Gen Z and Millennial Volunteers

Everyone asks us alllll the time how they can connect with Gen Z and Millennial volunteers. We even created POINT to make it easy for younger volunteers to connect with local nonprofits. If you feel like many others right now that volunteerism is in decline, you are both right and wrong.

The decrease in volunteers has been coming for a while, and the past few years sped that trend up. It doesn’t have to be that way, though! This is the year that we fiiiinally move away from the processes used for decades that really aren’t serving us anymore.

Instead, this coming year redirect your efforts to innovative relationship-building methods that speak directly to the interests, needs, and motivations of Gen Z and Millennial volunteers.

Gen Z and Millennial Volunteers

👋 Who are Gen Z and Millennials?

Millennials, born between 1981 and 2000, experienced 9/11, the growth of the internet, and rise of school shootings. These events shaped the Millennial generation to be focused on the impacts and outcomes of actions. In addition, they seek to be challenged and grow through unique life experiences.

Gen Z, born between 2001 and 2020, is experiencing the climate crises and the Great Recession(s). Gen Z also grew up with abundant tech and information at their fingertips. These experiences and access have shaped Gen Z into the first digitally native generation. They are the generation of independence and innovation.

🙌 What motivates Gen Z and Millennials to volunteer?

Recruiting Gen Z and Millennial volunteers into your program will require rethinking what you communicate and ask of them. These generations care deeply about meaningful impact, gaining experience, and supporting the causes close to their heart.

For many, volunteering is about something other than doing free labor or giving back. Instead, it is about making an actual difference, having interesting experiences, developing skills for their careers, and having fun while doing it. 

Volunteering may be a completely new experience for some Millennials and Gen Z’ers. They want to volunteer but may not know where to find the right fit for them, how to express interest, or even worse – maybe they have been trying to volunteer and have not gotten any responses back.

To overcome these communication challenges and bring in more people, take some time to consider their motivations and build those into your comm plans. 

Millennials are motivated by causes rather than institutions and want to make a lasting impact through unique experiences. They will be more involved when they are trusted, trust you, and take their responsibilities seriously. The causes that Millennials are most engaged in include health, education, jobs, climate, and equity.

Gen Z’s motivated by trackable change; it’s not enough to say you make a difference. Your online information needs to show how it becomes a reality. They will be more involved when the information shared also builds their learning and with volunteer opportunities that bring diversity and representation to the forefront. The causes that Gen Z is most engaged in are social justice, health, education, jobs, climate, and equality.

👉 Read more volunteer management tips

🤔 How to market to Gen Z and Millennials?

Now that you have taken time to understand what shapes Millennial and Gen Z expectations and have considered their motivations, how do you reach them? Find them where they are—on their phones.

Millennials and Gen Z prefer communication via messaging and text, and there are some great apps to help (just gonna say it, POINT can help). Also, consider looking at Slack, a great free tool to help bring people together into one communication platform. Or if your office is Microsoft based, communicate through Teams. Or, this may sound a little weird, but put up signage (especially in the bathroom)!

When putting together your messaging for Millennials, create exclusivity through volunteer applications and limited spots. And always make sure it’s an easy signup process, 2-step involvement, max. Gen Z has access to a LOT of info, and they know how to use it. Add to their knowledge base through your messaging, communicating about your cause, knowledge, and impact.

Nonprofits can use Canva for free; consider using it to ramp up your social media pages and educate followers about your cause through high content volume. P.S., both Gen Z and Millennials have a knack for social media content, consider creating a volunteer position for content creation that can be done remotely.

🧡 what you just read? Be sure to subscribe to the Good POINT Blog using the form below👇 and share our post with your colleagues on LinkedIn! Are you curious how POINT can level up your volunteer program? Book a free, live demo with our team!

Photo Brandy Strand
Brandy Strand
Nonprofit Partnerships Account Executive

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.