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Gender Differences in Charitable Giving 2009

July 16, 200916 July 2009

Volunteers, donors and non-profit resources

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Based on an online survey of 1,003 American men and women who donated at least $1,000 to charitable organizations in 2007, this report finds that women play a strong role in charitable donation decisions. In particular, “more women than men act as primary or sole decision-maker when it comes to deciding how much to donate to charity (46% vs. 41%) and which charities to support (46% vs. 38%)”.

The report also finds that women tend to seek the input of a broader range of individuals when making charitable donation decisions. Women are somewhat less likely than men to indicate that their spouse had a role in their decisions but are more likely than men to indicate that children, faith officials, family, friends and co-workers had a role. Women are also more likely than men to indicate that it is important to them that their children continue a tradition of charitable giving.

The report segments donors into four groups. The “pioneering givers” group is probably of greatest interest to cultural organizations. While only a small percentage of donors (4%), pioneering givers are “more likely to contribute to organizations that are less well-known” or to support new causes. They are the most likely segment to donate to arts and cultural organizations. Women form the majority (54%) of this group, which is also the youngest and most generous donor segment. Donors in this segment are the most likely ones to use credit cards, to donate securities and to seek the guidance of a financial professional for their charitable giving. They tend to consider themselves “philanthropists, patrons or benefactors”. The other donor segments are “mainstream contributors”, “empathetic givers” and “reactive contributors”.

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