique set of lived experiences and morals, some of the broad values shared by this group of people include:
An interest in transparency from the businesses, online influencers, and nonprofits that they support.
An emphasis on increased diversity, equity, and inclusion, often going above and beyond what they may have seen in their childhoods.
Making sustainability and environmental responsibility a top priority as a way to combat climate change.
Taking a stance on social and political issues that they are passionate about.
For many Gen Z supporters, these values are what they look for before supporting a brand or organization. Be sure to feature engaging, digestible information online about how you genuinely contribute to things like sustainability or increased diversity.
4. Adapt your stewardship strategies.
As you know, thanking donors is an essential part of maintaining and growing your supporter base. Without showing donors that you value their support and need them to fuel your work, they may start to feel like their efforts are thankless or even unnecessary.
Just as you need to modify your fundraising and communication strategies to align with Gen Z’s preferences, you should also adapt your approach to donor stewardship and recognition to fit those preferences. Rather than sending more traditional, physical thank-you letters, consider switching to a digital option. Not only will this reach donors faster on the devices they are likely already using, but eCardWidget’s guide to donor thank-you emails explains that they also tend to be more creative, engaging, and inspiring.
Consider using digital options to thank and recognize your donors to motivate them to continue supporting your cause.
As one of the largest generations, Gen Z is on track to have significant giving power down the line—it’s critical that your organization encourages them to give to your cause. By starting now, you’ll cultivate deep relationships with them and help them build habits like giving to, volunteering with, and advocating for charitable causes.