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Allyson Kapin 6 min read

Three Apps to Reach Generation Z

I don't have to tell you that advocates and donors are the heart of your organization. You would not survive without them. What are you doing to recruit younger demographics such as those who are 18-22, the people who will be funding your organization in the future? Unfortunately, most nonprofits don't spend enough time or resources cultivating young people, despite the fact that Generation Z will comprise 40% of consumers by 2020. 

If your nonprofit wants to start connecting with this generation, here are a few tips from a two-hour workshop we at Rad Campaign conducted during the Summit on Jewish Teens last week.


Where is Generation Z Really Hanging Out Online?

There are many social networks and apps that this generation uses. If you're just starting out or are pressed for time, start with these three.

Snapchat – This mobile app is where this demographic is sharing their lives with their friends through snaps, stories, and chats. Lingo is defined below.

  • Snaps – Photos or short videos that you send to one or several friends (max 10 second length) and that self-destructs.
  • Stories – A tool to string Snaps together to create a narrative that lasts for 24 hours. Most brands use this feature.
  • Chat – One-to-one texting 


While Snapchat is one of the most popular mobile apps with this generation, as more brands and older demographics get on Snapchat, Generation Z will probably migrate to another app. 

Instagram – You are probably already familiar with Instagram. But this demographic uses it differently than nonprofits or brands. Their social status and how they climb that ladder is connected to not just how many people "like" their posts on Instagram, but who actually likes it. 

YouNow - This is a video live streaming app dominated by Generation Z where they show and talk about things they are doing – like playing music, drawing, ranting about life, asking and giving advice, etc. Live streaming is the next big trend. Al Roker even opened up a live streaming studio in NYC. There’s a lot of investment in this space.


Nothing About Us, Without Us

If your organization is really interested in connecting with Generation Z you can't just start using these apps and promoting your petitions or campaigns. You'll need to invest time crafting and curating content through their experiences and voices. 

DoSomething.org is a great example of an organization that is awesome at reaching this audience. Their mission is to make the world suck less. And they do this with about 5 million teen members and tackle the environment, poverty, and financial literacy. Each of their campaigns gives young people a clear call to action that never requires money, an adult or a car.

In one of their Snapchat stories from last year, they encouraged young people to sign up for their Would You Rather campaign around personal finance in partnership with H&R Block.

Bryce, their Snapmaster, made a Snapchat story telling their followers that he was going on a date but needed to keep costs down since he was trying to save money. He gave users different date options (like ice-skating) that did not require a lot of money. Users then voted for their favorite options. In the story, DoSomething provided keywords for users to text in and vote, and everyone who voted was encouraged to sign up for the Would You Rather campaign.

This campaign is a great example that shows how you can take a topic like financial literacy and make it appealing by using content created by your target audience. DoSomething.org did a fantastic job with this campaign by creating content in their audiences voice and by making their audience the hero of the story.

Is your nonprofit connecting with Generation Z? Share your strategies in the comments. 


Allyson Kapin

Allyson has been named one of "Top Tech Titans" by the Washingtonian, one of the Most Influential Women In Tech by Fast Company, and one of the top 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by Forbes for her leadership role in technology and social media. As Founding Partner of Rad Campaign, she leads the firm's client and online strategic services. For over a decade Allyson has helped non-profit organizations and political campaigns create dynamic and award-winning websites and online marketing and recruitment campaigns. She works side-by-side with her clients to meet their web needs and maximize their online effectiveness to create real world impact.