The Gender Giving Gap: Analyzing Trends in Giving by Gender

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We’ve all heard about the gender wage gap, but have you ever heard of the gender giving gap? You might have read about it briefly in our blog post from a couple weeks ago. Basically, women account for 64 percent of total charitable donations across the country. Why is there a gender imbalance when it comes to giving, especially when, on average, men make more money than women?

Here are some findings to give you some insights into these trends: According to a study conducted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, single women have a higher likelihood of giving, and give a higher average dollar amount than single men. However, among high net worth single men and women, there are no gender differences when it comes to giving. 

Women tend to spread their giving across more organizations, while men tend to keep their giving close to 1-2 organizations. Women are more likely to participate in giving circles, and they are also more likely to volunteer their time.

Marriage has an effect on giving patterns as well. Married couples tend to give more than single male- or female-headed households. Moreover, when men marry, they are more likely to give to charity and give at higher amounts. This trend might be a result of marriage expanding a couple’s resources and freeing up more money for them to give away. Once a couple is married, they usually make their giving decisions together. The same report writes, "Research shows that when couples bargain, they tend to resolve a conflict about giving in favor of the husband’s giving preferences."

Other reports by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy shed more light on giving and gender trends. Here are some important bits of information from the reports to know:

Women prioritize issues such as women’s rights, human rights, and the environment. While men favor the economy and national security. The report also indicates that women are generally motivated to give by their political or philosophical beliefs or their involvement in an organization.

Though researchers are still not entirely sure what exactly drives women to give more than men, one possible explanation might be that there are many charitable organizations that focus on women and children, especially girls. Women might be more inclined to give more to those organizations as they might feel a certain kinship, or be more able to relate to those issues as compared to men. 

Finally, women report that they are motivated to give because they are on the board or volunteer for an organization, which has not been found to be the case for men. What does this mean for you? Nonprofits should continue to diversify their boards and offer women meaningful volunteer roles to increase their participation. Women report needing first-hand involvement to increase their motivations to give; you should keep this in mind when asking women for donations. 

Understanding these trends and their implications for your nonprofit is important, especially when it comes to leveraging this knowledge to maximize your fundraising efforts. For more help when it comes to fundraising, ask what DipJar can do for your organization! 


If you have more questions about nonprofit strategy you can always reach out to the DipJar fundraising experts for help. It's what we love to do!