The data is so stark about women’s philanthropic giving that what is most surprising to me is that for most of us, it is new information.
Here’s a snapshot of the power of women’s philanthropic giving today:
• Women born during the baby boom give 156% more than men.
• 40% of women out earn their husbands.
• 70% of women will receive some inherited wealth over the next two decades.
• And, for nearly 90% of high-net-worth households women either make all the decisions or are equal partner in making the decisions about charitable donations.
The numbers make it clear that this is not a squeaker margin of additional generosity. These facts point to a pattern of giving by women that is increasingly established and sustainable.
My work with major donors and mid-level supporters across health and cultural non-profits has taught me that women are particularly generous when the need is local and visible. Perhaps, due to managing their own, or family finances, many women seem acutely aware of the transformative power of more. Women know first hand that a little more is definitely helpful, a lot more can be a game changer, and significantly more can transform the entire operation.
In meritocratic California, I find that successful entrepreneurial women who give big are confident. They’ve made the money once, and don’t seem to fear losing it, or their ability to make it again. So they give generously.
I’ve also seen the power behind the theories in research published this month by the Stanford Social Innovation Review, pointing up that women give when they know stories as well as statistics, and turn the point of giving into community. As I’ve said before, giving is fueled by connections. That means in philanthropic circles the math isn’t all math: stories and relationships always add up to deeper commitment, and bigger gifts.