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One of the best things you can do for your nonprofit is to recruit a diverse group of people, including race, ethnicity, and age. When you hire people from all backgrounds, you will inevitably get different, innovative and creative ideas.

Millennials were born in the early 1980’s and that generation’s ending birth years are typically in the late 1990’s. That means that many of them are now in their mid-30’s and well into their careers. More than likely, you have some Millennials working for you in your organization. But now it’s time to give a careful look at Generation Z. This generation is active, vocal, diverse and ready to make a social impact. Here are some fun facts about Generation Z according to CMO by Adobe:

  • Generation Z is not interested in Facebook. In fact, about a quarter of them doesn’t use it, and many of those who do only use it because someone else encouraged them (e.g., employer).
  • In a just a couple of years, they will account for 40 percent of all consumers.
  • 60 percent of Generation Z want a job that will help them make a difference in society.

So, if you work at a nonprofit, what do you do to recruit, and retain, Generation Z?

  1. It’s all about technology (and career): Gen Z is fully immersed in technology, and have been since they were babies, and you better be as well. They will not work for any organization that limits or dismisses technology. Listen to them if they have ideas about how to incorporate and use technology––even if you’ve never heard of the tools. An important secondary part of this is that they are highly career oriented. They are looking for jobs that will lead to careers. So, if you play your cards right with a bright star, giving them the opportunity, for instance, to develop the organization’s technology plan is a great way to create a win/win situation for both you and them.
  2. Feedback is constant: Generation Z is used to having instant feedback. They don’t want to wait a week, month or, heaven forbid, a year to hear about how they’re doing and what they can do to improve. Gen Z looks at their relationship with their employer as a partnership, and they expect to understand how they can contribute to the success of the organization on an ongoing basis. One of the best techniques to use is to have weekly or daily sessions with Gen Z employees to encourage them to tell you about how they’re doing or to ask questions.
  3. Keeping it “real”: Gen Z was raised on social media, and they were taught from a young age that it was all about being authentic and real. They don’t take kindly to people or organizations that are not who they are and being forthright, straightforward and real. Make sure that everything you do aligns with your mission and the culture of your nonprofit is whatever it is. In other words, don’t pretend to be what and who you’re not, because you have to keep in mind that this generation has no qualms about posting to social media.
  4. You’ve got 8 seconds: Studies have shown that the attention span of people born into Generation Z is about 8 seconds. So, working with them is very different than older workers. Although studies have also proven that multi-tasking is not effective, Gen Z thinks they have multi-tasking down to a “science.” They expect to spend an hour at the office working on some administrative task for a few minutes, checking Snapchat on their phone and uploading last night’s pictures, bouncing back to that task to then ask their manager about how they would like them to approach developing the annual fund plan. 
  5. Try to keep them, but don’t expect it: People born into Generation Z are looking to create a thriving career, and unlike earlier generations, they have no problem job-hopping (a lot) to achieve their goals. Therefore, if you meet someone who is talented, energetic and smart, you’ll have to do a lot more than tell them they’re doing an excellent job to keep them on your team. They want to advance quickly, be paid well, feel empowered and be part of a vibrant and thriving organization. Make sure your nonprofit is full of energy, fun, and vision.

All of these strategies will help you retain young minds who might see a career path for themselves in your nonprofit.


Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact”(Free Digital Download)


© 2018 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.