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Financial Planning > Charitable Giving

Women Drive Philanthropy in the US

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Women play a big role in charitable giving, a new report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute shows.

Researchers analyzed charitable giving records for the 20 months between October 2015 and August 2017, and found that while women represented 51% of overall donations made during that period, they contributed 63% of the total number of donations on Giving Tuesday 2016 and 61% of the total donated.

The research showed that women and men gave about the same amount of money, on average, on this designated giving day (the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the U.S.), and tended to give to similar organizations.

The study was funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to the report, the amount of money raised each year since 2012 when the 92nd Street Y in New York launched Giving Tuesday has skyrocketed from $13.5 million to $177 million in 2016, and the number of donations over that period has risen from 100,000 to 1.6 million.

This year’s giving day raised a record $274 million, according to the report, a 55% increase over the amount raised in 2016.

This suggested participation in Giving Tuesday would continue to grow, the report said, highlighting the importance for fundraisers of understanding gender differences in giving habits and using new tactics to maximize giving on this day and beyond.

Women Donors

Why are women likelier to give on Giving Tuesday?

For one thing, women were asked more often. The report extrapolates that increased asks lead to a higher rate of giving.

In addition, women are likelier to use social media, which are designed to build connections and maintain relationships. The report said social media fundraising campaigns proliferate person-to-person appeals for donations, so people with extensive online networks are likelier to be solicited for donations of money or time.

Women also participate more in collaborative giving and distribute their giving more broadly, the institute’s previous research has shown. Estimates suggest that friends asking their peers to donate increases the likelihood of giving by 10 times more than other solicitation methods, and online fundraising tools can raise six times more than offline tools.

Women tend to use their cellphones more. The report cited a survey of college students that found women spent more time on their phones than men, and tended to use their cellphones as a social and communicative tool when accessing the internet.

Another study showed that mobile-responsive donation sites yielded 34% more donations than those incompatible with mobile devices, and text donors were most likely to be married women between the ages of 49 and 59 who have college degrees.

Finally, women volunteer more than men, and volunteers are the most likely individuals to give, according to the report. This may be because these individuals are already engaged and have already invested time into the organization, it said.

“This study provides further proof that women are driving charitable giving in the U.S.,” Debra Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, said in a statement. “We know now that men and women use technology differently to give to the causes that matter to them.

“As more nonprofits are using digital means to interact with donors, they should consider these gender differences in their fundraising strategies.”


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