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What Women Want: Understanding Women\’s Philanthropic Objectives
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What Women Want: Understanding Women\’s Philanthropic Objectives


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Women, as a group, are increasingly impacting fundraising efforts in the U.S.; however, their philanthropic objectives can differ significantly from men’s. Women tend to focus on specific sectors and …

Women, as a group, are increasingly impacting fundraising efforts in the U.S.; however, their philanthropic objectives can differ significantly from men’s. Women tend to focus on specific sectors and want greater accountability for their gifts. On the whole, women want to create new solutions, seek more contact and control, and want to be kept informed of the results from their giving. Many also seek social networks within the organizations that interest them. If women are among your majority donors, you may need to change the way you speak with them and start listening for their direction.

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  • 1. What Women Want Understanding the Needs and Objectives of Women's Philanthropic Giving, including Planned Gifts Thursday, October 15 - 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm Katherine Swank, J.D., Consultant
  • 2. Your Presenter
    • Consultant, Target Analytics™, a Blackbaud Company
    • Law degree, Drake University School of Law
    • Over 20 years as a development officer & consultant, including
      • National Director of Planned Gifts, $10 million annual revenue
      • Lead manager, $20 Million Capital Campaign
      • Internal fundraising consultant to 60+ national and chapter offices
      • Over $215 million raised during career
    • 9 years as adjunct faculty, Regis University
      • Masters in Nonprofit Management Program
      • Courses: Wealth and Philanthropy; Financial Resource Development
    • Author and frequent presenter
  • 3. Our Agenda
    • Women! and Philanthropy
    • What Women Want and What They Support
    • Involving Women in Your Organization
    • Planned Giving and Women
    • Marketing and Communications for Women
    • Approaching Women in Economically Strained Times
    • Summary and Resources to Get You Started
  • 4. Wealth and Philanthropy in America
    • In each of the past two years, charitable gifts have exceeded $300 Billion
      • 2008 was only one of three years in the past 40 when giving has declined from the previous year
      • 2% decline – larger than 1% historical decline in recessions
      • Decline was lower than some anticipated
    • Charitable giving in the U.S. grows faster than the economy
      • GDP has risen 150% in past 50 years
      • Giving has risen 190%
    • 80% American households donate annually
    • In 2007, personal wealth grew 5% worldwide
      • $109.5 trillion; 6th consecutive year of growth
    • Estimated during 2008/2009 personal wealth may have decreased as much as 30%
      • $76.65 trillion today?
  • 5. Demographics of Women in America Populations Facts Women Men Number in the U.S. (2007 figure) 153.6 Million 149.4 Million Age is less than 42 Fewer More Age is 42 or greater More Fewer Age is 85 or older Twice as many Half as many Married 62.4 Million Widowed, Divorced or Never Married 59.8 Million Mothers (children of all ages) 82.8 Million Percentage that Volunteer 30% 23% Bachelor Degrees Obtained among 25-29 Year Olds 32% 25%
  • 6. Affluent Women
    • Almost 70% of women are employed
    • 3.4 million women with gross assets of $675,000+
    • 46.3% of top wealth-holders are women (IRS, 2005)
      • Average net worth - $1.7M
    • 10.4 million privately-held women-owned firms
      • Accounts for 2 out of 5 U.S. businesses
    • Women are playing bigger roles in family financial planning and buying stocks and bonds says a new study just released by NBC Universal in the past few weeks
      • As many as 40% of employed women say they are the family breadwinner
  • 7. Affluent Women
    • Profile of a female “millionaire” (Stanley 2001)
      • 49 yrs.
      • Overcame a family or work obstacle
      • 1 in 20 have never been married
      • Of those married, half are divorced at least once
      • Homeowner
      • Many are self-employed
      • Might be earning as much as 3/4th of the household income
      • Give more to charity than millionaire men
      • Are charity “worker bees”
  • 8. Women and Philanthropy
    • Self-made women donate 7% of their annual income
      • Men in the same category donate 5%
    • Women donate 3.5% of their wealth on average
      • While men donate 1.8%
    • Women donated $109 million to presidential candidates in checks of $200 or more in the recent presidential campaign
      • Triple the amount female donors donated in 2000
      • The Internet played a large role in filling women’s desire to build a relationship and learn something about a candidate
    • Nearly 60% of female donors cite “giving back” as a motivator
      • Help those with less
      • Emotion is part of giving
    • Only 25% of affluent women cited “tax legislation” as a motivator
      • Compared to 40% of men
  • 9. What Women Want
    • Want greater control of their own resources
    • Choose charitable interests separate and distinct from spouse
    • Emphasize cooperation and partnerships in their giving
    • Leverage gifts to insure their interests are matched
    • Seek challenge over competition
    • Greater accountability expected
    • Are less likely to seek public recognition – but will accept it if offered
      • But do not seek to be anonymous
  • 10. Six “C’s” of Motivation for Women’s Giving
    • Create new solutions to old problems
    • Use their financial power to effect change rather than to preserve the status quo
    • Commit to an organization and its vision
    • Enjoy a personal connection with the institution or organization
    • Collaborate and work with others as part of a larger effort
    • Celebrate!
    Shaw-Hardy, Sondra C. and Martha A. Taylor, Reinventing Fundraising, Realizing the Potential of Women’s Philanthropy, Jossey Bass, 1995.
  • 11. What Women Support
    • 90% of female donors give to social causes
    • 80% of grants made by women’s foundations go to women or girls at low income levels
    • Most support goes to:
      • Organizations that serve the needs of children
      • Opportunities for women
      • Education
      • Health issues
    • Also support:
      • Economic opportunities for all
      • Diversity
      • The Arts
      • Environment
  • 12. Giving to Charitable Sectors
    • Percent of High Net Worth Households That Give to Each Sector
  • 13. How Women Give
    • Giving Circles or Collective Giving
      • Offer high engagement for philanthropic objectives
      • Collective decision-making
      • Educational opportunities
    • Matching gifts and challenge grants
      • Leverage financial involvement
    • Not uncommon for women to want to be involved first and become contributors second
  • 14. Barriers to Giving
    • Are afraid of outliving resources
    • Don’t feel ownership of family money
    • Don’t think they are philanthropists
    • Aren’t encouraged to make donations by advisors
    • Aren’t asked to make gifts of impact
    • Take longer to decide about major gift decisions
    • Economic uncertainty
  • 15. Overcome the Barriers
    • Cumulative Giving Opportunities
      • Donor Advised Funds
      • Grow an Endowment Fund over Time
    • Joint and Group Gifts
      • Giving Circles
    • Multiple payments
    • Multi-year commitments
    • Planned Gifts that allow flexibility
    • Planned Gifts that provide security
  • 16. Involve Women in Your Organization
    • Donor education programs for women prompt:
      • Larger gifts
      • Unrestricted gifts
      • Long-term gift planning
      • Leadership roles with the organization
    • Women, especially the younger generations, often want to be hands-on
      • Expect active involvement in the project or with the organization
  • 17. Women’s Connection to Planned Gifts
    • Many bequest and gift annuity donors have annual incomes of $70,000 or higher
      • “ Affluent” Households are those with annual incomes of over $77,500
        • More than 20% of households
        • Many of these households are considered “millionaires”
        • Almost ½ are headed by “retirees”
        • Average net worth $2.2M
          • $1.4 million in liquid or investable assets
      • Half consider themselves conservative investors
      • Long-term accumulation of assets
    • Women will soon control as much as three-fourths of planned giving assets
      • More than 50% of bequest and charitable gift annuity donors are women
      • Just under 50% of charitable trusts are by women
  • 18. Future Opportunities
    • High Net Worth Households’ Plans for Charitable Giving
  • 19. Baseline Women in Your Current Donor Ranks
    • Understand women’s place in your donor ranks
      • Leadership and committee positions
      • Number of women and couples
    • Average gifts from women
    • Activities that women participate in
    • Average length of time involved
    • % of Donors
    • % of Volunteers
    • Which types of appeals do women respond to?
      • Direct mail, direct response
      • Workplace giving
      • Special Events
      • Face-to-face, etc
    • Number of legacy gifts from women
      • Which gift vehicles are the most used?
      • % of all legacy giving
  • 20. Connect to Your Female Constituents
    • Seek to understand their desires
      • One-on-one discussions
      • Surveys
      • Focus groups
  • 21. Connect to Your Female Constituents
    • Gather women together and ask them about their general interest in your mission and programs
      • What interests them in your organization?
      • What do they think your most important programs are?
      • What would they most like to see their gifts support?
      • At what level do the see their gift support?
      • Do restricted or unrestricted gifts most interest them?
      • What do they think you could be doing better?
      • What kinds of information and communications they would like to receive from you?
      • How often they would like to receive those communications?
      • What other ways would they like to be involved in the organization?
  • 22. Connect to Your Female Constituents
    • Also ask them about their interest in planned gifts and legacy giving :
      • Are they interested in making planned gift arrangements to benefit the organizations they value?
      • What planning vehicle(s) would they use?
        • Would they consider making a bequest or trust gift?
        • Describe charitable gift annuities and other life income gifts to see if these methods appeal to them
        • Inquire about gifts of stock and real estate
        • Gifts from a retirement account or life insurance policy
      • What types of information would they like to receive about these gift giving options?
      • Would educational sessions about financial planning and planned gifts interest them?
      • At what level would they consider making planned gifts?
      • Do restricted or unrestricted gifts most interest them?
  • 23. Connect to Your Female Constituents
    • Finally, ask them how they would like to be thanked and recognized for their gifts:
      • What forms of recognition most appeal to them?
      • What types of recognition from other organizations have they liked the most?
      • How would they like to find out about the gifts of others?
      • In what manner would they like to celebrate their own gifts of impact and/or celebrate with others who have made similar gifts of impact?
  • 24. How to Talk to Women
    • People respond to publications and communications that most closely mirror how these individuals view themselves
    • Consider female-slanted communications that reflect the unique make-up of your organization’s women donors
      • Age
      • Physical appearance
      • Financial status
      • Interest and values
    • You may find that you have more than one distinct female profile
  • 25. How to Talk to Women
  • 26. Marketing Planned Gifts to Women
    • Market the right gift vehicles to the right people
      • Know your audience
    • Pick one subject
      • Do not mix gift type messaging
    • Focus on the things that motivate the planned gift
    • Do not focus on the details of the planned gift
      • Details do not work well for marketing
    • Consider different versions by audience type or generation
  • 27. Donor Stories
    • Focus on your mission
    • Tell stories , capture hearts
      • Avoid technical language and tax features
    • Keep it simple
    More examples can be found at
  • 28. Web or Video Presentation
    • Tell the story in a media presentation
    • 3 minutes or less
  • 29. Donor Motivation
    • It is about impact and emotions , not technicalities
    • Use visuals that provide impact
    • Use few words
  • 30. Response Mechanisms that Work
    • Give a reason to notify:
      • “ If you have made an estate provision for the Gardens, or a planned or deferred gift, please let us know so we can welcome you into the Perennial Friends Society and make sure your gift intentions are properly carried out .”
  • 31. Financial Seminars
  • 32. Build a Story Bank
    • Create a mechanism to capture stories
    • For tips read The Story Bank: Using Personal Stories and The Art of Story Banking
  • 33. Major Asset Categories
    • According to the IRS, households with net worth between $1.5M-$10M have their worth spread among these asset categories
  • 34. Use Your Database to Unlock the Power of Women
    • Give every donor his/her own record
      • If system allows separation of spouses or joint record names
    • Collect and retain data:
      • Date of birth or age
      • Business name, title
      • Education level
      • Household income or wealth indicators
      • Marital status
      • Religious affiliation
      • Geographic indicators such as ZIP code or Cluster data
  • 35. Capture Interests and Biographical Data
    • Drive donors to your website to volunteer their personal information
      • Biographical
      • Business information
      • Contact #’s
      • Personal Interests
      • Volunteer Opportunities
      • Mission Support
  • 36. Prospect Screening Services
    • Business connections
    • Foundation and Nonprofit Affiliations
    • Indicators of Wealth and Biographical Information
    • Household Income Estimates
    • Giving to Other Nonprofits
    • Liquid Assets & Life Stage
  • 37. Giving in Good and Bad Times
    • More than 80% of affluent households make charitable donations
    • Households with annual incomes of $100,000 or higher tend to continue to make donations during economically tough times
      • Donations may be restricted to those organizations with which they have the closest bond
      • Helping people who have less
      • Keeping community assets in place, such as libraries and the Arts
    • People who make gifts of $1,000 or more tend to continue to make gifts
    • Households with incomes of $50,000 or less often become non-donors
    • Planned gifts are less affected by these hard times
    • Households conducting financial planning and creating future charitable gifts may actually increase during recessionary times
    • Do not decrease your communications about planned gifts in favor in cash gifts
      • Ask for both!
  • 38. Giving During Good and Bad Times
    • If your female donors do not think this is a good time to make a gift you can still grow the relationship
    • Create focus groups
    • Aim to accomplish one of more of things in the coming months while you wait out the recession and people’s financial fears
      • Review your marketing materials to make certain they reflect the planned gift types that are of interest to your constituents
      • Review vendors materials to see if they offer a good fit for your constituency and revised objectives
      • Review your website pages for clarity of message, ease of navigation, visual components
      • Create donor stories with compelling messages – not technical components
      • Gather photographs that show the impact of legacy giving
        • A photograph of the donor(s) does not necessarily show impact
      • Call your bequest donors, gift annuitants and trust donors and Thank them once again!
  • 39. Summary
    • Women are generous donors
    • Charitable priorities tend to follow specific programmatic objectives
    • Understand your unique female constituencies
    • Listen to your female donors
    • Speak to them as they would like to be spoken to
    • Highlight the impact of their gifts in your communications
    • Involve them in multiple ways; create desired giving opportunities including Planned Gifts that interest them
    • Those who know you, support you in both good and bad times
  • 40. Additional Questions and Resources to Get You Started
    • Contact:
    • Katherine Swank, J.D. Phone 800.443.9441 x3926
    • Follow me on Twitter: @KatherineSwank
    • LinkedIn:
    • New Book:
    • White Papers: http://