Do non-profits need a Gen Z marketing model?

The ever-evolving nature of the online world is changing many elements of everyday life – and has been greatly in recent decades. Children born into and growing up in this digitally-led era are different to the generations that came before them. Case in point is Generation Z.

generation z marketing model

Generally defined as those born between 1995 and 2009, with the youngest of them aged six and the oldest of them aged 20 in 2015, Gen Z is the first generation to not know life pre-internet. But how are they different? What qualities and values define them? And how will they will live, work and give?

Defining Generation Z

In his paper Generation Z Defined: Global, Visual, and Digital, Mark McCrindle, founder and director of Australian social research firm McCrindle, described Gen Z as “truly global” and “the most materially endowed, technological saturated, formally educated generation our world has ever seen”.

McCrindle notes that the way that Gen Z learn, communicate and engage is also unique. “We have an emerging generation, many of whom are opting to watch a video summarising an issue rather than read an article discussing it. In an era of information overload, messages have increasingly become image based and signs, logos and brands communicate across the language barriers with colour and picture rather than words and phrases.”

The need for a new approach 

So how will this impact the way charities and non-profits market to this generation of globally informed, hyper-connected, socially conscious digital natives? Here are a few points to ponder…


The internet, social media and smartphones will be integral to connecting with this demographic. According to US branding agency Sparks & Honey, Gen Z use five screens: a smartphone, TV, laptop, desktop and iPad (versus the three screens typically used by Millennials).

Donation methods should also be easy, convenient and immediate. For example, text donation services (such as those offered by GiveEasy), giving apps – such as Instead, Pay or Promise – and branded apps, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Donate a Photo, where the company donates $1 to a user’s chosen cause for every photo they share are methods for charities and businesses to explore.

The 2014 #nomakeupselfie campaign, which raised £8 million for Cancer Research UK, is a prime example of these factors at work. While the charity didn’t initiate the hashtag – which saw people post photos of themselves sans makeup to social media – they identified its potential early on and joined in, asking people to donate by text to Cancer Research UK when they shared their ‘no make selfie’ on social media.

Visual and brief

Format counts, as McCrindle noted, Gen Z is more responsive to video and image-led formats, over those that are text and time-heavy. These are essential considerations in creating campaign material, as is the need for them to cross-platform and mobile-optimised.


Gen Z is a socially conscious generation who want to collaborate to create change. Data from US agency Sparks & Honey also found that 26% of 16-to-19-year-old US teens are volunteering, with social entrepreneurship counting among the most popular career choice.

Gen Z don’t just want to donate to pre-established campaigns, they want to be a part of creating them. Charities should consider co-fundraising campaigns on platforms like Pozible, Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

While Benojo, as an online social marketplace that connects businesses to causes they care about, offers another avenue for collaboration and co-creating fundraising events.

Benojo connects those who want to give to those is need.

Contact us to learn more.