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Engaging The “SQUIRREL!” Generation

Engaging the “SQUIRREL!” Generation

For the first time ever, we’re faced with having to effectively market our programs to four different generations. On one end, we have the Baby Boomers who have been our loyal base for 40+ years and contribute the vast majority of the donations to our fundraising arm. Then we have Gen X, Millennials and finally, the “Squirrel!” generation… Gen Z. That’s right, studies show that while we had a mere 12 seconds of attention span from Millenials, that window has closed even more now as we’re left with eight seconds with today’s crop of students.

We all know that today’s students are tomorrow’s season ticket holders. How can we build loyalty now with a generation that is as easily distracted as “Dug” from the movie UP?

1. Meet them where they live – their devices. Things like sandwich boards on campus won’t be seen by a generation that never looks up from their phones. The valuable time that goes into those is better spent elsewhere.

2. Highlight a Cause. Gen Z cares less about “winning” than any before it. They want to be a part of a cause. Fortunately, athletics has feel-good stories in spades so find them and tell those stories.

3. Make it move. Grab attention with video, motion graphics and gifs. Nothing keeps Gen Z scrolling more than still photos and graphics.

Student engagement is one of the toughest things athletic departments are struggling with right now and Gen Z isn’t making it any easier. Old Hat’s Student180º process can help you dive deep into your student body, discover their likes and dislikes, and help identify the best path toward increasing student attendance at your events. For more information, contact us at or (405) 310-2133.

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