The Power of Women's Philanthropy

May 09, 2022
In this issue’s “By the Numbers,” we highlight the research of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy and trends in women’s philanthropy, including women’s influence on household giving, the growing popularity of giving circles and the increase in giving to women and girls.

Driving Household Giving – and Life Satisfaction

  • Likelihood to give to charity
    • Female-headed households: 50.8%
    • Male-headed households: 40.9%
  • 61.5% of couples make giving decisions together
    • Where one partner in a household decides, it is more likely to be a woman (15.3% vs. 12.1%)
  • 75% of couples agree on giving amounts and recipients
  • For households where either the wife makes charitable decisions or spouses make charitable decisions jointly, life satisfaction increases with the percentage of household income given to charity
    • Wife
      • Donated <2%: 3.95
      • Donated >2%: 4.18
    • Joint
      • Donated <2%: 4.05
      • Donated >2%: 4.17
  • Just 1.1% of couples talk about giving with a financial or philanthropy advisor

Giving Together to Drive Change

  • The number of giving circles tripled in the 10-year period from 2007 to 2017
    • They are engaging more people overall and more people on average per group
  • About 70% of giving circles report that women make up more than half their membership
  • The top three causes that women-dominant giving circles support: human services, women and girls and education

Growth in Giving to Women and Girls

  • Giving to women and girls increased by 36.4% from 2012 to 2017
    • Growth was especially strong in 2017 (9.4%)
  • Nearly 47,000 organizations dedicated to women and girls make up 3.3% of total charitable organizations in the U.S.
  • Giving to women’s and girls’ organizations in 2017: $7.1 billion – 1.6% of overall charitable giving
  • On digital platforms and social media, women give between 60% to 70% of total dollars given to women and girls' causes
Up Next
Up Next

International Philanthropy: Supporting Causes Around the World

Senior Wealth Planner and Director of Philanthropic Advisory Kerri Mast explores options for philanthropists wishing to support charities around the world.

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