Last updated February 15, 2019
Organisations are always being told they need to adapt in order to recruit Gen Z volunteers, but do you actually know what that adaptation looks like in a practical sense? Here are a few of the things that might be holding back a tide of willing Gen Z volunteers from your non-profit
Gen Z’ers are struggling to stay afloat. Many are trying to juggle study, work, social lives, finances, health & wellbeing, all while reconciling moving out of home. The typical response from older generations is “welcome to adulthood”. However, burnout is very real for Gen Z’ers as they continue to push themselves until their cups are empty, even cracked. If you’re asking Gen Z’ers to then volunteer 6 hours a week, for 6 months, their sinking ship will probably head in another direction.
Gen Z’ers strive for a sense of belonging and worth. They find this in each other and build a community out of it. Experiencing life together brings them joy and meaning as they have someone to journey with, share with and love with. If you take that away from them by providing only opportunities for solo volunteering, you won’t see many Gen Z helping hands around.
Gen Z’ers will only stand with you if they believe in your cause. Gen Z is a generation ready to fight, they are ready to make waves of change. Gen Z and Robin Hood have more in common than you might first think! This means that if your organisation appears to be sitting on their hands, watching the world go by, so too will Gen Z volunteers.
Gen Z’ers don’t like to sit on the side-lines. If they are within the walls of your organisation, they want to be heard, they want to get their feet dirty. If you treat your volunteers as a means to an end, Gen Z’ers will most likely leave before the day is done. Involve them, talk with them, listen to their ideas, and make them feel welcome, even if they only volunteer once.
Gen Z’ers live and breathe diversity. Born into a generation full of it, they want to be surrounded by people of all genders, age, race and religion. In fact, it is within diverse environments that this generation truly thrive. If your organisation is stock standard, overflowing with sameness, Gen Z’ers will turn a blind eye, no matter how great your cause is.