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Report Reveals What Motivates Giving to Women’s Causes


26 May 2016 at 11:41 am
Lina Caneva
New research by the US Women’s Philanthropy Institute into what motivates giving to women’s causes has found that less than 15 per cent of donors target areas that impact women and girls.

Lina Caneva | 26 May 2016 at 11:41 am


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Report Reveals What Motivates Giving to Women’s Causes
26 May 2016 at 11:41 am

New research by the US Women’s Philanthropy Institute into what motivates giving to women’s causes has found that less than 15 per cent of donors target areas that impact women and girls.

Described as breakthrough research into what motivates donors to give to women’s and girls’ causes  the study found that a majority of donors (56 per cent) did not focus their giving on women and girls.

Among donors,14.6 per cent reported giving to a particular area that impacted women and girls and 29.4 per cent gave to an organisation that in part, focused on women’s and girls’ issues.

Released by the US Women’s Philanthropy Institute the research showed that women were motivated to give to women’s and girls’ causes based on personal experiences, whether positive experiences such as the birth of a child or participation in a job training program for women, or negative, such as discrimination.

Women were both more likely to give larger amounts to these causes and were more likely to give to domestic violence organisations, women’s centers, LGBT rights, cancer care and research, and economic opportunities for women and girls.

“The report looked at the growing visibility of women’s and girls’ causes and explored the methods and motivations of donors to women’s and girls’ issues, including important findings for funders, advocates, fundraisers, and wealth managers,” the report said.

Director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute Dr Debra Mesch said: “As more and more people make the connection between giving to women and societal change, we can see that giving to women and girls is not just a temporary trend but is here to stay.

“Understanding the demographics and motivations of those who are giving to women’s and girls’ causes is increasingly important if we are to improve the lives of women and girls, and their families and communities.”

The dean of the school Amir Pasic said: “WPI’s research has consistently shown that women are more likely to donate to charity in general than men and that when they give, they give more of their income, all things being equal. Yet there is limited academic research into the motivations and trends for giving to women’s and girls’ causes specifically, despite the momentum in giving to these causes.”

The WPI’s research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Australian Women Donors Network welcomed the US research saying it highlighted the capacity of women as both funders and as having an important focus on their funding.  

“The Australian Women’s Donor Network represents a growing community of women and men who recognise the power of investing in women and girls to accelerate social change,” CEO Julie Reilly said.

“Our Gender-wise Workshops and Toolkit provide a practical method for donors to apply a gender lens to amplify the impact of their giving.

“The Women’s Philanthropy Institute report also highlighted the need for gender data in Australia which would allow us to better understand and direct philanthropic giving that leverages the power of women and girls.

“The recent Australian Giving Review by Koda Capital showed that women are driving the growth in giving in Australia, underlining the need to support and foster women’s philanthropy at all points on the giving spectrum, particularly by nurturing the growth we’ve seen in women’s giving circles.”


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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