RISE OF THE FEMALE PHILANTHROPIST — IGNORE HER AT YOUR PERIL

 
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RISE OF THE FEMALE PHILANTHROPIST — IGNORE HER AT YOUR PERIL

Andrea McManus, ViTreo Group Inc
November 13th 2018

 

There’s no shortage of evidence, both anecdotal and research-based, showing women have always been actively involved in philanthropy as volunteers (donating their time and efforts) and also as nonprofit leaders (EDs, CEOs, fundraisers). They have also impacted philanthropy through their financial donations, although typically to a lesser degree than men. I’m happy to say more recent research indicates a new movement brewing — and nonprofit organizations and fundraisers should be paying attention to it.

 
  Source:    2013 What Canadian Donors Want Report
 
 
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Although women in all parts of the world still have a long way to go in terms of equality  economically and socially, and in gender roles (not so happy to say this!) — significant evidence shows a major shift in the area of female wealth and influence as it relates to philanthropy. According to global grantmaking organization, CAF America, “one of the areas where women take the crown is philanthropy. Women’s impact in philanthropy is staggering and their donations are largely targeted at helping other women, in their own communities and internationally.” CAF also states, “women give 3.5% of their wealth compared to men at 1.8% (almost double).

 

ELEVATED INFLUENCE

As the ability of women to have influence improves through their own efforts at achieving equality in the workforce and salary parity, and in combination with wealth transfer from parents, spouses and partners, they have the ability to become even further involved in philanthropic efforts. In March 2018, The Economist reported “between 2010 and 2015 private wealth held by women grew from $34trn to $51trn. Women’s wealth also rose as a share of all private wealth, though less spectacularly, from 28% to 30%. By 2020 they are expected to hold $72trn, 32% of the total. And most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women.”

From anyone’s perspective, that’s a lot of money. And an opportunity for those women who are philanthropically inclined to wield great influence and create social change on many levels.

 
 

From the TD Report: Time, Treasure and Talent: Canadian Women and Philanthropy

‘Women and Wealth In the 2013 Household Balance Sheet Report, Investor Economics suggested that Canadian women control approximately one-third of total household wealth in Canada. In terms of total assets, this would represent approximately $3.2 trillion and, in terms of financial assets alone, approximately $1.1 trillion. By 2020, the level of financial wealth controlled by women will likely reach $3trillion. Part of that wealth will be channelled to Canadian women as the result of intra-household and intergenerational transfers of wealth. As a result of the demographic bulge caused by the post-Second World War baby boom, coupled with the societal tendency for women to marry men a few years older than themselves and to subsequently outlive their husbands by four years or more, women will be placed in positions of influence concerning both significant gifts and in legacy planning.’

Source: TD Bank Women and Philanthropy

IS THAT THE SOUND OF ANOTHER SACRED COW HITTING THE GROUND?

Even though women have always been central to the success of nonprofits through their volunteerism and participation along with their donations, most efforts by fundraisers have been tailored towards men. And that’s made sense in some ways up until now — historically, men have been the CEOs and board members of fundraising targets; they earned higher incomes and they often controlled personal bank accounts along with investment and donation decisions at home.

That’s no longer true, or true as often, and our fundraising strategies should reflect this, or the nonprofits we serve will miss out on an enormous opportunity, as will those people and causes who could benefit from the rise of the female philanthropist.  

IGNORE THE EMERGING FEMALE PHILANTHROPIST AT YOUR PERIL

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy has found consistently that women and men give differently. One study showed baby-boomer and older women gave 89% more to charity than men their age, and women in the top 25% of permanent income gave 156% more than men in that same category.

A press release by the University of Zurich states: ‘ Behavioral Experiments show that women are more generous than men. Now, researchers at the UZH have been able to demonstrate that female and male brains process prosocial and selfish behavior differently. For women, prosocial behavior triggers a stronger reward signal, while male reward systems respond more strongly to selfish behavior.’

In a time when nonprofits and fundraisers are struggling, when there is increased competition for dollars and time, legislative changes and more to challenge our work, understanding how men and women may vary in their giving behaviour is a great opportunity and one nonprofits and their fundraisers should be incorporating into their strategy. Have you noticed differences in how male and female donors give and in the causes they choose to support?

 
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PREPARATION MEETS OPPORTUNITY

As the face of philanthropy changes and women have control over a significant portion of wealth, we will need to change who we approach and how in our fundraising efforts. Has your nonprofit organization considered this in its upcoming fundraising plans? How are you going to tailor your fundraising appeals to attract more female philanthropists? Do women donors see themselves in your materials, on your boards, in your management? Donors need to feel that women are included and welcome in your organization. 

In the coming weeks, to help fundraisers understand why and how strategy needs to change, The Provocateur will look at areas in which women and men may differ in their giving behaviour and why, and to what types of causes and organizations female philanthropists give their money, and why.

 

Thursday, November 15, 2018, is National Philanthropy Day — thank you from the ViTreo Group to all who contribute their time, talents, and financial support nonprofit organizations.


Check out ViTreo's Braintrust as we bring you additional insights into what is and what will be important in philanthropy through our Weekly News Recap and our Podcast.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrea McManus, Chair, Board of Directors, Partner
ViTreo Group Inc

Andrea McManus is a Partner with ViTreo with over 30 years’ experience in fund development, marketing, sponsorship and nonprofit management. A highly strategic thinker and change maker, Andrea has worked with organizations that span the nonprofit sector with particular focus on building long-term and sustainable capacity. 

Andrea McManusComment