Older Women Earn Less, but More Generous to Charities

Many of the professional female clients I work with in private wealth management have often told me how philanthropy is more of a concern for their female clients than their male. Now new American research supports the anecdotal evidence I have long heard. Despite living on less money in retirement, older women are more likely to donate to charity and to give more generously than men.

Boomer and older women give 89% more of their total income to charity than their male counterparts when education, income, race, number of children and other factors affecting giving are equal according to the Women Give 2012 report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

So why are boomer and older women more willing to part with their money for good causes? Several factors are in play.

“It has to do with women being socialized to be the caregivers of their families and communities,” said Debra J. Mesch, institute director.

Women and men have different motivations for giving. In previous institute studies, she said women score much higher on traits such as empathy and caring, which affect giving to charity.

“Their gift is the beginning of a deeper relationship with a non-profit,” said Angela White, senior consultant and CEO of Johnson Grossnickle and Associates, a local non-profit consulting firm. “Their male counterparts think of it as a financial transaction.”
She said women are thinking, “What kind of change can I make in the world? How can I make an impact? That’s more of a relationship with the non-profit.”

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