Friday afternoon reflections on another week of generous matters

Just like dear old mom. In honor of Mother’s Day, the folks at Family Giving News reprinted a column highlighting the role of moms within philanthropic clans. Alice Buhl, the author and a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Family Philanthropy, argues that while donor-dads get most of the credit for creating a legacy, its mothers who typically set the tone for the next generation.

Of course, we love all those wonderful guys, Max Fisher, David Packard and William McKnight who generated the wealth. Their business savvy made it possible for these foundations to exist. But don’t forget all the ways women have influenced and given value to philanthropy’s legacy–and will continue to do so.

If you want a gift, ask a woman. Women are more likely than men to give to almost every type of charitable cause. So states Women Give 2010, a study from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. You’ll want to read the entire report, but here are some highlights.

Women’s likelihood of giving exceeded men’s in 8 of the 11 charitable causes: religious institutions, organizations that help the needy, health care and medical research, education, youth and family services, community, international, and combined purposes, which includes organizations such as United Way, Catholic Charities, and community foundations.

Women and men were equally likely to give to environmental nonprofits, arts and cultural organizations, and causes identified as “other.”

Although likely to start at home, women’s philanthropy is not confined by borders. Women are 55 percent more likely to give to international causes than men. Other charitable sectors that women are significantly more likely to support include community organizations (51 percent more likely), religion (42 percent), health care (38 percent), youth and family services (32 percent), and education (31 percent).

 The research is in. Generous matters to women.

The power of a feminine touch. All this talk about women as donors reminded me of an article I wrote for Fund Raising Management back in 1993 titled “What’s This About Women’s Ways of Asking?” I pulled the piece out, dusted it off, and now share a couple of paragraphs for your consideration.

While it doesn’t necessarily take a woman to understand the giving motivation of another woman, the experiences and perspectives that women fund raisers bring to their work are real assets to a fundraising program. Women in volunteer roles have long been the workhorses for worthy causes, evidence that women’s ways of asking have worked in the past. And as more and more women are discovering their philanthropic voices, it is important to have on staff persons who are able to hear what these new donors have to say.

Most women respond well to a request for funds from another woman. While not a hard-and-fast rule, a female donor may see someone of her own gender as better able to understand her reasons for giving, and this can be just the thing needed to move your organization to the top of her giving list.

What do you think? Have my ideas withstood the test of time?

What's your take on this topic?

%d bloggers like this: