How gender differences in income affect where couples give, women's and men’s differing motivations for giving, and who supports causes aimed at helping women and girls are among the issues addressed in new research being released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Findings from the study, which is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be presented at the Women Moving Millions Summit in New York today.
“Women and men both bring their own preferences, priorities and financial resources to a household, and they both influence the couple’s charitable giving, but they affect it differently,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research for the school. “For example, differences in men’s and women’s income shape not only the couple’s overall giving but also what causes they support.”
While both men’s and women’s income play important roles in a couple’s giving, an increase in the man’s income tends to result in a greater likelihood of the couple giving to religious, youth, international and combined purposes organizations (such as United Way, United Jewish Appeal or Catholic Charities), and/or in giving larger amounts to those causes, the study found. When the woman’s income increases, the couple is more likely to give—and to give a larger amount—to charities providing for basic human needs, such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, or a shelter for the homeless.
“Much of the previous research has looked at household giving by couples as a single unit,” said Amir Pasic, Ph.D., Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school. “By delving more deeply into the factors that influence charitable giving by couples, this study provides a more thorough understanding of gender differences in giving.”
The study also found that nearly half (45 percent) of all donors surveyed give specifically to causes that support women and girls. When researchers looked at giving by gender, they found that half of women donors and two out of five men donors give to these causes.
In high net worth households (those with $250,000 or more in income and/or $1 million or more in assets not including their principal residence), men and women shared the same top motivations for giving. Gender differences appeared in lower priority motivations. Women are more likely than men to say that they give because of their political or philosophical beliefs; give because they are on the board or volunteer for an organization; and give spontaneously in response to a need.
“The new research will help fundraisers better understand donors’ interests, what motivates them to give, and which donors support what causes,” said Debra Mesch, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute and Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair in Women’s Philanthropy at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Our study also will provide donors with a deeper understanding about how income and other factors affect households’ giving across charitable causes.”
The new study’s results build on and provide a closer look at previous research by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, which has found that:
- Single women are more likely to give to charity and give more than similarly-situated men.
- Women tend to spread their giving across more organizations, while men concentrate their giving.
- Women are more likely to give to almost every charitable subsector, with a few exceptions such as sports and adult recreation.
About the Women’s Philanthropy Institute
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. WPI increases understanding of gender philanthropy through rigorous research and education, interpreting and sharing these insights broadly to improve philanthropy. Learn more. Follow us on Twitter @WPIinsights and “Like” us on Facebook.
About the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its academic, research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter @IUPhilanthropy and “Like” us on Facebook.