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What Women Want – and Why Nonprofits Should Care

By: Ashley Jones, Staff Accountant

When creating a marketing strategy, not-for-profits (NFPs) need to identify their target audience for soliciting donations. “The 2011 Study of High Net Worth Women’s Philanthropy and the Impact of Women’s Giving Networks” sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and performed by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University identifies why NFPs should consider focusing on females. The study reviewed 911 responses, 628 male and 283 women, with an average household wealth of $12.2m and an average household income of $639,924.

The study found that in wealthy families, women are the key deciders to which charities the household will contribute. Results indicated that in 90% of wealthy households, women are either the sole decision-maker or share equally with their husbands the responsibility for making charitable contributions. The study further focuses on the motivations and behaviors of women donators, which is important for an NFP to know when trying to solicit donations.

Among the key factors that influence charitable decision-making, 82% of women are more likely to donate to an organization of which they have a personal experience and are most motivated by how their gift can make a difference. 87% of women volunteered in 2011 and stated that they were more likely to donate money to an organization that they had volunteered for. It was also noted that most women feel nonprofit organizations are most able to solve domestic or global problems compared to individuals, businesses, corporations, and governments.

In addition to knowing why women donate to specific charities, it is also important to note why women were motivated to end support for certain charities. It was noted that 49% of women were more likely to stop giving to a charity previously supported, with the main reason being too frequent solicitations or they had been asked for inappropriate amounts, followed by simply the decision to support other causes.

The majority of women consulted with their accountants when making giving decisions, followed by their financial/wealth advisor and attorney.

Below is a list of reasons why NFPs should care about what women want, compiled by Melanie Sabelhaus, Co-founder of the American Red Cross (ARC) Tiffany Circle and Colleen Zakrewsky, vice president of individual giving of the ARC (Source:the Nonprofit Times).

  • The combined net worth of the nation’s females is greater than $6 trillion
  • Between 85%-90% of women will inherit the nation’s wealth
  • 90% of purchases are controlled by women, and women manage 83% of household income
  • Women-owned businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy

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