Indiana University Study Finds Older Women Donate More Than Older Men

Researchers at the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University surveyed a large group of single-head of households from the Baby Boom generation. They found that older women give 89 percent more to charities and nonprofits than older men. And older women gave a larger share of their income to charity than older men. (Married couples were excluded because philanthropic decisions in these homes are often made jointly.)

The results showed that 68 percent of men donated less than 1 percent of their income to charities and nonprofit organizations. For women, 58 percent donated less than 1 percent. But 19 percent of women donated more than 3 percent of their incomes to nonprofits, compared to just 11 percent of men.

Debra J. Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, stated: “Women, in general, earn less and have less money in retirement than men, and they have a greater life expectancy. Although some may have concerns about their financial security, our study suggests that Boomer and older women share their resources with others more generously than their male peers.”

The giving habits of this generation are of particular importance to college and university fundraisers, as this generation now controls about 90 percent of the nation’s wealth. And the results of this survey show that targeting women may bring in more dollars.

“The giving habits of Boomer and older women are a powerful reminder about the importance of gender in philanthropy,” Dr. Mesch added. “These insights help nonprofits better understand their female donors and remind fundraisers of the importance and value of seeking gender balance in their fundraising strategies.”

Dr. Mesch is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati. She holds a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA and Ph.D. in organizational behavior and human resource management from Indiana University.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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