Studies Examine Men Vs. Women In Giving

September 21, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

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“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.