An excerpt from the 2013-2014 NAIS Trendbook
A new study by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Women Give 2012, sheds light on the effects of age and gender on giving patterns. The study found that women from the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964) and older give 89 percent more to charity than their male counterparts. For the subset of households in the top 25 percent of permanent income, women born in 1964 and before give 156 percent more than men (Figure 1). The study looked at male and female single-headed households and discovered that 19 percent of women give 3 percent or more of their income, compared with only 11 percent of men. Similarly, among those households within the top 25 percent of permanent income, the difference was even greater, with 23 percent of women giving 3 percent or more, compared with 13 percent of men.
These findings have tremendous relevance for philanthropy. At 76 million, Baby Boomers are the largest generation in America today and constitute 48 percent of all households in the United States, according to the MetLife Mature Market Institute. They are also wealthier than any previous generation, and their financial capacity to give will likely increase. Based on data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, researchers found that Boomers held $31 trillion in net worth, almost half of all household net worth in the U.S. Also, 15 percent of Boomer households owned at least $1 million in total assets. In terms of giving, Boomers gave $112.2 billion to charities in 2007, representing more than half of all charitable contributions.
Women represented 51 percent of the Boomer generation in 2007,
and by 2030, their numbers are projected to increase to 54 percent of all Boomers.
Women 50 years of age and older control net worth of $19 trillion and own more than three-fourths of the U.S. financial wealth.
Moreover, women between 50 and 70 years old hold 47 percent of assets among the top female wealth holders (Figure 2).
Wealth controlled by women is expected to grow as they build careers and inherit money from their parents and their partners.
Experts note that as more women give, they are likely to change not only what is funded but how charities raise money. For instance, in 1991, the Ms. Foundation embraced “giving circles” in which members decided together where they would give their money. A team of women created the $34.7 million Red Cross text campaign to aid victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Female philanthropists are also establishing private family foundations and donor-advised funds.
Independent schools have a great opportunity to connect with female donors. Research from the What Women Want: Understanding the Needs and Objectives of Women’s Philanthropic Giving
study shows that women primarily support causes that deal with children’s needs, opportunities for women, education, and health issues.
John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish, Capacity for Care: Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow
(Boston: Boston College, Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, 2011).
MetLife Mature Market Institute, Demographic Profile: American Baby Boomers
(New York: Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 2007).