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Marketing your charity to a Gen Z audience

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

It sometimes feels that charities have only just learned how to engage Millennials – and now there are new kids on the block!

But Generation Z – those born between about 1997 and 2012 – are at the age where charities can’t afford to ignore them.

So who are these (not-so) youngsters, what makes them TikTok – sorry, tick – and how can your charity match foster their support?

1. Gen Z: big-hearts, big givers

Which generation do you think is the most generous? Baby boomers, with their housing and pension wealth? Generation X, at the peak of their earning powers? Think again.

According to one survey, almost three-quarters of Millennials donated during the Covid pandemic – as did two-thirds of those aged 18-24. Both figures are higher than for the older generations. Given that Gen Zers include cash-strapped students and those at the bottom of the career ladder, that’s an impressive showing.

And a donor survey from Enthuse in summer 2022 found that Gen Z are the broadest givers: 57% had donated to two or more causes in the previous quarter.

So your charity needs to tap into Gen Zers’ giving spirit – but that could mean shaking up your tried-and-tested marketing methods.

2. Ethical and concerned: what drives Gen Z?

Gen Z care deeply about others – but they’ve got serious concerns of their own, too. They’ve grown up in a worrying time of climate and economic crisis. So how can you get into the mindset of a Gen Zer? (A parent of a teenager is asking for a friend…)

  • 64% would pay more for a product that was more sustainable

  • 72% agree that the gap between the richest and poorest people in their country is widening

  • 75% agree that the world is at a tipping point regarding climate change; 44% are optimistic

  • Almost half say they feel stressed all or most of the time

They’re also highly accepting of different ethnicities, genders and sexualities. So your charity needs to address those themes of equality, inclusion and diversity in your key messaging and imagery to resonate with your audience.

“Gen Zers value individual expression and avoid labels. They mobilize themselves for a variety of causes. They believe profoundly in the efficacy of dialogue to solve conflicts and improve the world. Finally, they make decisions and relate to institutions in a highly analytical and pragmatic way.”- Generation Z characteristics and its implications for companies

3. Trust, transparency and impact

There’s more good news: Ipsos’ Veracity Index finds that Gen Zers are almost twice as trusting as Millennials were at the same age.

But charities have to earn that trust by demonstrating why young people should donate to you. Just a few ideas:

  • Case studies (words and video) showing how your charity helps individuals and communities change their lives.

  • Impact reports backing up your human interest stories with robust data.

  • Transparency around finances, with income and expenditure explained clearly.

4. Always on: Gen Z and digital

Millennials are the generation that came of age with the internet. And Gen Z are the first always-on generation, growing up with portable web-connected devices.

So your charity marketing strategy needs to be red-hot on digital. If you think phones are just for calling people, or struggle to find the “on” button on your ZX Spectrum, try out some of these suggestions (or get a techie/ young person to help!).

Your website needs to be attention-grabbing, informative, and mobile-friendly – Gen Zers are used to having quality info at their fingertips.

Video content: teens and young adults love it. If you can’t invest in high production values, a low-tech approach has its own appeal – see TikTok, below.

Contactless donations: there’s all sorts of tech available, from text-to-donate to QR codes to voice donations via Amazon Alexa.

5. Gen Z and social media

Social media is where Gen Zers hang out, with YouTube, TikTok and Instagram all skewing towards teens and young adults. Here’s a few top tips for bossing your social media game:

  • Be spontaneous! TikTok is all about ripping up the rule book and embracing the silly. Find out more in our recent blog Getting started on TikTok: a guide for charities – Connect Assist

  • Look to micro or nano-influencers to spread your message: they’re more trusted and relatable than big celebs, with a higher engagement rate.

  • Offer online stickers and badges to encourage user-generated content (UGC) and peer-to-peer fundraising.

  • Make all your assets shareable: videos, infographics, photos etc.

  • Keep an eye out for new platforms and messenger apps – the pace of change is dizzying!

6. Gen Z and print

Print marketing – really? Apparently, yes! Research from Royal Mail Marketreach found that nearly half of Gen Zers trust mail ads, 42% have searched for a brand online after receiving print marketing, and 20% have bought something.

Phil Ricketts of Royal Mail MarketReach says: “There is a perception that Gen Z don’t respond to mail, which means they don’t get sent any – creating a huge opportunity for engagement with that demo.”

7. Gen Z and social action

This is a generation that likes action as well as words. Almost half (46%) of 14-16 year-olds have given their time to help their community in the past two years, and 29% do so regularly. In 2005, those figures were 30% and just 10% respectively.

A quarter (26%) of British schoolchildren say they have avoided buying certain products due to ethical concerns – compared to 19% of the previous generation at that age.

37% of Gen Zers have rejected a job or assignment due to their personal ethics.

So pledges, petitions, volunteering opportunities and other practical steps could all find a receptive audience among these ready-for-action youngsters.

8. Gen Z and challenge events

While older Millennials approach the age of creaking knees and dodgy backs, Gen Zers are still raring to go.

Some 82% of those surveyed for Enthuse’s Donor Pulse Survey Summer 2022 expressed an interest in this type of fundraising. Walking was the most popular, followed by, in order, running, swimming and cycling.

So make sure challenge events are in your fundraising mix.

Case study: Teenage Cancer Trust

Take a look at Teenage Cancer Trust’s TikTok site: it’s crammed full of candid, often funny videos of young people speaking directly about how having cancer has affected their friendships, outlook on life, and self-esteem.

The charity’s #NotOK campaign highlighted the link between cancer and mental health, and backed up the moving case studies and videos with research data. It’s a great example of a marketing campaign that’s also a fantastic resource for young people with cancer. If you are keen to find out more or how you can best reach out to the Gen Z, drop us an email at | Original source from

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