Women are motivated to give based on personal experiences and the realization that giving to women is a powerful way to effect large-scale change in society
New research released today from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute shows for the first time that women are motivated to give to women’s and girls’ causes based on personal experiences, whether positive experiences such as the birth of a child or participation in a job training program for women, or negative, such as discrimination, as well as the belief that giving to women is a powerful way to effect large-scale societal change. The report, Giving to Women and Girls: Who gives, and why, sheds light on the growing visibility of women’s and girls’ causes and is the first to explore the methods and motivations of donors to women’s and girls’ issues, including important findings for funders, advocates, fundraisers, and wealth managers.
“As more and more people make the connection between giving to women and societal change, we can see that giving to women and girls is not just a temporary trend but is here to stay,” said Debra Mesch, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute and the Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair in Women’s Philanthropy at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “Understanding the demographics and motivations of those who are giving to women’s and girls’ causes is increasingly important if we are to improve the lives of women and girls, and their families and communities.”
In order to understand who gives to women’s and girls’ causes and what motivates them to give, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute conducted a groundbreaking study that specifically focused on giving to women and girls in the United States using surveys of a nationally representative sample and focus groups. The report found common threads linking the motivations of donors in the women’s and girls’ space — as well as a set of factors that would prompt people who don’t currently give to women’s and girls’ causes to support them.
Some key findings from the report include:
- Many donors to women’s funds and causes reported supporting these causes based on their personal experiences. Donors identified experiences of discrimination, the birth or raising of a child, or a family member or the donor herself experiencing a health issue as examples of experiences motivating them to give.
- Both men and women give to women’s and girls’ causes. Of the survey respondents who donate to charity, 50% of women and 40% of men said they give to women’s and girls’ causes.
- Many women donors are motivated to give to women’s and girls’ causes based on their desire for gender equality in society.
- Women are changing philanthropy. Through the increase in their wealth and their rise into leadership roles, we see that women are influencing the direction that money is moving and even the platforms by which people give.
“WPI’s research has consistently shown that women are more likely to donate to charity in general than men and that when they give, they give more of their income, all things being equal. Yet there is limited academic research into the motivations and trends for giving to women’s and girls’ causes specifically, despite the momentum in giving to these causes,” said Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean of the school.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute aims to fill this knowledge gap and offer academic expertise on how and why women give. The WPI’s latest research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, adds empirical evidence to the conversation on gender differences in philanthropy. A series of three reports--Giving to Women and Girls, released today; Do Women Give More?; and Where Do Men and Women Give?; along with a comprehensive literature review, illuminate the role that gender plays in philanthropy and offer important insights for fundraisers and the philanthropic community on how and why women give differently than men.
Taken together, these reports offer the first comprehensive look at how women have developed distinct habits and platforms for giving. The reports find, for example, that women spread their dollars across a larger number of organizations than men; that women remain generous as they age and are reliable donors over time; and they are collaborative in their giving, with many turning to giving circles for community and knowledge sharing. As women continue to gain wealth, education, and political power, the distinct ways women give--and the ways they are transforming how all donors give--become increasingly important to donors and charities alike.
For more information on the reports or to speak with an expert from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, contact: Adriene L. Davis Kalugyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-278-8972.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy exists to increase understanding of women’s philanthropy through rigorous research and education—interpreting and sharing our insights broadly to improve philanthropy. The WPI helps you better understand the powerful role of women as leaders in 21st century philanthropy, and how to leverage that power for the common good. Learn more. Follow us on Twitter @WPIinsights and “Like” us on Facebook.
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 in the world. 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.