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As Generation X starts to age, and Generation Y starts to have children, it’s time to think about the next generation, “Generation Z”, those that are born in and after 1998, many of whom are now entering college and finishing high school.  Growing up in the middle of the Great Recession, this generation seems to be more focused on looking for bargains and saving than they are on spending.  As future volunteers and donors, they’ll be looking for proof that their money is well-spent.  Growing up in an age filled with political dysfunction, global terrorism, climate change, and a rise in shootings, they’re growing up around issues that are still pretty new to most things.  I recently read a blog post that used various statistics to look at some of the things nonprofits needs to know about these potential future donors.  Here are some of the most interesting:

Causes they care about: Education, children, animals, and the environment are the top three causes that Gen Z cares about.  They view climate change as the biggest challenge currently facing the world.  The majority favor solar energy and/or have recycled, while nearly a third of them have boycotted companies that hurt the environment. 

Their fears: Most of Generation Z is concerned about terrorism.  They also feel that school violence and shootings will have the biggest impact on their generation, more so than social networking.  Symptoms of depression and anxiety are high among them.  

Reaching them: Generation Z, unlike those before them, are “digital natives” that can’t remember a time without Internet or social media.  Because of this, the majority of Generation Z is inspired to donate to charities by a message or image that they saw on social media (YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are the three most popular sites for them).  

Volunteering: Much of Generation Z, 77% of them according to, are very interested in volunteering to gain work experience.  Indeed, this is the age of internships, when unpaid internships and volunteering are essential in gaining experience before starting an entry-level position.  More than a quarter of them already volunteer.  

Who they are: This is the most diverse generation ever; according to the US Census Bureau, over half of Generation Z will come from minority races by 2020.  Most of them also know somebody that uses gender-neutral pronouns, and JWT Intelligence reports that they’re the most tolerant generation of gender diversity ever.