4 Nonprofit Marketing Tactics to Inspire Gen Z Supporters

Published on 10 Nov 2023 by Auctria

Generation Z is the future of nonprofit support. Born between 1997 and 2012, these individuals tend to be socially conscious and culturally aware, making them the perfect candidates to join your organization in creating lasting change.

To engage Gen Z in your mission, you also need to look to the future. Supporters in this segment are considered digital natives, meaning they’ve grown up surrounded by technology and online content. Modernizing your nonprofit’s marketing strategy is essential to get their attention and inspire them to get involved.

In this guide, we’ll walk through four digital marketing strategies your nonprofit can use to reach current and prospective Gen Z supporters, including how to:

  1. Step up Your Social Media Strategy
  2. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
  3. Leverage the Google Ad Grant
  4. Tell Compelling True Stories

As you try out these tips, make sure to promote the right engagement opportunities to your target audience. Since the oldest members of Generation Z only entered the workforce a few years ago and the youngest ones are in middle school, they might not have much disposable income to donate. However, Gen Z individuals make great volunteers and advocates for your cause, and they may become significant donors in the future if you give them an entry point now.

1. Step up Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is one of the most popular communication platforms among your Gen Z audience—in fact, research showsthat nearly two thirds of Gen Zers consider social media usage to be an essential part of their lives. It also has benefits for your organization—it’s easy to post a lot of content quickly, and two-way communication features allow your audience to respond to your posts and interact with each other in comments.

However, some types of social media posts will be more engaging for your nonprofit’s Gen Z followers than others. Here are some ideas to leverage social media specifically to reach this audience:

However, some types of social media posts will be more engaging for your nonprofit’s Gen Z followers than others. Here are some ideas to leverage social media specifically to reach this audience:

  • Create video content—both long-form videos for YouTube and short, vertically oriented videos for TikTok.
  • Post interactive Instagram stories that contain polls and question boxes to encourage viewers to engage with them.
  • Host livestreams in which someone from your organization discusses important topics related to your cause and answers audience questions.
  • Collaborate with influencers to make your nonprofit’s content appear more credible in the eyes of your Gen Z followers.
  • Use social media platforms’ built-in crowdfunding features to encourage supporters to quickly make small donations.

Additionally, encourage your followers to share your content with their networks, as this expands your nonprofit’s reach on social media and helps bring even more prospective Gen Z supporters into the fold. Use graphic design tools to create visually interesting and informative graphics that are easily shareable from platforms like Instagram.

2. Optimize Your Website for Mobile

According to nonprofit fundraising statistics from Double the Donation, more than half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. Considering that 96% of Gen Z individuals in North America own a smartphone, it’s likely that many supporters of that generation will access your organization’s website via a mobile device.

To provide the best possible user experience for Gen Z visitors, make sure your website is mobile optimized. In addition to using a responsive web design framework, which resizes automatically for any screen size, test your site’s buttons, form fields, and navigation to ensure users can easily tap any of these elements on a touchscreen. When Gen Z audiences have a good experience using your website on either mobile or desktop, they’re more likely to return to it and take action.

3. Leverage the Google Ad Grant

One way to make the most of your website is to promote its core pages with paid search ads so they appear higher up on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). But since many nonprofits have limited marketing budgets, paid advertising may seem out of reach at first.

Fortunately, there’s a solution: the Google Ad Grants program. To make paid search ads more accessible to nonprofits, Google gives eligible organizations a $10,000 monthly stipend. Nonprofits can then use this credit to place their ads on the SERPs for search terms that are relevant to their missions, expanding their reach to even more internet users—including members of Generation Z.

Getting Attention’s guide to applying for the Google Ad Grant lists five steps your nonprofit will need to take if you want to secure this stipend:

  1. Check your organization’s eligibility status. Most 501(c)(3) nonprofits with functional, secure websites are eligible for the Google Ad Grant, but healthcare organizations and educational institutions aren’t.
  2. Register with TechSoup. If you’re already signed up, verify your status; if not, register for the first time and wait to receive your validation token before proceeding to step three.
  3. Create a Google for Nonprofits account. In addition to the Google Ad Grant application, this account provides you with access to Google Workspace and YouTube for Nonprofits as an added bonus.
  4. Spruce up your organization’s website. Make sure your site is secure, your mission statement is clearly displayed, and core pages like your About page and donation page are in good working order.
  5. Fill out and submit your application. The form only takes about 20 minutes to complete, and you should hear back about your approval status within a few business days.

Once your application is approved, you can use your Ad Grant money to promote a wide variety of website content. In addition to your donation page, make sure to advertise other engagement opportunities like volunteering, upcoming events, and advocacy campaigns to encourage Gen Z users to click on your ads and get involved in ways that are accessible to them.

4. Tell Compelling True Stories

When interacting with organizations like yours online, Generation Z values authenticity. To add a level of genuineness to your digital marketing content that will appeal to Gen Z audiences, incorporate stories about specific instances in which your nonprofit has made a difference.

Here are some examples of how nonprofits in different verticals can tell stories through the platforms their Gen Z supporters are likely to use:

  • An organization focused on children’s literacy could create a YouTube video featuring testimonials from parents whose kids have benefited from their free tutoring.
  • An environmental nonprofit might feature before and after pictures of past beach cleanup days on their website’s Volunteer page.
  • An animal shelter may make a series of Instagram posts that each tell the story of one cat who found its forever home through the organization.

Besides showing Generation Z that your nonprofit follows through on its mission, stories can engage your audience’s emotions and inspire them to support that mission.

Remember that your nonprofit’s goal should not only be to acquire Gen Z supporters, but also to keep them engaged with your organization long-term. After implementing the above marketing strategies, monitor your campaigns and make improvements as needed. Additionally, consider sending out surveys to Gen Z audiences to get their perspective on what you’re doing well and where you could improve your communications with them.

Special thanks to Jessica King, Business Lead at Getting Attention for the expert advice. Jessica helps nonprofits acquire and manage the Google Ad Grant to expand their impact. Prior to her work at Getting Attention, Jessica worked in nonprofit and higher education organizations focusing on communication and digital marketing, and most recently in search engine optimization in the mission-driven sector. Jessica holds a master’s degree in communication from Virginia Tech. In her free time, you can find her reading, building furniture, and hanging out with her cats, Benny and Olive.