Female Donors Embracing Tech Giving Platforms

Women’s and girls’ causes receive substantially more online support from female donors. And, women are giving more gifts and a greater proportion of total donated dollars on technology platforms. Those are the three overarching themes emanating from a new report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.

Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Women Give 2020 – New Forms of Giving in a Digital Age: Powered by Technology, Creating Community” offers new research focused on how women give more than men even as technology disrupts philanthropy. The research shows broad gender differences in how women and men use the Internet and social networks, and how they give online.

“For years, our research has shown that women give more than men. Now, we know the pattern continues via technology, enabling women of all backgrounds to connect and build powerful, trusted online communities that support broader causes as well,” Jeannie Sager, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, said in a press release announcing the report.

Women Give 2020 uses data and interviews from four partner organizations — GivingTuesday via Charity Navigator, GlobalGiving, Givelify, and Growfund via Global Impact — to develop case studies based on more than 3.7 million gift transactions. Three overall themes emerged across all four platforms:

  • Women give more gifts than men, and contribute a greater proportion of dollars than men. Across all four case studies, women give greater numbers of gifts than men, almost two-thirds of gifts, across platforms. Average gift size is relatively equal but women’s greater number of donations means they’re giving more dollars through each platform studied, about 53 percent to 61 percent of dollars, depending on the case study. Though in some cases, men’s gifts are a little larger.
  • Women give smaller gifts than men and give to smaller organizations than men, in three of the four case studies. Men’s gifts are likely to go to large organizations.
  • Women’s and girls’ organizations receive substantially more support from women donors than from men donors. Depending on the case study, women gave between 60 to 70 percent of dollars to women’s and girls’ organizations.

There were three other findings in the report that were specific to one or two individual data sets but not representative of results across all four platforms:

  • A broader definition of philanthropy can help a movement spread globally and engage a diverse set of donors, appealing to women in particular. A case study on #GivingTuesday shows that expanding the definition of philanthropy to include more than giving money — giving time, skills or testimony — can help a movement spread globally, in particular to a more diverse group of women donors.
  • Technology enables donors to give in the way that they would like and to discover organizations that align with their values and interests. GlobalGiving, an online platform for giving to grassroots nonprofits, provides a case study of how to curate these choices for donors.
  • Giving increasingly might be taking place online but case studies from Givelify and Growfund show that in-person community remains essential for engagement in philanthropy. Givelify is an app for giving to religious congregations and Growfund is a donor-advised fund (DAF) for individuals and giving circles that does not require a minimum donation.

Women Give 2020 is the newest in a series of signature research reports conducted annually by WPI. It builds upon a body of research that shows the many ways in which gender matters in philanthropy. Across the platforms studied, women collectively give more using digital tools compared to their male counterparts. The findings suggest a critical opportunity for entrepreneurs, fundraisers and the broader philanthropic community to design online experiences that cultivate a broader definition of philanthropy and better serve a diverse group of donors, particularly women.

To accompany the report, WPI released a video to encourage everyone to consider how they can use the platforms they are on every day, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or others, to support the causes they care about. Everyone is encouraged to join the #ITechForGood conversation on social media.