Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Studies Examine Men Vs. Women In Giving

By The NonProfit Times - September 21, 2015

“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” wasn’t a best-selling book for nothing. Differences in gender abound in a variety of things and charitable giving is no different.

New research by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy delves into how gender differences in income affect where couples give, their different motivations for giving, and who supports causes aimed at women and girls. Findings of the study, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were presented recently during the Women Moving Millions Summit in New York.

“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 different,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., director of research at the Lilly School. “Differences in men’s and women’s income shape not only the couple’s overall giving but also what causes they support,” she said.

Income plays a role in a couple’s giving but 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, and/or in giving larger amounts to those causes, according to the study. Combined purposes organizations can include United Way, United Jewish Appeal or Catholic Charities.

When the woman’s income increases, the couple is more likely to give — and give a larger amount — to charities that provide basic human needs, such as the Salvation Army, American Red Cross or a homeless shelter.

“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 Lilly School. “By delving more deeply into the factors that influence charitable giving by couples, this study provides a more thorough understand of gender differences in giving,” he said.

Studies also found that 45 percent of all donors surveyed give specifically to causes that support women and girls. Half of women donors and some 40 percent of men donors give to causes that support women and girls.

Among high net-worth (HNW) households, gender differences appeared in lower priority motivations for giving but men and shared the same top motivations for giving. Women are more likely to say that they give because of political or philosophical beliefs, because they serve on a board or volunteer for an organizations, and give spontaneously in response to a need. HNW households are those with $250,000 or more in income and/or $1 million or more in assets, not including their principal residence.

High net-worth households are much more likely to give to each charitable subsector, and give at much higher levels, than the general population. Among other findings in “Where Do Men and Women Give? Gender differences in the motivations and purposes for charitable giving”:

  • HNW single women are more likely to give, and give to arts and the environment, while HNW single men are more likely to give, and give more to combination organizations, like United Way.
  • HNW female-deciding households are more likely to give to youth and family services and religious causes; male-deciding households are associated with lower likelihood of giving to basic needs organizations, and give lower amounts to these organizations.
  • Single women spread out their giving more so than single men; however, HNW single women and men look very similar in terms of the concentration of their giving.

The effect of age and income on giving by singles also was examined in the white paper, “Do Women Give More? Findings from three unique data sets on charitable giving.”  Consistent with prior research, single women are more likely than single men to give to charity, and also more likely to give higher dollar amounts than single men.

Among the other findings:

  • Women are more likely to give than their male counterparts across generations, although Gen-X tends to be the exception.
  • Divorced/separated, never-married, and widowed women are more likely to give, and give higher amounts than their male counterparts, and among most men overall.
  • As women’s income rises, they become more likely to give to charity than their male counterparts; they also give, and give more to secular causes than their male counterparts for the top 60 percent of income earners.
  • Millennial, Boomer and older (Silent/Great generation) women are more likely to give in general and also to secular causes than their male counterparts.
  • In a new finding, HNW single women and single men do not significantly differ in their incidence or amount of giving, either in total giving, or in giving to religious or secular causes.

The new study’s results build on previous research by the Women’s Philanthropic Institute, which found that:

  • Single women are more likely to give to charity and give more than single 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 few exceptions, such as sports and adult recreation.

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

Follow Us On Twitter

NPT 2016 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page