Women More Likely to Give to Most Types of Charities, New Women's Philanthropy Institute Study Finds

Dec 08, 2010, 13:00 ET from Women's Philanthropy Institute

TED Women conference presentation reveals biggest gender differences are in support for international, community, religious, health, youth and family causes

INDIANAPOLIS, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Women are significantly more likely than men to give to almost every type of charitable cause and are equally likely to support the rest, after controlling for education, income, and other factors that influence giving, new research from the Women's Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University finds.

In Causes Women Support, WPI Director Debra Mesch examined whether there are differences between male and female single-headed households across 11 types of charitable causes. The study found that women's likelihood of giving exceeded that for men in eight of the 11 causes: religious institutions; organizations that help the needy; combined purposes (such as United Way, United Jewish Appeal, Catholic Charities or community foundations); health care and medical research; education; youth & family; community; and international organizations.

Women were as likely as men to give to arts and cultural organizations, environmental nonprofits and "other." Percentages of men and women who are likely to give to each type of organization are available in the new report.

"Clearly, gender matters in philanthropy," Mesch said. "Women and men are both engaged, but their giving priorities are different. Additional research will help us better understand why women are more likely to give to certain types of organizations."

Unveiled today at the TED Women 2010 conference by Lisa Witter, a member of the WPI Council, chief strategy officer for Fenton Communications, and co-author of The She Spot: Why Women are the Market for Changing the World and How to Reach Them, the new findings are the second part of the Women Give 2010 report.

"This new research affirms for individual women donors that they are part of a larger community of female philanthropists who share their passion and their desire to strengthen their hometowns and the world," Witter said.

Women Give 2010 compares philanthropic giving between men and women based on a nationally representative sample. It uses data from the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS), the nation's largest study that tracks giving patterns among the same households over time. Previous studies of gender and philanthropy have relied on data related to giving by households and married couples, making the effects of gender on giving difficult to identify. Women Give 2010 analyzed only giving by households headed by single people (never married, separated/divorced, widowed) in order to examine gender differences. Researchers controlled for factors that affect philanthropic behavior such as income, age, race, education, number of children, and more to allow direct comparisons between men and women.

The study also looked at the areas of greatest difference in likelihood of giving by gender. Women are more than 50 percent more likely to support international and community causes, although less than 6 percent of both men and women support these causes. In descending order, females are 55 percent more likely than males to give to international causes; 51 percent more likely to give to community; 42 percent more likely to give to religious institutions; 38 percent more likely to give to health care; 32 percent more likely to give to youth & family; 31 percent more likely to give to education; 18 percent more likely to help people in need; and 14 percent more likely to give for combined purposes.

The first Women Give 2010 report, released in October, reported differences in giving to charity between male and female single-headed households across income levels. Findings in that report revealed that (1) in every income group from the lowest ($23,509 or less) to the highest (more than $103,000), female-headed households were more likely to give to charity than male-headed households; (2) in every income group except for one, women gave more than men (almost twice as much); (3) when comparing females to males by singles' marital status, women were more likely to give and give more than men—except for widowers who gave more than widows.

Both reports are available at: http://www.philanthropy.iupui.edu/womengive/

About the Women's Philanthropy Institute

The Women's Philanthropy Institute furthers the understanding of women's philanthropy through research, education, and knowledge dissemination. By addressing significant and groundbreaking research questions and translating that research into increased understanding and improvements in practice, WPI helps to leverage new and expanded resources for the common good.

About the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide through research, teaching, training and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising, and management of nonprofit organizations. A part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the Center operates programs on the IUPUI and IU Bloomington campuses. For more information, visit www.philanthropy.iupui.edu.

SOURCE Women's Philanthropy Institute