Generation what?


It’s true – there’s a new generation coming of age. Just as you got your nonprofit up to speed to cater to everything Millennial, the first Generation Z-ers are about to graduate from college and bring with them a new set of dynamics.


Nonprofits should begin considering how Generation Z’s entrance into the workforce will shape charitable giving. Although that future is still unknown, Generation Z has made some initial waves. So, we’ve gathered current research to help prepare your nonprofit for larger shifts to come.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z, also known as “iGen,” or “screenagers,” is firmly rooted in the digital age. They don’t know what it’s like to live without the cloud, social media, and many of the instant streaming capabilities we know today. They make up 27% of the population, and they are making a name for themselves as a highly entrepreneurial and charitable generation. Mere children are identifying problems in their communities and taking initiative to solve them, by raising money or developing programs or organizations that address the issues. Older members of this generation aren’t shy about standing up for major causes and utilizing digital tools swiftly to raise awareness and money. In short, Generation Z identifies social problems and acts quickly and effectively to help.



Now that you know a bit about them, what can your nonprofit do to connect with Generation Z?

Engage Generation Z Online

Remember how Millennials once held the prize for their tech-savviness? Generation Z-ers are about to steal the spotlight. According to The Guardian, Beth Kanter says these “philanthroteens,” ranging in age from Kindergarteners to college graduates, spend up to 10 hours per day online, including while they’re at school. They absorb information in mini-bites and communicate quickly, meaning that your nonprofit needs to make your online messages short, catchy, and to the point. Engaging them with emojis shouldn’t be thought of as ridiculous, Kanter says; in fact, it’s smart because it uses Generation Z’s language. Generation Z-ers are on all sorts of mobile devices, so you should invest staff time, apply for grants, or utilize skilled volunteers to optimize your online presence across mobile screens. Doing so will reap major rewards, as Generation Z is not only clicking and sharing online, they are also donating money. Kanter says that 32% of Generation Z-ers have already donated money and over 1 in 10 want to start their own charity.

Help Generation Z Change the World

A recent Guidestar article labels Generation Z as the “movers and shakers” of the future. This generation cares about big issues and big causes, such as “climate change, terrorism, and hateful political discourse.” A recent infographic published by indicates that 76% of Generation Z-ers are worried about the planet and 60% of them want their work to make a difference in the world. In another article, published on, Kanter explains that Generation Z-ers aren’t satisfied to sit in their rooms and idly click; they want to respond to the information with action. She describes remarkable entrepreneurial accomplishments made by socially minded teens, who gained national attention by transforming their own ideas into philanthropic operations. Your nonprofit can take advantage of this ambitious generation by rethinking the way you communicate with Generation Z. Kanter advises that nonprofits speak to Generation Z-ers as if they are adults, listen carefully to their ideas and determine ways to collaborate with them. Identify areas where your resources, connections and know-how can catapult Generation Z-ers’ creative ideas and enterprising spirit into action.



Nonprofits everywhere should be ready to feel the impact of Generation Z becoming active members of adult society in the coming years, and you can begin to connect with them even while they’re in school. Optimizing your nonprofit’s online presence across mobile devices is a strong start, but you can also partner with schools for national #GivingTuesday to engage Generation Z students in charitable giving.


Numerous organizations, such as Unicef and, have already heeded the call and seen Generation Z make a major impact. Still quite young, Generation Z-ers have decades ahead of them to accomplish much more. If your nonprofit engages them strategically, Generation Z-ers will be well equipped to, as teenaged education activist Adora Svitak says, “grow up to blow you away.”


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