New study confirms that women give more money than men

When you hear the word “philanthropist,” what do you imagine? Probably a person sort of like this:

Isn’t that picture of Bill Gates amazingly silly? In fact, you would be more accurate to imagine a person like this:

Those are some women protesting with the Domestic Workers United. Here’s the deal: The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University has just released a study that concludes that across nearly all income levels women are more likely to give and on average give more than men. Here some of the data breakdown by annual income level:

  • $23,509 or less-women are 28% more likely to give
  • $23,509 – $43,500-women are 32% more likely to give
  • $43,5000 – $67,532-women are 49% more likely to give
  • $67,532 – $103,000-women are 43% more likely to give
  • +$103,000-women are 26% more likely to give

“These findings have the potential to affect both donors and charities significantly,” Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute said. “Women may not realize they are giving more than men because their giving patterns differ. Understanding the power of their giving may encourage more women to consider the difference they can make with their giving. Nonprofits may see this as a reminder to pay closer attention to the philanthropic power of women and the importance of developing fundraising strategies that will appeal to their priorities.”

Of course the obvious question is WHY?! One hugely generalized hypothesis is that women, by virtue of living in a half-changed society with regards to gender discrimination, have a personal connection to oppression. This personal connection may translate into identifying more with the folks that benefit from philanthropy, thus inspiring them to give at proportionately higher levels. Any other guesses as to psychological or structural conditions that create this discrepancy in giving?

Join the Conversation