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Gender Income Differences Affect Couples’ Donations


Thursday, 24th September 2015 at 11:32 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
The charitable causes to which married couples donate to are affected by the differences in gender income, a new report out of the US has found.

Thursday, 24th September 2015
at 11:32 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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Gender Income Differences Affect Couples’ Donations
Thursday, 24th September 2015 at 11:32 am

The charitable causes to which married couples donate to are affected by the differences in gender income, a new report out of the US has found.

In the US, the Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis studied how the differences in women’s and men’s income affect what types of charities couples give to.

The report, Where Do Men and Women Give? Differences in Motivations and Purposes for Charitable Giving, found that as the husband’s income increases, the couple is more likely to give to religious, youth international and combined-purposes organisations, such as United Way and Catholic charities.

When the wife’s income increases, the couple is more likely to give  –  and to give larger amounts  –  to charities providing for basic human needs, like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and homeless shelters.

The findings from the study, which is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, were presented at the Women Moving Millions Summit in New York recently.

Director of research, Una Osili, said women and men both bring their own preferences, priorities and financial resources to a household, and they both influence the couple’s charitable giving, but they affect it differently.

“For example, differences in men’s and women’s income shape not only the couple’s overall giving but also what causes they support,” Osili said.

The study also found that nearly half, 45 per cent, of all donors surveyed give specifically to causes that support women and girls. When researchers looked at giving by gender, they found that half of women donors and two out of five men donors give to these causes.

In high net worth households, those with $250,000 or more in income and/or $1 million or more in assets not including their principal residence, men and women shared the same top motivations for giving. Gender differences appeared in lower priority motivations.

Women were more likely than men to say that they give because of their political or philosophical beliefs, because they are on the board or volunteer for an organisation and more likely to give spontaneously in response to a need.

“Much of the previous research has looked at household giving by couples as a single unit,” Dr Amir Pasic, Dean at Indiana University said.

“By delving more deeply into the factors that influence charitable giving by couples, this study provides a more thorough understanding of gender differences in giving.”

The results build on previous research by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, which found that:

  • Single women are more likely to give to charity and give more than similarly-situated men

  • Women tend to spread their giving across more organizations, while men concentrate their giving

  • Women are more likely to give to almost every charitable subsector, with a few exceptions such as sports and adult recreation

The full report can be found here.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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