Hey Nonprofits: Here Comes Gen Z Donors | Beth's Blog

Hey Nonprofits: Here Comes Gen Z Donors

Digital Strategy, Fundraising

Many nonprofit fundraisers know about and have specific strategies to reach, cultivate, and solicit baby boom donors, Gen X donors, and Gen Y donors.   But look out, get ready to reach out to Gen Z donors, sometimes called “PhilanthroTeens”  or “PhilanthroKids.”

These potential donors are teens (and pre-teens) with a passion for social change and who grew up not knowing what it was like to not to have a cell phone  or be connected to Facebook.  That generation has been dubbed as “Generation Z.”      They are also known as “Qwerty Monsters” who send hundreds of text messages a day and don’t even like to use their phone for calls (and with two teens in my house, I can attest this is true).     But it is more than the technology, it is also their passion to do good in the world.

I’ve been seeing a lot of examples of kids and crowdfunding.   And last year, when I interviewed Barb Newhouse, President & Chief Executive Officer ALS Association and discuss the Ice Bucket Challenge, she mentioned they acquired many new “Gen Z” donors.  Newhouse was in meeting when a staff member interrupted the meeting because a ten year old was in the office and wanted to meet with her.  The young philanthropist handed her $100 for ALS that he has raised.   He told her, “And there is more to come!”

How do nonprofit reach out to this generation? Here’s an example from Unicef. A good checklist and some recommendations can be found on slides 50-53. But remember, these “PhilanthroKids”  are not necessarily the donors of tomorrow, in many case they are the donors of today and want to do it their way.  Here’s some examples of 10 big time philanthropists who are kids, including a 13 year old who raised $600,000 for charity.

While many children are taught about giving to charity at home, we are seeing more and more philanthropy curriculum being integrated into the classroom.   The Giving 2.0 Mooc is an example at the college level where college students are not only learning about the world of philanthropy, but are also giving away a grant to a nonprofit organization as part of their work.     But is philanthropy a part of a Gen Y’s schooling?     During the recent ALS IceBucket Challenge, lots of kids were involved and I noticed some educators, like Vicki Davis, incorporating it as a classroom lesson.

The GivingTuesday Curriculum includes ten lesson plans that helps understand philanthropy and helps them reflect and develop their own philanthropic initiatives by choosing a nonprofit in their community and partner with them on GivingTuesday.

Does your nonprofit have a strategy for engaging and cultivating Gen Z as donors and supporters?   What does it look like?


13 Responses

  1. Margie says:

    Great article but fire your proofreader!

  2. Robin Mohr says:

    As a parent, I would also like to say that cultivating young people as donors also requires some attention to the difficulties of being a minor.

    A few years ago, my son made a donation to the local zoo to support one of their animal exhibits. He wrote them a letter, gave me his money, and I wrote a check for the amount to the zoo and we mailed them in one envelope. I was so disappointed that the zoo sent the automatic thank you note to my name (because of the check) and didn’t address him at all.

    Last year, he made a donation to UNICEF. We put his name on the donation and now they keep calling our house and asking for him by name even though I would never let one of their telemarketers talk to him on the phone.

    I wouldn’t make another donation to either organization.

  3. Beth says:

    Margie: That would be me! 🙂

  4. Beth says:

    Robin: Good points you are making for organizations to pay attention to …

  5. […] Kanter: Hey Nonprofits: Here Comes Gen Z Donors UK Fundraising: New .ngo and .ong domain names to launch on 17 March The Agitator: Call Them […]

  6. Jeremy says:

    Robin, those are great examples of why charitable organizations need to continually educate their staff about things like this. There are going to be kids who want to donate, and we need to be willing to appreciate them properly. Its an interesting time.

  7. […] strategies on snagging donations from baby boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y. Here’s one of the first articles I’ve seen on how to target Gen Z donors (aka PhilanthroTeens, PhilanthroKids, or Qwerty […]

  8. […] in the nonprofit sector about Millennials (a.k.a. Gen Y) and Baby Boomers and a growing interest in Gen Z a.k.a. #Philanthrokids, but almost no analysis of Generation X (aged 35-50 years). As the first generation to donate […]

  9. Marisa says:

    Another important issue to consider is the limits on allowing #philanthrokids to volunteer and become involved in that way. Our insurance carrier refuses to allow us to utilize youth volunteers because of the high-risk nature of our work, and I cringe every time I have to refuse a motivated young person the opportunity to volunteer with our organization because I view them as potential current and future donors to the organization.

  10. […] over Baby Boomer, Gen X and Gen Y donors, here comes Gen Z.  Beth Kanter highlights this school-aged generation in Beth’s Blog and challenges some […]

  11. […] volunteer blog highlighted the story of 10-year-old Noah Wong who was moved to raise money for children his own age. When Noah learned kids in other countries were serving time in prison, he felt the need to begin […]

  12. […] Your upcoming generation of donors, the ones under age nineteen who currently make up 25.9% of the U… and don’t know a world without cellphones or even recognize the dial-up internet sound, have a vastly different perspective on marketing and the nonprofit community than your baby boomers do. […]

  13. […] Additional Sources: Entrepreneur, Mashable, Nonprofit Hub, Beth’s Blog, Allegiance […]