How to appeal to gen z for charity sector jobs

10 minutes
TPP Recruitment

By TPP Recruitment

Gen Z graduates and professionals have begun contributing to the workforce, impacting their lives and others. While every generation seizes its moment to make a difference, Gen Z stands out with distinct ideals, goals, and a unique relationship with the workplace that varies based on various societal factors. 

The future of non-profits relies on attracting and engaging generations in charitable activities and matching their ideologies to encourage them to apply for charity sector jobs. Recognising the distinctive characteristics of Gen Z, it is essential for the charity sector to create strategies that resonate with this divergent generation.

In this guide you will discover: 

  • The ideals, beliefs, and values shaping Gen Z's presence in the workforce
  • The significance of involving Gen Z in the charity sector 
  • How to create targeted attraction strategies aligned with generational themes
  • The crucial aspect of establishing and retaining a talent pipeline for the future.

Understanding the generational differences

Generation Zoomers (Gen Z) are born after 1997 and before 2012. They are the generation succeeding Millennials and represent digital transformation, diversity, and the prospect of change. To date, they reflect approximately 26% of the global population. 

To engage them effectively in charity sector jobs, it's crucial to recognise their unique traits, including a tech-savvy outlook and a passion for social justice. Gen Z's influence is growing, meaning organisations need to understand and cater to their values to thrive.

Understanding gen z

Values and drivers

Gen Z individuals are characterised by passion and drive, powered by idealism and a strong motivation to make a meaningful difference. This generation’s keen interest in social policies propels them to act to make a positive difference. A notable two-thirds of this generation has already dedicated their time to volunteer in charity roles, showcasing a wealth of exceptional talent. This emphasises the importance of encouraging Gen Z to consider and pursue careers within the charity sector.

Sustainability is their central concern, reflecting a deep commitment to addressing environmental and social issues. Engaged in activism, they actively fight for change and expect a role in decision-making processes. While maintaining clear boundaries between work and personal life, they are success-oriented, seeking growth and advancement. Social consciousness is a driving force, with a strong desire to contribute positively to the world.

Needs and preferences

Accessibility is critical for Gen Z, and they seek easy entry points into non-profit careers, such as through internships and volunteer opportunities. They value clear paths for development, encompassing skill-building, training, and opportunities for career advancement. Gen Z is drawn to roles that offer personal and social impact, allowing for both personal growth and the contribution to meaningful social change. Being digital natives, they prefer communication and information through social media platforms.

Future significance

Gen Z is poised to make up one-third of the workforce within three years, making them a crucial talent pool for the charity sector. Highly engaged, they aspire to leave a lasting mark and actively seek roles aligned with their values. Gen Z individuals are vocal and socially responsible, expecting work environments that are inclusive, respectful, and responsible.

Acknowledging the strategic significance of engaging with generation z

With over 94% of Gen Z expressing a willingness to volunteer and more than 63% having already engaged in such activities, the opportunity to channel their enthusiasm and experiences into a career is evident. As the first digital native generation, they navigate a landscape marked by societal and economic challenges, from recessions to global pandemics and wars.

Motivated by a collective hunger for meaningful change, Gen Z possesses the knowledge, connections, and digital skills essential for expanding the reach of charitable efforts on a global scale. Their acute awareness of climate anxiety propels them to take proactive steps toward creating a better world.

In addition to their active involvement, Gen Z brings forth a wealth of impactful and innovative ideas that challenge conventional norms. Their organised and connected approach to political activities and campaigning reflects a unique ability to understand and shape societal trends.

Gen Z's active involvement is crucial for the sustained growth of the charity sector. Their talent in fundraising and engagement and a preference for age-relevant influencers make them integral to future success. Harnessing Gen Z's exceptional talent is not just strategic; it's vital for ensuring the ongoing vitality of charitable efforts.

How to attract gen z to non-profit activities 

What does gen z want from work?

Not every member of Gen Z desires the same thing from their place of work. However, several themes resonate with the generation overall, most stemming from their attitude towards what they would like from their lives. 

These include:

  • An organisation that speaks their language: Gen Z communicates primarily through social media. Leveraging these platforms for outreach, communication, and engagement is vital in resonating with this generation.
  • Having a clear message: Crafting a concise and clear organisational message is essential. Gen Z values transparency and authenticity, so a straightforward message aligns with their preferences.
  • Making a positive impact: Gen Z is driven by a desire to create positive change. Demonstrating the impact of charity activities and emphasising the organisation's contribution to meaningful causes will resonate with this generation.
  • Having a voice: Gen Z values being heard. Providing avenues for them to express their opinions, ideas, and concerns fosters a sense of involvement and commitment.
  • Transparency and traceability: Transparency and honesty are paramount for Gen Z. They want to identify where charity activities have a real effect. Establishing traceability in your operations enhances trust and engagement.
  • Opportunities for advancement: Gen Z seek professional development opportunities and the opportunity to advance in their industry. Around 25% of this generation state that development in the workplace can influence their desire to work there. 
  • Wellbeing, flexibility, and diversity: Gen Z appreciates workplaces prioritising a positive and healthy work environment, focusing on their well-being, and ensuring diversity. In addition, nearly 70% of Gen Zers look for industries that offer hybrid working. 
  • To make a positive impact: Gen Z seeks opportunities to channel their passion and make a meaningful impact, typically gravitating towards causes that resonate with their personal experiences or enjoy support from like-minded individuals.

It is essential to acknowledge the values of this generation and what they desire from their workplace to begin charity sector job attraction strategies

How can the charity sector speak to gen z?

Direct attention to issues that resonate with gen z 

When appealing to any generation, it is essential to understand the issues that that group have experienced and the trends that affect their perspectives. To engage Gen Z as a whole, focus on:

  • Addressing relevant issues: To attract Gen Z to charity sector jobs, consider prioritising key societal concerns such as environmental sustainability, social justice, mental health, animal welfare, and LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Showing tangible outcomes: Illustrate positive impacts through real stories and measurable changes.
  • Using data and metrics: Showcase progress with data, steering away from relying solely on emotional appeals.

Showing transparency and respecting generational social norms will resonate with this generation’s exceptional talent, giving them more incentives to work in a sector that values them. 

Provide flexibility and authenticity

In addition to understanding and adapting to shifting social norms, this generation's work habits have also evolved. As the most educated generation to date, Gen Z collectively seeks a flexible approach to work, a preference influenced not only by the impact of COVID-19 but also by their desire for a better work-life balance, a focus on individual well-being, and a heightened awareness of diverse career opportunities. 

Examples of these desires include:

  • Remote work advocacy: Advocate for remote options, catering to Gen Z's desire for work-life balance and autonomy.
  • Transparent and inclusive culture: Encourage transparency, inclusivity, and authenticity in decision-making and addressing social issues.

Multinational organisations are encouraging this trend and setting the standard. The charity sector must offer flexible working options to appeal to Gen Z.

Empower youthful voices

With experience comes knowledge, but Gen Z is highly aware of social issues. Though they may have limited industry experience, their creativity and ideas must be valued for them to feel engaged with their career. 

Here are examples of the ways that your organisation can incorporate the ideas of these professionals to encourage their development and progression:

  • Project leadership opportunities: Establish avenues for Gen Z to lead projects, share ideas, and contribute meaningfully.
  • Value their opinions: Acknowledge the validity of Gen Z's opinions, especially considering their direct involvement or personal experiences in charity issues.

Gen Z appreciates personalised and engaging experiences. Developing recruitment strategies that highlight specific roles is essential. However, it's crucial not to make exaggerated promises. If the potential impact increases with the role's growth, avoid claiming substantial influence from the start to prevent potential disengagement.

Embrace digital communication

The methods by which your organisation communicates internally and externally matter to this digitally consumed generation. If your attraction strategies don’t include social media connectivity, Gen Z is likely to miss it. 

Essential methods to effectively communicate with this generation include:

  • Adapt to communication preferences: Recognise Gen Z's distinctive communication style, relying on personalised and targeted content like video or shorter, bite-sized content.
  • Active engagement on social media: Connect through TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, using authentic language and encouraging peer-to-peer promotion.
  • Participate in gen z-centric events: Engage in career fairs and events popular among Gen Z. Advertise these events on social media platforms for maximum impact.

Recent research shows that 73% of job seekers aged 18-34 have found their jobs through social media. Embracing social media will aid your charity recruitment techniques by reaching a more significant number of Gen Z professionals.

Prioritise learning and development

Jobs in the charity sector primarily revolve around making a positive impact and continual learning and development to address societal needs. Gen Z is particularly attracted to ongoing professional development and actively seeks opportunities to enhance their skills.

To promote the current and future developmental opportunities throughout the sector, focus your organisation’s recruitment strategies on providing or showcasing your:

  • Mentorship and training opportunities: Provide mentorship and training for skill development opportunities and career advancement.
  • Educational benefits: Showcase opportunities for learning and gaining valuable experience.
  • Career paths: Demonstrate diverse career options stemming from nonprofit experience.

Remember to remain open to feedback. Stay receptive and adapt approaches based on Gen Z's needs and preferences concerning their career aspirations and development. This flexibility will contribute to building a more engaging and dynamic work environment.

Recognising and combating the challenges of charity recruitment 

Understanding generational standards and ideals is the first step in attracting Gen Z to charity sector jobs. However, to fully appeal to exceptional Gen Z candidates interested in pursuing a rewarding and fulfilling career, organisations in the charity sector must work out how to fully appeal to them. 

Here are some of Gen Z’s current perceptions of non-profits and our strategies for spinning these perceptions to appeal to this generation’s exceptional talent. 

Competition surrounding exceptional talent 

Gen Z is often drawn to careers offering high starting salaries and well-defined career paths. Unfortunately, non-profit and charity sector jobs often struggle to match these in terms of financial compensation. The social and economic events of the past five years have heightened the pressure to secure employment that offers a substantial salary or robust benefits packages. While many Gen Z individuals are interested in volunteering and making a positive impact, taking up full-time roles in non-profits can be unappealing due to the perception of lower pay and limited benefits.

There's a common misconception that all professionals in the charity sector are underpaid. However, this isn't universally true, as specific roles within the industry can offer clear paths of progression and increasing salaries. Even if the charity sector cannot provide a higher salary, Gen Z is still attracted to meaningful actions and the ability to make a difference. To appeal to this generation, providing as many benefits as possible, fostering a positive working environment, promoting progression opportunities, and highlighting chances to make a meaningful impact is essential.

Perception issues

Non-profit and charity work often carries an outdated image and is viewed as old-fashioned, bureaucratic, or lacking in impact. Gen Z prefers dynamic, innovative workplaces that deliver precise results. To connect with this generation better, non-profits should actively challenge these outdated perceptions, highlighting their work's modern and impactful aspects.

Gen Z values transparency, to build trust and resonate with Gen Z, non-profits should prioritise clear, detailed communication. Providing hard information about the real-world implications of their initiatives and transparent insights into organisational operations can help to eliminate misconceptions and strengthen the connection with this generation that values openness and authenticity.

Communication issues

Charity jobs and recruitment are challenged to reach Gen Z effectively through traditional outreach methods like print ads or job boards. As Gen Z predominantly relies on social media and digital platforms for communication and information, adapting to these preferred channels is crucial for charities to engage with this demographic successfully.

Communication materials related to charity roles may not align with Gen Z's values and preferred language. Jargon and overly formal language can be off-putting. To resonate better with Gen Z, charities should consider adjusting their messaging to align with this generation's values and language preferences. Avoiding jargon and adopting a more relatable and straightforward communication style can enhance the appeal of charity roles to Gen Z.

Creating and retaining a talent pipeline

While attracting Gen Z in the digital era is challenging, ensuring a consistent flow of exceptional talent is even more crucial. This becomes particularly challenging amid various societal and economic issues, compounded by charities' difficulties in engaging Gen Z.

Gen Z encounters a significant hurdle in their job search despite being among the most qualified generations. Employers often impose high expectations, leading to struggles in gaining industry experience. About one-third of respondents express the need for additional industry-specific qualifications for entry-level positions, and 36% find it challenging to secure their first job despite being overqualified.

Denying access to the charity sector due to a lack of specific industry experience could mean missing out on qualified Gen Z members. However, there are practical approaches to bridge this gap:

  • Offer internships
  • Provide apprenticeships
  • Facilitate mentoring programs
  • Create volunteering opportunities

Making a positive impression during these experiences can transform them into a robust talent pipeline, amplified by Gen Z's communication habits—word of mouth spreads rapidly within this generation.

As you successfully appeal to Gen Z, this initial engagement can evolve into a sustainable talent pipeline. Collaborating with reputable recruiters facilitates and maintains this flow of Gen Z talent long-term.

The appeal to Gen Z in charity sector jobs: final thoughts

Understanding Gen Z's distinct characteristics and preferences is crucial to elevating your charity recruitment process and effectively appealing to them. Recognising their passion, drive, and commitment to social causes, particularly environmental sustainability and social justice, provides a foundation for engagement.

Adapting your approach, participating in Gen Z-centric events, and collaborating with educational institutions can help you attract and retain talented Gen Z professionals. Embrace transparency, purpose-driven initiatives, and a commitment to meaningful actions to make your charity an attractive destination for this generation.

Are you looking to elevate your charity recruitment process?

At TPP, we're known for trust, reliability, and building lasting connections. Our specialised consultants excel in charity recruitment, connecting exceptional talent with organisations. We recruit for various charity sector roles, recognising the importance of bringing in new talent. 

Contact us today to discover how we can streamline your recruitment strategy. 

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  • TPP Recruitment, Northern & Shell Building, 4th Floor, 10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF