It's Not Just True in Car Sales

The Women Give 2012 report from the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.  The results were published about 10 days ago.  In my opinion, this is required reading for every Fund Development professional. 

  • The study surveyed 1,109 male and female single-headed households in 2003, 2005 and 2007
  • Respondents were born in 1964 or earlier
  • Either single, divorced or widows or widowers
  • 8 different giving levels from 0 to 3 percent and above
  • Survey accounts for a longer life expectancy for women when figuring their permanent income levels

Here’s what jumped out:  The bottom line more women make the giving decisions. 

  • Boomer and older women give 89 percent more of their total income to charity than their male counterparts when education, income, race, number of children and other factors affecting giving are equal

Why?  According to Debra J. Mesch, institute director, “it has to do with women being socialized to be the caregivers of their families and communities,” says Mesch.   Women and men have different motivations for giving. In previous institute studies, she said, “women score much higher on traits such as empathy and caring, which affect giving to charity.” 

Well said Ms. Mesch.  As a woman and having been in the “field of giving” most of my career/life, my experience is that more women make the giving decisions.  Giving is emotive and women are more emotionally connected and their philanthropy is generally grounded in the organization’s mission.  Women view their gifts as part of a “relationship with a nonprofit”.   Women define themselves differently than men and we tend to focus more on how we can make the world a better place.  Not that men don’t think about that but, it is most likely lower on their list –giving tends to be more of a transaction. 

A factor for serious consideration is economical.  For the most part, women in this age cohort have been in the workforce full force.  I am a boomer.  We earn our own money, we have more resources and we are empowered to make philanthropic decisions.  Giving back is much more on our radar and we set the tone for giving back for the family. 

My advice to non-profits out there – start querying your database and cultivate the women... you will be glad you did! 

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