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6 min read

Expanding your donor base: How to Reach Gen Z

Your not-for-profit organisation is likely already familiar with Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials and how to focus your fundraising marketing strategy to attract them. However, Generation Z, is one upcoming group that has established itself as the next wave of donors.

This generation of people, born around 1996 and later, makes up around 30% of the world’s population. They grew up exposed to diverse issues, surrounded by the internet and social media. From a young age, they have been exposed to media coverage of climate change, feminism, Black Lives Matter, and different humanitarian crises around the world.

With the entrance into the workforce, becoming a new generation of consumers with relevant spending power, it is important that your organisation learns how to engage with and market to Gen Z. Done properly, your charity can attract Generation Z donors and convert them into lifelong supporters. If you haven't considered them already, this new generation of donors should be a key target in your online fundraising strategy.

But first, you need to understand what drives them, and how to communicate with this generation.

In this article you will find:

  1. The Core Value of Generation Z
  2. Digital Natives
  3. All About Authenticity
  4. The Power of Youth
  5. Reach them Online
  6. Show their Impact
  7. Keep your online donation form simple and mobile-friendly


The Core value of Generation Z

While Generation Z may seem similar to Millennials in several ways, there are key differences in the way that they engage with causes they care about. It is important for your not-for-profit organisation to understand these differences in order to connect with this generation.

 Digital Natives

One characteristic of Generation Z is their native use of technology. While Millennials were considered “digital pioneers,” who were first-hand witnesses to the explosion of technology and social media, this generation was born into a world with access to anything and everything through their smartphones. Which most of them got at the young age of 12.  

The web and social media have amplified young people’s voices like never before. And as digital natives, Generation Z embodies 24/7 connectivity through social platforms and navigates the online universe like no other generation.


All about authenticity

Another important value for Generation Z is authenticity. Multiple data reports show that over 80% trust an organisation more if it uses images of real people in their advertising. They are preoccupied with authenticity, which has driven them away from traditional celebrities in favor of Instagram and YouTube influencers.

It is a generation born to swipe so quickly that storytelling works better for them when it’s raw and simple. They post photos on Instagram without deceitful filters to show the truest aspects of their lives, and they want the same when searching for charities to support. They are a cynical generation moving away from flashy professional campaigns, wanting real people to tell the organisation’s story instead.


“The Power of Youth”

instagram-oxfam_irelandThe above sentence quite briefly summarises the generation’s impact and power of action. These four words were the front page headline used by Time Magazine when Greta Thunberg was named Person of the Year in 2019.

Unlike previous generations, this youthful group is actively engaged in political conversations despite many of them not yet being able to vote. Thunberg’s ability to mobilise so many young people, and upset the establishment, highlights the extent to which Generation Z poses a major new challenge for the marketing world.

They tend to rally behind causes that resonate with them and their peers, and when they do so, they have the collective power to start movements and put the spotlight on social issues. Imagine the effect they could have if they rallied for your not-for-profit to raise money.

The following tips will help you engage these young potential donors and incite them to take action:


 Reach them online

Generation Z has grown up with smartphones and has only experienced marketing in the digital age. Your outreach probably already involves digital marketing, but you do not necessarily reach this generation on the same platforms with the same content as you do with your current target group.

Here are two ways your not-for-profit can reach Generation Z online:



This social media platform is one of the youngest and most successful apps to be propelled by Generation Z. If you have not already turned to TikTok for influencer marketing among a younger audience, now is the time. With its simple user interface (UI) and its captivating user experience (UX), TikTok is predicted as the next big thing and because it has not peaked yet, organisations can leverage its underpriced potential.


 Instagram Stories

You most likely already use Instagram to promote your charity and tell your story via pictures and videos, but do you put enough effort into creating valuable Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories allow you to share content, whether it is a video or image, that appears for a few seconds and stays on your profile for up to 24 hours. If you can aim to create content such as video or photo advertisements that last eight seconds or less and, more importantly, speak to your Generation Z audience, it will become easier to engage with them.

As mentioned above, being authentic and relevant is essential. Do not make the content on Stories ‘too perfect’ or polished, instead, make it look real and personal.

Show their impact

If you want Generation Z to support your cause, your organisation needs to illustrate that you care about your cause. Do not be afraid to tell your audience exactly what their donation does for your not-for-profit. What will a €15 donation provide?


Use your gift grid on your online donation page to showcase the difference their donation can make. Use pictures and text to demonstrate the impact, because this generation wants to see and feel their impact. The more impact you can display, the more supporters you will have. Read more about how to create an impactful donation grid here.

Keep your online donation form simple and mobile-friendly

Since so many young donors are accessing your donation page from your TikTok or Instagram Stories via mobile devices while on-the-go, if your online donation page is not responsive, and does not automatically resize to fit a smartphone, you have already lost the battle.

The attention span of Generation Z is shorter than ever, averaging just eight seconds. If you are focused on bringing donations into your organisation, this means that you need to focus on one simple message from your

Rather than explaining the details of exactly how your organisation plans to tackle worldwide poverty, your message would be better received if you simply stated, “Donate to end poverty”. Then, provide the information on your website or in the thank-you-email so that supporters can locate that information if they are interested. Create content that is short and simple, Generation Z will thank you with their donations.


So, you've learned how to leverage Generation Z donors and empower them with tools to enact change. Want more tips to optimise your mobile fundraising? Read iRaiser's article: 5 steps to optimize your mobile fundraising strategy.