Diversity & Inclusion

Bridging the Gap: How Associations Can Engage with Generation Z

By Najla Brown • November 22, 2023

The landscape of association membership is changing rapidly as Generation Z comes of age. Born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, Gen Z represents the next wave of professionals, activists, and enthusiasts eager to connect with like-minded individuals through associations. However, engaging with Gen Z requires a nuanced approach that understands their unique characteristics and preferences. In this article, we’ll explore strategies for associations to effectively engage with Generation Z. 

Understand Gen Z’s Digital Natives 

Generation Z is often referred to as “digital natives” because they grew up with technology at their fingertips. To engage with them successfully, associations must embrace a variety of digital platforms and communication channels. Here are some key strategies: 

  1. Leverage Social Media: Gen Z spends a significant amount of time on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. Associations should maintain active and engaging social media profiles to connect with this demographic. Share relevant content, host live Q&A sessions, and participate in trending discussions to increase visibility. 
  2. Interactive Content: Gen Z craves interactive and visually appealing content. Consider creating short, engaging videos, infographics, polls, and quizzes to convey information and spark discussions. These formats are more likely to capture their attention and encourage participation. 
  3. User-Generated Content: Encourage Gen Z members to contribute their own content, whether it’s blog posts, videos, or testimonials. User-generated content fosters a sense of ownership and community within the association. 

Embrace Diversity and Inclusivity 

Gen Z is known for its strong emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. Associations should take active steps to create welcoming environments and advocate for social justice. Here’s how: 

  1. Diverse Representation: Ensure that your association’s leadership, events, and content reflect diversity in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and backgrounds. Gen Z values authentic representation. 
  2. Advocacy and Activism: Support causes and initiatives that align with Gen Z’s values, such as sustainability, social justice, and equality. Engaging in meaningful activism can inspire Gen Z members to become more involved. 
  3. Safe Spaces: Create digital and physical spaces where members can openly discuss sensitive topics and share their experiences. Foster an atmosphere of respect and empathy. 

Offer Personalized Experiences 

Gen Z values personalized experiences. Associations can engage with them effectively by tailoring their offerings. Consider the following: 

  1. Customized Learning Paths: Provide personalized learning tracks or content recommendations based on members’ interests, skills, and goals. This helps Gen Z members feel that their specific needs are being addressed. 
  2. Mentorship Programs: Establish mentorship programs that connect Gen Z members with experienced professionals in their field. This can provide valuable guidance and networking opportunities. 
  3. Feedback Loops: Actively seek feedback from Gen Z members on their experiences with the association. Use their input to continuously improve and adapt your offerings. 

Foster Community and Connection 

Gen Z places a high value on community and connection. Associations can facilitate this by: 

  1. Virtual Events: Host webinars, virtual conferences, and online networking events to accommodate Gen Z’s preference for digital interactions. 
  2. Online Forums: Create online discussion forums or social media groups where Gen Z members can engage in discussions, share experiences, and ask questions. 
  3. Collaborative Projects: Encourage Gen Z members to collaborate on projects or initiatives within the association. Provide opportunities for them to take on leadership roles. 


Associations can successfully engage with Generation Z by adapting to their digital-first mindset, embracing diversity and inclusivity, offering personalized experiences, and fostering a sense of community. By understanding and addressing the unique needs and values of Gen Z, associations can create meaningful connections that benefit both the organization and its members. 

About The Author

Najla Brown is a senior corporate marketing specialist at Naylor Association Solutions. Reach her at [email protected].