Giving Back | Jacksonville.com

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The disparities in philanthropic giving among genders

Men and women are similar yet also very different. One area where the genders seem to differ concerns charitable giving.

Nonprofits may not specifically tailor their marketing efforts to either men or women, but new research suggests that perhaps they should. The Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that women and men give differently. Research suggests that women give more than men in nearly all income levels. This despite the fact that women generally earn less than their male peers and have less money in retirement.

Similar findings were presented in the paper "Exploring Gender Differences in Charitable Giving," by Arjen De Wit and René Bekkers of the University of Amsterdam. Their research indicated North American females are "more likely to give and to give to more different sectors, which can be attributed to their higher presocial values of empathetic concern and the principle of care." However, their findings were different in their home country of The Netherlands. There, males donate more than females.

Researchers feel there are several reasons why women are more likely to donate to charity and why they generally donate larger portions of their wealth. A 2013 U.S. Trust survey on women and wealth uncovered that women say money offers freedom and security, and giving to charity is one of the most satisfying aspects of having wealth. This is in contrast to the male view that money represents prestige and power.

The Women's Philanthropy Institute theorizes that women tend to be more empathetic than men, which develops from many women being mothers and nurturers, and that altruism extends beyond the family to strangers who are in need.

The U.S. Trust survey also found that a $10,000 increase in a woman's income would be associated with a more than 5 percent rise in her total household giving, while a similar rise in the man's income would be associated with a less than 3 percent rise in total giving.

Among high net worth households, single women are more likely to donate to the arts and the environment, compared to single men who give to combination organizations, which focus on a few different issues under one charitable banner. Among married couples, women are more likely than men to donate to youth and family services.

Based on data from the white paper, "Do Women Give More?," one exception with regard to women donating more than men is the Gen-X generation, as giving is relatively equal among this demographic.