Study: Generation Gap Persists in Giving By Women

Millennial women are more likely than their Baby-Boomer counterparts to give spontaneously and encourage others to support the organizations that they support, according to a new Fidelity Charitable study. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of Millennial women report that they are often motivated to give in the moment as opposed to strategically, while only 48 percent of Baby Boomers feel the same way.

Slightly more than half of Millennial women (51 percent) encourage others to donate to the same organizations as they do, while just 30 percent of Baby Boomer women do so.

Millennial women are more conflicted with giving’s impact on their personal finances, however, with 63 percent torn between donating money and keeping it for personal needs, while only 40 percent of Baby Boomers are similarly conflicted.

The study, “Women and Giving” is based on responses of 3,254 surveyed donors, including 1,706 women. For the purposes of the survey, Millennials were defined as those born between 1980 and 2000, while Baby Boomers were defined as those who were born between 1946 and 1964. The study identified both similarities and wide differences in giving behaviors among women based on generation.

Millennial women, for instance, or more likely to support a wide variety of causes (55 percent) than Baby Boomers (33 percent), who tend to be more focused on specific causes. Hunger and access to nutritious food was the top focus among both age groups (41 percent of Millennials and 45 percent of Baby Boomers) and 33 percent of each group prioritized access to basic health – second among Millennials and third among Baby Boomers.

Among the largest gaps in interest between the two generations included developing treatments and cures for diseases (42 percent of Baby Boomers versus 28 percent of Millennials) and expanding opportunities for women and girls (21 percent of Millennials and 10 percent of Baby Boomers).

In terms of how they give, Baby Boomers tend to be much more traditional, more likely than Millennials to make financial donations (82 percent to 69 percent) and non-financial gifts such as furniture or clothing (95 percent to 82 percent). Millennials are more likely to give at point-of-sale such as the checkout line (71 percent to 68 percent), participate in workplace fundraisers or matching programs (53 percent to 30 percent), and donate through crowdfunding or other platforms that address individual needs (49 percent to 29 percent).

The study also compared the giving behaviors of women as a whole with men and found that women were more likely to give with their heart as opposed to their head than men (64 percent to 53 percent) and were more likely to give in the moment (51 percent to 40 percent). Men are more likely than women to seek the advice of family members (39 percent to 27 percent) and friends (27 percent to 15 percent) before making a gift. Women rely more on charity-rankers such as GuideStar and Charity Navigator (61 percent to 47 percent).

When asked which aspects of giving they are most confident in, women gravitated moreso than men toward which charities to give to (73 percent to 62 percent) and how much monetary support to give (64 percent to 56 percent). Men were most confident about which assets to contribute to charity (64 percent to 54 percent) and tax strategies and methods to use with giving (52 percent to 40 percent).