In a world where individualism often takes the front seat, the art of giving — whether it be by volunteering, performing random acts of kindness, or simply sharing quality time — remains a foundation of community and generosity. This is especially true for Generation Z, a generation uniquely positioned to redefine what generosity means in today's world.
Generation Z, those born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, are digital natives who have grown up in a hyper-connected world. Known for their diversity, digital savviness, and strong social consciousness, they are not just future leaders but present-day changemakers. Their inclination towards authenticity and social justice positions them perfectly to champion the cause of giving. Being a beacon of “We” not just “Me.”
Giving is not just about the act itself; it's about the impact it creates — both externally in the community and internally within oneself.
For Gen Z, who seek purpose and connection, engaging in acts of kindness and volunteering can be incredibly fulfilling. It nurtures empathy, builds strong communities, and leads to personal growth — all aligning perfectly with the values of this emerging generation.
But how do we inspire Gen Z to give?
The key lies in giving them the opportunities. Sometimes we may see this generation be more in tune with attaching to digital volunteering opportunities, social media-driven charity campaigns, and community projects that require a blend of online and offline engagement.
As leaders of this generation, we can guide them to these outlets.
We can also create awareness around encouraging small, everyday acts of kindness — like complimenting someone, helping a neighbor, or taking time to have a conversation with a grandparent. We do this by modeling this behavior ourselves and holding conversations with them about the effects of small acts of giving and kindness. How did this make them feel? What were the results?
A real-life example of this happened in my youth leadership class of middle schoolers when they sat down to write a handwritten thank you card and mailed it to someone who had impacted their life.
The first lesson learned was how to write a genuine card with a greeting, a specific thank you, and a forward statement.
The second lesson was actually learning how to address an envelope!
The third lesson, which was the most impactful, was the reaction they got from the person they sent the letter too. They were surprised how much that small act of taking time to send a heartfelt letter made the recipient feel. The opportunity to write thank you cards may have ignited a lifelong habit of giving.
From organizing neighborhood clean-ups to starting online fundraisers for global causes, countless Gen Z individuals are already making waves in their communities. Their actions, big and small, are testaments to the power of youthful generosity.
As we step up to lead the next generation, let's encourage Generation Z to embrace the joy and responsibility of giving. It's not just about the help they provide; it's about the world they are shaping — a world that is kinder, more empathetic, and connected.