Blog Post: 5 Ways to Engage Generation Z Volunteers

5 Ways to Engage Generation Z Volunteers

Generation Z Volunteers

Generation Z volunteers are a vital contributor to the nonprofit world. With a passion for positive impact, this segment of volunteers can help your nonprofit reach its mission.

Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z (or Gen-Z for short), represents individuals born between 1997 and 2012. According to a report, published by the Pew Research Center, Gen-Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation to date. Gen-Z is also the most civically engaged generation alive today, according to a Global Millennial and Gen-Z survey by Deloitte.

Nonprofits are important to Generation Z. In fact, 10% want to start their own nonprofit making them an ideal volunteer prospect for your organization.

Engaging Generation Z Volunteers

To successfully engage Generation Z volunteers, your organization must understand what motivates them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 26.4% of 16 to 19-year-olds volunteer regularly, so the willingness to give is apparent. Recently, a study was performed to identify Gen-Z volunteer motivations. Among the top motivations for this generation were increased value, career readiness, learning opportunities, and improved self-esteem. Clearly, many Generation Z volunteers see the value that active volunteerism can have on their own life and career ambitions, outside of community impact.

If your organization can engage Generation Z volunteers, you may also be able to easily convert them to financial donors. According to a Learning to Give report, 57% of young people will save their money rather than spend it, and 32% donate money regularly.

Here are a few strategic ways to engage Generation Z volunteers….

Make Volunteering Easy

Gen-Z are true digital natives. 95% own a smart phone or a computer. Because of this, it is critical that your organization provides them with an easy, online, experience for recruitment, registration, and communication. One of the best ways to streamline your volunteer program is by implementing volunteer management software, such as VolunteerHub. 

VolunteerHub is trusted by thousands of nonprofits and provides organizations with features that appeal to all generations of volunteers including online recruitment and registration, rewards and recognition, integration with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, and a mobile app.

Removing barriers for Gen-Z volunteers through the adoption of volunteer management software can increase recruitment and retention of this digitally savvy group of motivated volunteers.

Be Active and Authentic on Social Media

For many Gen-Zers, social media is an integral part of their lives. According to Sprout Social, 66% of Gen-Z consumers state that social media is an essential part of their lives and 45% expect to increase their social media usage over the next three years. The same report states that 76% say that social media enables them to interact with brands and companies and 78% use social media to learn about new brands. It is imperative that your nonprofit is using social media to engage Generation Z volunteers and introduce them to your volunteer program.

You may be asking “where can I reach Gen-Z volunteer prospects?” Here is some information that can help.

The average person who is a part of Generation Z uses social media for a variety of reasons including connecting with others, consuming multimedia, sharing content, playing games, and learning about organizations and brands. If your organization is actively sharing a variety of engaging content, on the platforms that matter to Gen-Zers, chances are you will reach them. As of 2021, the most used social media platforms by Gen-Z users are TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Instagram.

Creating engaging social media content has the power to not just entice Gen-Zers to volunteer, but also donate. A 2017 Giving Report, found that 59% of Gen-Z were inspired to give financially because of a message or graphic that they saw on social media.

Sprout Social has some great tips for developing a social media strategy that reach Gen-Z users.

Provide Learning Opportunities

Offering opportunities to learn new skills is a great way to engage all volunteers, especially Gen-Zers. According to a LinkedIn study, Gen-Z wants to learn their way up the career ladder. This presents a substantial opportunity for your volunteer program, if your organization can offer learning opportunities as a component of volunteerism. When recruiting Gen-Z volunteers your organization should start by identifying exactly what they are looking to get out of their experience. Keep in mind that not all learning opportunities have to be advanced, below are a few soft skills that can be developed.

Some of the top soft skills your organization can help develop include:

  • Work ethic
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Relationship building
  • Confidence
  • Customer service
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity
  • IT tools
  • Leadership
  • Software proficiency (such as volunteer management software)

Here are some tips on how to create skill-based volunteer learning opportunities.

Offer Virtual Volunteer Opportunities

As mentioned earlier in this blog post, most Gen-Z volunteers are tech-savvy and are confident using online tools. One of the best ways to engage and recruit Gen-Z volunteers is by providing them with virtual opportunities. Virtual volunteerism is when volunteers provide support and complete opportunities away from your organizations physical site, project, or campaign. Your organization can utilize virtual volunteers in a variety of ways. Some of the most common virtual volunteer opportunities include:

  • Administrative support
  • Marketing
  • Digital Fundraising
  • Translation
  • Data-Entry
  • Event Planning
  • IT
  • Volunteer Engagement


With such a passion around supporting causes, it is crucial that your organization engages and leverages Gen-Z volunteers. A few of the best ways to engage G-Zer’s includes streamlining the recruitment process, being active on social media, providing learning opportunities, and offering virtual volunteerism.

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