Research | All in for Women & Girls: How women’s fund and foundation donors are leading through philanthropy

publication date: Jul 31, 2019
 | 
author/source: Project leaders Elizabeth J. Dale, PhD and Betsy Watkins, MPNL

All In for Women & Girls explores the characteristics of women’s fund and foundation donors—the vast majority of whom are women—and finds that these donors stand out in a number of ways. Key findings of this research show that -

Women’s fund and foundation donors…

1. …have different demographic characteristics. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors are more likely to be women and LGBTQ individuals, and less likely to be retired or religious.

2. …have more experience giving to women’s and girls’ causes. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors have given to women’s and girls’ causes for a longer period of time.

3. …see themselves, and philanthropy, differently. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors are more likely to consider themselves philanthropic experts, philanthropic leaders, and activist donors; they are also more likely to participate in philanthropic leadership activities and to associate the term “philanthropist” with positive attributes.

4. …are motivated to give differently. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors are more motivated to give by being on the board or volunteering for an organization, giving back to the community, and believing their gift can make a difference.

5. …give bigger, broader, and with different tools. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors give higher amounts to charity, and to more charitable organizations; they also use different tools and strategies for giving, such as giving circles and wills with a charitable provision.

6. …are more satisfed and more focused on evaluating their giving. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors: are more satisfied with their giving to women and girls; evaluate their giving based on direct contact with organizations; and take key steps to give more effectively, such as serving on a nonproft board, or talking with other donors.

7. …are dedicated to giving to women and girls—now and in the future. Compared to general donors, women’s fund and foundation donors are more likely to be giving at capacity to women and girls, and are more likely to increase their giving to those causes if they were to have more resources. However, most general donors also plan to maintain or increase their giving to these causes.

As gender equity continues to grow as a social and philanthropic priority, donors to women’s funds and foundations exemplify how to have an outsized effect on the causes you care about.

To download a full copy of the report, click here.

This work was written and researched by Women’s Philanthropy Institute and Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Project leaders were Elizabeth J. Dale, PhD, who is Assistant Professor, Nonprofit Leadership at Seattle University and Betsy Watkins, MPNL, who is is a Graduate Assistant at Seattle University.



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