Volunteer management

Why you’re struggling to recruit Gen-Z volunteers

How can you adapt your volunteer programme to the needs of Gen-Z?

Gen-Z represents the future of volunteer programs, whether you’re currently accommodating them or not.

It has become increasingly clear to charities and non-profit organisations that adjustments need to be made to their volunteering programs to ensure long-term sustainability. Therefore, focusing on engaging Gen-Z volunteers is crucial for the success and growth of volunteer efforts in the coming years.

Rosterfy is a leading Volunteer Management Software platform used by prominent UK charities such as the British Heart Foundation, Crisis, and Child Bereavement UK. Over 3 million volunteers are managed through our platform annually.

This positions Rosterfy uniquely to understand the motivations behind volunteering and the expectations of Gen-Z towards your program. In this article, we will delve into the insights gathered from young volunteers and the organisations or event teams we support.

What does Gen-Z expect from your volunteer program?

To understand Gen-Z’s expectations from the volunteering experience, it’s important to recognise their dedication to social change and community betterment.

With 85% of volunteers also contributing financially to the causes they support, and 75% of Gen-Z planning to donate in the next 3 months, the potential impact of this demographic is truly inspiring.

However, they do come with their own particular demands and if not considered then you’ll lose them to the next organisation that can deliver on these:


  • Do express how their career prospects could benefit from volunteering
  • Do show your desire to make a difference to communities
  • Do explain there could be flexibility in the hours or shifts on offer


  • Don’t try a one-size-fits-all approach to communication and marketing of your program
  • Don’t expect Gen-Z to use outdated systems when booking shifts
  • Don’t ignore their needs for volunteering to fit around their schedule

This generation thrives on instant access, seeking information at their fingertips. They value flexibility from the volunteer programs they support, especially when it comes to the hours available. With numerous distractions vying for their attention, it’s essential that your message is crystal clear.

What motivates Gen-Z to support your volunteer program?

When surveyed by Rosterfy, Gen-Z volunteers revealed that 48% are motivated to volunteer if it could enhance their career or employment opportunities, while 28% expressed a desire to be part of a community.

This generation is driven by the desire to create a brighter future for themselves. Whether it’s the career opportunities that volunteering can unlock or the edge it provides in a competitive job market, they understand the value of gaining valuable skills. From communication to people management and project coordination, these soft skills can truly set them apart in their next interview. How often do you emphasise these benefits to your volunteers?

Why your ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach isn’t working.

Martin O’Neill, the Global Head of Marketing at Rosterfy, highlights the need to move away from a generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to volunteer recruitment messaging within Charities and Nonprofits.

“Charities can gain valuable insights from the strategic approach adopted by high-performance marketing teams in the corporate sector. Often constrained by limited resources, volunteer programs frequently miss the mark by focusing solely on the cause’s mission rather than understanding each demographic’s unique motivations for volunteering,” Martin emphasises.

Martin identifies access to demographic data across organisations as a critical barrier hindering volunteer programs. He notes that leveraging volunteer data can be a game-changer for Rosterfy customers, allowing them to tailor communications by segmenting applications based on various data points collected in sign-up forms. This personalised approach enables organisations to connect with volunteers on a deeper level and enhance their overall engagement experience.

“For organisations seeking to attract more Gen-Z volunteers, my advice would be to leverage channels that resonate with this audience. While platforms like TikTok and Instagram can be effective, authenticity is key. Gen-Z can easily spot when some isn’t being authentic, so it’s crucial to showcase real people and stories from your community to ensure your messages are genuine and engaging,” advises Martin.

6 tips for engaging with Gen-Z volunteers

Rosterfy has gathered insights and advice from some of the UK’s leading charities to pull together what they believe is the Definitive Guide to Successful Volunteer Recruitment which you can download.

Here are six tips from that white paper to help you recruitment more Gen-Z volunteers:

  1. Don’t underestimate their willingness to make a change in the world
  2. Gen-Z wants to know if your beliefs align with theirs so be clear with your mission
  3. Focus on employment opportunities or mental health advantages of volunteering
  4. Promote diversity and inclusion within your program
  5. Be flexible with the expected hours and shift patterns of your program
  6. Embrace new technology like Rosterfy to create a modern gateway to volunteering

Rosterfy is the sponsor for DSC’s Volunteering in 2024 and Beyond conference coming up on Wednesday 22 May. Find out more here.