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Why Women Give More Gifts Than Men

In the annual report on the intersectionality of gender, technology, and charitable giving, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute set out to understand and document exactly how gender and technology impact charitable giving in Women Give 2020

The result? A clear understanding that women give more, according to a sample of four robust data sets. Each data set was collected over a period of 2-4+ years to review how gender and giving are connected over time. 

Their initial findings concluded that both gender and age influence how a person gives, impacted by the ways men and women use technology for good, including fundraising platforms and apps that enable giving. Let’s explore some of the key findings in this report to further understand why women give more and in what capacity. 

Women Give 2020 asks: How can women and men use technology effectively to support their giving? How can nonprofits and tech platforms engage more donors and keep them connected to causes and organizations?


1. Women give more gifts than men.

Across all four case studies, one truth became clear: gender matters in philanthropy, and women and men give in different ways. Women gave nearly two-thirds of all gifts in total. Not only did women give more gifts than men and contribute a greater proportion of dollars than men, but women gave smaller gifts and gave to smaller charitable organizations than men.

In one Giving Tuesday case study, women made 65% of donations on Giving Tuesday, with slightly smaller gifts compared to men ($104 average vs. $111), contributing 63% of all dollars raised. There was a difference in the sectors women chose to donate to as well, where women gave 73% of the dollars to environmental causes on Giving Tuesday. 

Women did not give as much money as men per donation, but they did give more frequently and to a wider variety of organizations. In 2018, 64% of all online donations came from women

Technology plays a huge role in this, and it’s never been a more vital tool in the 2020 landscape. Researchers discovered that women and men interact with technology in different ways and that impacted how they raised and donated funds. Women are more likely to use social media to interact with friends, and have a higher likelihood to motivate their networks for support beyond charitable donations, like volunteering and advocacy. 

Across most of the case studies compiled in the report, women gave smaller gifts than men but more gifts overall. For these datasets, as the gift size decreased, women gave a greater percentage of gifts. 


2. Women's and girls' organizations receive substantially more financial support from women.

This is altogether not that surprising. Three out of the four case studies found women were much more likely than men to give to women’s and girls’ organizations, with crowdfunding leveraged as a key tool to accomplish this goal. 

In the same Giving Tuesday case study mentioned above, researchers found that the importance of women donors on Giving Tuesday did not necessarily come down to how much money they gave, but that they were using the day to spread awareness, recruit volunteers, and advocate for various organizations. 

Women were the driving force behind GivingTuesday, measuring more than just donations and dollars raised. 



3. Women contribute less to donor-advised funds, but this could be linked to gender wage gaps rather than tendency to give. 

In a case study of gender and giving with Growfund, a $0-minimum donor-advised fund, men made greater contributions to their Growfund accounts than women. Women contributed less of the total dollars going into Growfund accounts, but it was noted that accounts are typically started within the workplace, so the disparity in gender giving could be due to wage gaps or a variety of other factors not controlled by the data. 

Women did distribute more dollars from their Growfund accounts to nonprofits, where men stockpiled in comparison. Women give 78% of gifts from Growfund accounts, where men give 23%. Scott Jackson, CEO of Global Impact, reflected on his experience at Growfund that women donors were more proactive, planned their giving in greater detail and gave consistently over time, whereas male donors tended to be more reactionary givers. 

Read more on donor-advised funds, the fastest-growing form of philanthropy on the blog here. 


The influence of technology on giving and gender

Modern giving technology makes it easy to donate. The opportunity to give online allows donors to choose how to give, where to give, and when to give. On the receiving end, technology offers nonprofits a chance to connect to their donors at scale with ease, say thanks, and improve the user experience. 

Women were more likely to interact with their networks and raise awareness for a cause through crowdfunding technology, where one study revealed women fundraisers were seen as more trustworthy than men, resulting in a higher volume of donations.

While this is just an overview of some of the key findings from Women Give 2020, it brings up questions on how people give, how they raise funds for causes they care about, and how technology propels these differences. In conclusion, the report asks:

  • Does technology create new donors or simply move them online? Does online giving add to total giving or just change its format?
  • Do different causes benefit when people give online versus offline? 
  • What do crowdfunding statistics tell us about future fundraisers and donors?