Subscribe to the Fundraising Writing Newsletter

Yeah, but what about Gen Z fundraising?

Published 10 months agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

All generations welcome here! This is the 91st issue of the Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you're feeling fantastic, please forward this to a fun colleague. Thank you! (Fun colleagues can ​subscribe here for free.)

In this issue:

  • Yeah, but what about Gen Z fundraising?
  • What are you doing on June 15th?
  • Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

Wednesday, May 17, 2023


Hey Reader,

Brett here:

Do you love Gen Z? I do!

Handy chart alert:

I feel pretty well acquainted with Gen Z because all 4 of our kids are Gen Z (currently ages 19-25) and all the middle schoolers I ever taught the subject of Literacy to (from '08 to '21, when I joined Julie here) were Gen Z.

They made me laugh. They made me cry (in a good way). They made me care more than I thought possible.

They made me realize how much people can love waffles...

Gen Z gives me real hope for a better future!

Yeah, but what about Gen Z fundraising?

Good question.

At a recent project check-in meeting, a client asked:

β€œI attended a webinar last week and it was on how to engage Gen Z donors. And they said the research is showing that Gen Zers prefer more frequent, really short communications … versus traditional, older donors who prefer less frequent but more detailed information. Do you have any advice on how to balance these two main goals and break into the Gen Z donor segment?”

Our take (mine and Julie's; we've compared notes 😊):
​"To every thing there is a season..."

In other words, you as a real-world fundraiser only have so much money to spend on reaching, engaging, and stewarding prospective, active, and lapsed donors.

Your funds are limited. Your hands are tied.

So, what to do?

To do:

  • Know your limits.
  • Know your seasons.

The season for Gen Z giving en masse is ... not yet.

But rest assured, they will "get their Turn Turn Turn!"

An analogy for you...

When I was a kid in the '70s and '80s, I remember being annoyed by certain songs they'd play at grocery stores and restaurants. Songs like "So Happy Together" by The Turtles. (Or even "Turn Turn Turn!" by The Byrds.)

Why was I annoyed by The Turtles? Because the song was "old" β€” released in '67. So, in '84 when I was 13, this song was 17. That's like how a song from '06 (say, "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley) feels to a 13-year-old today. Ancient!

(Also: this jaunty Turtles tune refuses to quit echoing inside any brain for ~17 years.)

But now ... when I go to grocery stores and restaurants, they mostly play songs from the '80s or '90s. And like magic, those songs aren't old anymore. Not to me. It's my time. My season. For music in public places, anyway.

Why? Because I'm in the target audience/market.

Why? Because I (likely) have money to spend β€” more than most.

Why? Because I'm old enough now. It's my season. It's my Turn Turn Turn!

This is true for all my fellow Gen Xers. Today.

One day, it will be true for Gen Zers too.

But not yet. Not en masse.


Instead of using your resources to seek donations from Gen Zers, consider encouraging them to:

πŸ•°οΈ Volunteer their time

πŸ“± Share your social posts

πŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈ Participate in your events

Frankly, right now, developing and implementing a strategy to capture Gen Zers as donors isn’t a good use of your budget or time.

That's no reflection on them or on you. It's just the current season, soon to change: part of the circle of life.

Which is a-okay. We still adore Gen Z!

(And me, also: bagels & waffles.)

What are you doing June 15th?

You're invited!

Please join us for an intense super-sized 1.5-hour webinar (& "All-You-Can-Eat" Q&A session) with training by Tom Ahern β€” whom the New York Times dubbed "possibly the greatest non-profit copywriter on the planet."

In this once-in-2023 MEGA-webby, you'll discover how you can take your organization's newsletter from I-guess-this-might-work to this-one's-a-keeper!

Tom's got a selection of amazing success stories to share, including how he helped create newsletters that now generate substantial, repeatable income for charities.

One of these? A newsletter that now brings in almost half a million in extra donations each time it gets sent out.


But wait, there's more! :)

We're also excited to have Rachel Muir, CFRE, joining us as a special guest. Rachel is a renowned nonprofit founder and thought leader (endorsed by Oprah). She'll be sharing her expertise on stewardship, retention, and newsletters.

During the webby, you'll hear awesome true tales of transformation, like how a simple shift in communication increased a hospital foundation's newsletter donations by a staggering 1,000%.

This is the only chance you'll get to join this enlightening event in 2023, so you won't want to miss out.

Your ticket to this "knowledge feast" is just US$139 per computer connection. A small investment that can yield significant returns when you put the lessons you'll learn into action.

Secure your spot now, and get ready to unlock the potential of your newsletters. Find out more and register here.

Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you

For your brain, heart, and funny bone...

  • Fundraisingly Informative β€” Pepsi is rebranding, and you shouldn’t give a rip by Jeff Brooks (a blog post about why you should avoid being lured away from fundraising fundamentals by alluring commercial trends)
  • Gracefully Turned β€” The Paradox of Effort by Sahil Bloom (a blog post about the usefulness of "sprezzatura," an Italian word that means "studied carelessness" β€” by which you can and perhaps should make your hard work look easy)
  • Audibly Explosive β€” New Order - Blue Monday via Song Exploder (a 24-minute podcast episode in which members of New Order explain how their epic hit single "Blue Monday" was born of grief and grew to rule dance floors the world over)
  • Hilariously Adorable β€” Yipick from Homie Depot via Sunday Morning Interview (a 1-minute YouTube video in which a toddler explains why she borrowed her mother's lipstick)
  • Promotionally Astute β€” Kids’ brutally honest lawn mowing business sign shows the true art of setting boundaries by Kait Hanson (an article about two middle schoolers who started a lawn mowing business and promoted it with a hand-made sign featuring many boldly specific requirements)

Until next time: May you embrace all generations through every season, so we'll all be so happy together.

All our best,

PS: Hey β€” here's the latest in our weekly video series, Win It in a Minute. You can (and maybe want to?) subscribe here.

In this video, Tom answers the question:

"Tom, sometimes you recommend writing all the headlines for a piece (such as in a newsletter) before writing any of the copy. Why is that?"

video preview




Subscribe to the Fundraising Writing Newsletter

Hi! We're Julie Cooper and Brett Cooper, fundraising copywriters for great causes. Does your fundraising bring in as much money as it could? You can send donor communications that stir hearts to action. We'd love to help. πŸ’› Start by subscribing to our FREE weekly newsletter.

Read more from Subscribe to the Fundraising Writing Newsletter

This is the 124th Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends. (Your fundraising friends can subscribe here for free.) In this issue: βœ… AI vs Fundraising Writing β€” a head-to-head comparison βœ… Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you Wednesday, February 28, 2024 Hi Reader, My dad is now trying to sell a property, and the promotion he created is kind of hilarious and all kinds of awesome. Here's 1 of 38 slides he created and embedded in a...

4 days agoΒ β€’Β 8 min read

Me: feeling like a fundraising adventurer. This is the 123rd Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends. (Your fundraising friends can subscribe here for free.) In this issue: βœ… "Maybe Italian" β€” anatomy of a fundraising writing "gem" βœ… VIDEO: 'Win It in a Minute': How often is a new case statement necessary? βœ… Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you Wednesday, February 21, 2024 Hi Reader, Remember being a kid and seeing a movie that blows...

11 days agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read

Winjoy's happy face. This is the 121st Fundraising Writing Newsletter. If you find value here, please tell your fundraising friends. (Your fundraising friends can subscribe here for free.) In this issue: βœ… Find places for happy faces βœ… VIDEO: 'Win It in a Minute': Upgrading Your "Soft Donors" βœ… Randomly yours: to inspire and recharge you Wednesday, February 7, 2024 Hi Reader, The other day, Brett and I had some plumbing work done. In the process I noticed this one little detail I don't always...

25 days agoΒ β€’Β 4 min read
Share this post