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Gender and Household Status

To engage with your donors more effectively, it’s important to understand how gender affects giving. Increasingly, research affirms anecdotal information that men and women tend to give differently, and that woman have a significant role to play in philanthropic decision-making. Keep reading to learn how household composition and gender influence charitable giving.

Single Households

Research across the sector has continued to identify trends in giving by single individuals. Notably, single women are more likely to donate to charity than single men. They are also more likely to give to a variety of organizations and to support a greater number of causes, whereas men are more likely to concentrate their giving on a select group of organizations. According to Women’s Philanthropy Institute, data shows that today more people remain single longer, compared to past decades.¹ Today’s families are looking different, and this is something to consider when engaging with your donors.

Married Households

Demonstrated by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, marriage tends to have a positive impact on charitable giving. Compared to single men and women, married couples tend to give more. Like trends relating to life stage, marriage may free up financial resources, allowing for increased giving.

It was found in Women Give 2021, How Households Make Giving Decisions, that the majority of married couples decide on their charitable giving together (61.5%), a decline from 73.4% in 2005. For those that do not jointly decide, the partner that makes the primarily charitable giving decisions is more likely to be a woman. Households where males are the primary decider of giving tend to make larger donations, the average amount donated in 2019 was $1,981. Households where women decide giving contributions tend to give less, with an average of $1,561 and the average of couples jointly deciding was $1,886.²   

Intergenerational Households

Within intergenerational households, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute has found that parents may be transmitting generosity to their daughters and sons. Male and female adults whose parents give to charity are far more likely to give to charity themselves, alluding to a generational transmission of giving. However, the affects of parental giving factor more greatly into whether adult daughters give, than for whether adult sons give.

Furthermore, a parent’s frequency of donating affects the charitable giving of an adult daughter more than it would an adult son. These findings underscore the impacts that charitable giving at home can have on future generations.