Perhaps more than any other generation, Gen-Z is fueled by purpose. Having experienced a global pandemic, economic recessions and major cultural shifts during formative periods in their lives, they see the world differently. They’re passionate about solving societal problems, and they expect the places they work to have similar beliefs. A 2021 Ernst & Young survey shows that almost two-thirds of Gen-Z feel it is "very or extremely important" to work for employers that share their values, as their work life is defined by value, not money.

At Crisis Text Line, Gen-Z makes up a sizable portion of both our volunteer crisis counselors and the people texting us to support them through a crisis. More than half of our volunteers are Gen-Zers, and two-thirds of texters seeking support are age 24 and under. Gen-Zers come to us because mental health is a big focus area for them. Our volunteer model gives them an opportunity to devote their time and energy to a cause they’re passionate about, and we see firsthand that this generation brings immense value to our organization.

Today and into the future, the smartest organizations will take the time to understand what motivates Gen-Z, how they are wired and how they view the world. This is a generation that makes decisions about who they will volunteer with, buy from and work for based on values alignment. Organizations will need to structure themselves in a way that wins over Gen-Zers now and in the long term.

How can we unlock the potential and strengths of Gen-Z? By injecting purpose, mission and value into the foundation of our organizations. Below are my tips for nonprofits and for-profit companies alike to attract, engage with and retain these employees and stakeholders, based on what works for us.

  • Offer opportunities for real skill-building.
  • Create spaces for employees to share their thoughts—and then listen.
  • Communicate impact and results.

Read the full article about engaging Gen-Z by Dena Trujillo at Forbes.