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Gen Z fundraising: How to engage Gen Z donors at year-end

October 18, 2022
A young woman makes a donation using her phone as part of a Gen Z fundraising campaign.

At the end of the year, nonprofit organizations need to reach out to all kinds of donors to meet their annual fundraising goals. From long-term major donors to brand-new social media followers, it’s important to take every opportunity to appeal for donations at year-end.

One group that many nonprofits find challenging to reach is Generation Z. Younger donors often have very different preferences and philanthropic interests than the older generations nonprofits are used to appealing to, and you may simply not know how best to reach them. In this guide, we’ll discuss tips from a recent webinar to help you engage Gen Z donors at the end of the year and beyond.

Gen Z fundraising webinar

Last year, Alyssa Wright, an award-winning philanthropic advisor, development consultant, and speaker joined Bonterra Donor Engagement (formerly Network for Good) to discuss how to engage Gen Z donors when crafting your year-end appeal. 

In the Gen Z fundraising webinar, you’ll find:

  • Insights from Alyssa’s experience as a young professional in the social good space.
  • Data about Gen Z donors.
  • Discussion of the importance of fostering relationships with young donors.
  • Tactics for reaching this audience effectively. 

Watch the recording of the session to hear these valuable insights, and continue reading for a quick recap of some of the tactics shared.  

4 key ways to engage Gen Z in your year-end appeal 

Based on Alyssa’s experience with Gen Z fundraising, here are four strategies you can incorporate into your year-end fundraising plan to connect with younger donors:

1. Create intentional donor segments

If you haven’t already, take a moment to survey your donors to collect their demographic information. What percentage of your supporters fall into this Gen Z demographic? 

Once you have this information, you can successfully take a segmented approach to your year-end appeal. In your donor database, create one large segment of all your Gen Z donors. Then, consider creating smaller segments within that group, such as:

  • Gen Z volunteers
  • First-time donors
  • Recurring donors
  • Lapsed donors 

These segments will allow you to craft more targeted, personalized appeals. For example, Gen Z donors have an average annual income of $32,500, so you might suggest monthly giving so they can donate smaller amounts on a recurring basis. This kind of personalization enables you to foster relationships with your younger donors, creating loyal long-term supporters. 

Bonterra’s Guided Fundraising solution provides the resources you need to segment your donor base, send personalized messages, and more.  

2. Lean into volunteerism and activism 

In your year-end appeals, encourage younger donors to get involved with your organization in non-monetary ways as well. 

Gen Z is much more likely to support and advocate for a cause they care about rather than focusing on a specific organization, so highlight how each involvement opportunity pushes forward a specific cause. Share stories of impact on social media and in campaign emails, and end each story with a call to action to volunteer, donate, or share a petition

When this demographic sees the impact your organization is making and feels they can actively contribute to the cause, they will be compelled to volunteer their time, donate, and share with their network.  

3. Engage Gen Z influencers 

When you think of Gen Z, social media is likely one of the first things that comes to mind. These younger donors believe in the power of social media to raise awareness and activate people to enact change, so meet them where they are!

Reach out to several Gen Z influencers to see if they would be interested in sharing your year-end campaign on their social media channels. This will allow you to expand your reach to this demographic, share your cause with a new audience, and earn new donors

If you’re not sure how to engage with these influencers, start by reaching out through your organization’s social media channels. Send direct messages from your nonprofit’s accounts and share any posts you’ve already made about your year-end campaign.   

 4. Leverage a peer-to-peer fundraiser 

Finally, a great way to engage more Gen Z donors is by leveraging the power of their social networks with a peer-to-peer fundraiser. You can do this in a few different ways:

  • Reach out to some of your existing Gen Z donors to see if they are willing to serve as a sort of influencer for your cause. Provide them with campaign marketing materials to share on social media and set them up with their own campaign page to raise funds for your nonprofit.
  • Ask older donors if their children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews would be interested in hosting a peer-to-peer fundraiser for your nonprofit’s year-end campaign. These family members can spread the word about your nonprofit to younger audiences, giving you access to this demographic even if you don’t have many Gen Z donors already.

Not sure if you have the tools to launch a successful peer-to-peer campaign this year? Bonterra Guided Fundraising has built-in peer-to-peer fundraising technology that makes it easy for you to turn your nonprofit’s supporters into fundraisers.  

The importance of Gen Z fundraising

These tips just scratch the surface of ways your nonprofit can better engage with and attract the all-important Gen Z donor during your GivingTuesday campaign and beyond. Be sure to watch the webinar recording to learn more about why these donors are so important, what strategies are most appealing to younger donors, and how your nonprofit can implement them.

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