Millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) are not kids anymore. Now they’re ages 23-40 and the largest portion of America’s workforce. They’re also conscious of how and where they spend their money, demanding commitments to equity and social justice from the businesses they patronize.
This idealism and commitment offer a great opportunity for not-for-profits. What can your organization do to leverage these cohorts’ desire to help and attract them to your volunteer and donor ranks? Here are four characteristics to embrace when appealing to millennials and Gen Zs:
Be collaborative: The old-school chain of command that has typically defined organizational operations is failing millennials and Gen Zs. They prefer to be affiliated with organizations where they are encouraged to contribute to the decision-making process and to understand the context and reaching of major decisions.
Not-for-profit organizations that promote a collaborative environment are more attractive to these generations than those that work in siloes. Consider implementing donor surveys, targeted task forces, broad roundtable discussions, and cross-functional brainstorming to attract this crowd to your cause.
Be flexible: One obvious challenge of the pandemic has been how to be more flexible with the workplace. The same goes for donor and volunteer recruitment.
The Deloitte survey found that more than 40 percent of millennial and Gen Z respondents consider flexibility and adaptability to be hallmarks of a successful business.
If your programming allows for flexible volunteer hours and locations or offsite meetings, lean into these features as much as possible.
Be diverse: Gen Z is arguably the most open-minded and tolerant of any generation. They expect to see diversity in their community, volunteer, and work lives. They are more adept at understanding and embracing all forms of diversity, including gender identity and multicultural backgrounds. But they also understand that diversity is a work in progress and that getting to meaningful equity will take effort.
Take care to reach out to a diverse population in terms of emerging leadership, volunteer coordination, and employee base. And don’t overlook your board—it’s the face of your organization.
Be digital: Millennials and Gen Zs grew up with digital devices and connectivity. They’re not only tech-savvy, they expect technology to be part of solving social problems. These groups know that technology is essential to bringing people together.
Your organization must reach this population using popular digital pathways. For example, is your web presence mobile, fast, and attractive? Are you telling your story across all platforms? Do you use calendaring programs to let volunteers schedule their time and track their impact? Do you accept donations on your web outlets?
Engage on Their Terms
So much of engaging new cohorts of supporters comes down to messaging and positioning. Are you conveying the need and your mission in language they can relate to? What aspects of your organization’s work resonate most with a younger audience? It’s worth examining your public-facing materials (brochure, website, and everything in between) to make sure they’re clear on why Millennials and Gen Z should care about your mission and why your organization can benefit from their energy and enthusiasm.
Whether you’re incorporating a not-for-profit entity or are managing a well-established organization, our team can provide the guidance and insight to navigate both the state and federal oversight environment for taxes, reporting, and charitable solicitations. Contact Dembo Jones’ not-for-profit specialists today.