Research tracks gender differences in giving

Differences in income among women and men shape overall giving by couples, as well as the causes they support, new research says.

An increase in a man’s income, for example, tends to make it more likely a couple will give to religious, youth, international and combined-purpose groups such as United Way, or give larger amounts to those causes, or both, says research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

An increase in a woman’s income makes it more likely a couple will give, and give a larger amount, to charities that provide for basic human needs, the research says.

The research, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, included a review of interdisciplinary literature on women’s giving and philanthropic behavior.

It also included analysis of data from the Philanthropy Panel Study, Bank of America/U.S. Trust Studies of High Net Worth Philanthropy, and Million Dollar List. Among the findings:

Marital status

* Single women are more likely than single men to give, and to give higher dollar amounts.

* Women who are divorced, separated, never married or widowed are more likely to give and to give higher dollar amounts than their male counterparts and among men overall.

* Single women are more likely than single men to give to nearly every charitable sector, except sports and recreation.

* Married couples tend to give more than single households headed by males or females.

* When men marry, they are more likely to give to charity and to give higher amounts.

Charitable decision-making

* Most married couples decide on charitable giving jointly.

* Households in which the male makes decisions on charitable giving make larger donations than couples in which those decisions are made by the female or jointly.

* For couples with one person making decisions on giving, the decision-making spouse is likely to have had more education, while in couples that make those decisions together, both individuals have high educational attainment.

Volunteering and giving circles

* Women are more likely than men to volunteer, and to volunteer more hours, with single women volunteering at nearly twice the rate of single men.

* Women represent the vast majority of participants in giving circles, more than half of giving circles in the U.S. involve only women, and issues that affect women and girls are the priority for many giving circles.

* Less than 10 percent of all foundation funding supports organizations run by and for women and girls.

Selecting charitable causes

* Women tend to spread their giving across more organizations, while men tend to concentrate their giving.

* Among high net worth individuals — those with $250,000 or more in income, or $1 million or more in assets not including their principal residence, or both — single women are more likely than single men to give, and give more to arts and the environment, while high net worth single men are more likely to give, and give more to combination organizations such as United Way.

* “Female-deciding” households are more likely to give to youth and family, health and international causes, while “male-deciding” households are more likely to give to religion, education and other causes.

* High net worth female-deciding households are more likely to give to youth and family services and religious causes, while male-deciding households are less likely to give to basic-needs organizations, and give lower amounts to those organizations.

* Single women spread out their giving more than do single men, although high net worth single women and men are similar in the concentration of their giving.

* Single women are more likely than single men to make women’s rights a priority, and less likely to make the economy and veterans’ issues a priority.

* Compared to couples that are “joint deciders,” a couple with the husband as sole decider is more likely to make the arts a priority as a social issue, while a couple with the wife as sole decider is more likely to make animal welfare a priority and less likely to make veterans’ issues a priority.

* Compared to joint deciders, a high net worth couple with the husband as sole decider is more likely to make the economy a key issue and less likely to make poverty a key issue, while a couple with the wife as sole decider is more likely to make human rights a priority.

Motivations for giving

* Single women are more likely than single men to cite their political or philosophical beliefs, and serving on a board or volunteering, as motivations for giving.

* In couples with the wife as sole decision-maker on giving, the household is more likely than joint-deciders to be motivated to give by spontaneously responding to a need, believing their gift makes a difference, and as a result of their political and philosophical beliefs, and less likely to be motivated by religious beliefs.

* In couples with the husband as sole decision-maker on giving, the household is less likely than joint-deciders to be motivated to give by setting an example for future generations, religious beliefs and the personal satisfaction of giving.

* For million-dollar donors’ gifts, individual women tend to mention “scholarship and “student” more than men do, reflecting a focus on the people their philanthropy can affect.

* Women are the only type of donor to have the term “unrestricted” appear in their top keywords.

* As women’s income rises, they become more likely than their male counterparts to give to charity.

Giving to secular and religious causes

* For the top 60 percent of income earners, women are more likely than their male counterparts to give to secular causes, and to give more.

* Millennial, Boomer and older women are more likely than their male counterparts to give in general and to secular causes.

* High net worth single women and single men do not differ significantly in their incidence of giving or the amount they give, either in total giving or in giving to religious or secular causes.

* A married person is more likely to give and to give more than a person who is not married.

* Single females are most likely to give to secular causes, and give more than do single men, married men and married women.

* Among high net worth households, being married does not increase the likelihood of giving, although married couples tend to give higher amounts overall and to secular causes than do single men and women.

* For giving to religious causes, households in which the husband is the sole decision-maker on giving are most likely to give.

* Compared to joint deciders, households in which the wife is the sole decision-maker on giving, and those with separate deciders, give less to to religious causes.

* Female-deciding households and and joint-deciding households are more likely to give to secular causes.

* Compared to joint-deciding households, only households in which men and women make giving decisions separately are statistically more likely to give higher amounts to secular causes.

* When either a wife or husband is a sole decision-maker, the amount of giving for religious purposes is lower than in jointly-deciding households.

Donors’ income and education levels

* A households in which the husband has unearned income from trusts or investments is significantly more likely to give to charity, while a household in which the wife has unearned income has no significant impact on whether the household will give to charity.

* An increase in men’s income tends to increase the likelihood and amount of giving to nearly every charitable subsector, while an increase in women’s income tends to increase the likelihood of giving to education, the environment, and organizations that address basic needs.

* The respective income of a husband or wife does not affect whether high income households give.

* The income of a high net worth husband is related to the amount of giving from the household, both overall and to secular giving.

* Education within a household generally does not affect the incidence or amount of giving for either the general population or high net worth households.

Todd Cohen

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Giving hits record-high $358 billion

Charitable giving in the U.S. grew to $358.38 billion in 2014, marking the fifth straight year of growth and exceeding its peak in 2007 before the economy collapsed, a new report says.

Individuals, corporations, foundations and bequests all gave more, says Giving USA 2015, a report from the Giving USA Foundation and researched and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Total giving grew 7.1 percent in current dollars and 5.4 percent adjusted for inflation from the revised estimate of $339.94 billion in 2013.

Giving to religion, education, human services, and health reached record highs when adjusted for inflation, as did giving to arts, culture and humanities, and to the environment and animals.

Giving to foundations, public-society benefit organizations, and international affairs has not returned to or exceeded peak levels.

Who gives

Individuals gave $258.51 billion, up 5.7 percent in current dollars, or 4 percent adjusted for inflation, accounting for 72 percent of all giving.

Foundations gave $53.97 billion, up 8.2 percent, or 6.5 percent adjusted, accounting for 19 percent of all giving.

Bequests gave $28.13 billion, up 15.5 percent, or 13.6 percent adjusted, accounting 8 percent of all giving.

Corporations gave $17.77 billion, up 13.7 percent, or 11.9 percent adjusted, accounting for 5 percent of all giving.

Individual giving

The 5.7 percent increase in giving by individuals represented 58 percent of the increase in all giving.

Including giving by bequests and family foundations, individuals accounted for nearly 90 percent of all giving.

Itemized giving grew six percent and accounted for 83 percent of the total estimate for giving by individuals, while giving by non-itemizing households grew 4.1 percent.

Individual giving is affected by available, disposable household income, by wealth and by growth in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock-market index, all of which grew last year, as did general spending by individuals, the Giving USA Foundation says.

Foundation giving

Grants by independent foundations grew 7.8 percent, accounting for 74 percent of giving by all foundations.

Grantmaking by community foundations grew 10.9 percent, while giving by operations foundations grew 8.1 percent.

Corporate giving

Corporate giving includes cash and in-kind contributions made through corporate-giving programs, as well as grants and gifts made by corporate foundations.

Corporate foundation grants totaled an estimated $5.34 billion, down 0.8 percent.

Where giving goes

Giving to religion totaled $114.9 billion in 2014, up 2.5 percent in current dollars from 2013, or 0.9 percent adjusted for inflation, accounting for 32 percent of all giving.

Giving to education totaled $54.62 billion, up 4.9 percent, or 3.2 percent adjusted, accounting for 12.7 percent of all giving.

Giving to human services totaled $42.1 billion, up 3.6 percent, or 1.9 percent adjusted, accounting for 11.7 percent of all giving.

Giving to health totaled $30.37 billion up 5.5 percent, or 3.8 percent adjusted, accounting for 8.5 percent of all giving.

Giving to arts, culture and humanities totaled $17.23 billion, up 9.2 percent, or 7.4 percent adjusted, accounting for 4.8 percent of all giving.

Giving to the environmental and animal organizations totaled $10.5 billion, up 7 percent, or 5.3 percent adjusted, accounting for 2.9 percent of all giving.

Giving to public-society benefit groups totaled $26.29 billion, up 5.1 percent, or 3.4 percent adjusted, accounting for 7.3 percent of all giving.

Giving to foundations totaled $41.62 billion, up 1.8 percent, or 0.1 percent adjusted, accounting for 11.6 percent of all giving.

Giving to international affairs totaled $15.1 billion, down 2 percent, or 3.6 percent adjusted, accounting for 4.2 percent of all giving.

Giving to individuals fell 10.2 percent to $6.42 billion, accounting for 2 percent of all giving. Giving to individuals consists mainly of in-kind donations of medication to patients in need through the Patient Assistance Programs of pharmaceutical companies’ operating foundations,

Giving to religion

While giving to religion grew to a new high of $114.9 billion and continued to account for the biggest share of overall giving, that share has declined steadily for 30 years. In 1987, giving to religion accounted for 53 percent of all giving, compared to 32 percent in 2014.

That decline reflects the fact that fewer Americans identify with religion, attend worship services, or give to houses of worship, the report says. Those trends, it says, have been noted among Baby Boomers, and are being seen among younger age groups.

Giving to donor-advised funds

Giving to the biggest national donor-advised funds slowed dramatically, the report said. That decline may have slighted reduced giving to public-society-benefit groups, the report says.

It also said giving to pass-through charities that redistribute their funds to other organizations had seen little or no growth in recent years.

Todd Cohen

Colleges’ characteristics linked to big gifts

Leaders’ tenure, board giving, and national ranking are associated with the number and value of million-dollar gifts to colleges and universities, a new study says.

Other key factors include a school’s age, its investment in employees, endowment size, enrollment, alumni giving, and the type and location of the institution, says the study the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and Johnson Grossnickle and Associates, a consulting firm to nonprofits.

Long-term presidents

Having a president in office since before 2000 was associated with receiving roughly 18 percent more million-dollar gifts for the years 2000 to 2012, says the study, which looked at education data for 1,449 schools that received publicly announced gifts of $1 million or more for the the period.

The study included in-depth interviews with donors and staff at three schools that had been effective at securing million-dollar gifts, including Arizona State University, DePauw University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

While previous research on million-dollar giving has focused on donors, the study says, it looked at characteristics of schools that consistently attract gifts of $1 million or more.

$90 billion in 12 years

Those schools received more than 10,500 gifts of that size during the period that were worth a combined total of over $90 billion, says the study, Million Dollar Ready: Assessing the Institutional Factors that Lead to Major Gifts.

Boards, rankings

An increase in average board giving also was associated with an increase in the number of million-dollar gifts received during the period.

And a national ranking in 2000, such as the “Best Colleges” report from U.S. News & World Report, was associated with a 61 percent increase in the number of million-dollar gifts a school received, and a 156 percent increase in the value of those gifts.

A big challenge

A major challenge for colleges and universities, the study says, is that fewer than one in three degree-granting institutions in the U.S. received a publicly announced gift of $1 million or more during the period studied, and far fewer received multiple million-dollar gifts.

Still, the study says, higher-education institutions receive more publicly announced gifts of $1 million or more than other types of nonprofits.

Age of institutions

Institutions founded before 1900 received more million-dollar gifts, and more total dollars from gifts that size, compared with institutions founded since 1900.

Institutions founded from 1900 to 1950 received about  13 percent fewer million-dollar gifts, and institutions founded since 1950 received 12 percent fewer, compared to the oldest schools.

Enrollment, alumni giving

The study says an increase of 1,000 enrolled students is associated with a 1 percent increase in the number of million-dollar gifts, and with a 2 percent increase in the total value of those gifts.

And a 10 percent increase in average alumni giving is associated with an increase of 0.7 percent in the number of million-dollar gifts

Yet small schools do attract big gifts, and alumni are not the sole source of big gifts, the study says.

DePauw, with only 2,300 students, received seven publicly announced gifts of $1 million or more more from 2000 to 2012, while Arizona State, with roughly 300,000 alumni, received 53 gifts at that level from people who did not attend the school, the study says.

Endowments, investment in people

The value of a school’s endowment corresponds to both the number of million-dollar gifts the school receives and the total value of those gifts, the study says.

And schools that invest in more tenured faculty and spend more on employee expenses are more likely to attract million-dollar gifts.

Type of institution and location

Liberal arts schools and doctoral or research institutions received more million-dollar gifts from 2000 to 2012, and higher total values of those gifts, than other schools, while historically black colleges and universities received fewer million-dollar gifts than other institutions.

Rural schools received 11 percent fewer gifts than non-rural schools, and schools in the South and West received more than those in the Northeast.

Todd Cohen

Wealthy donors give $19 billion, favor higher education

Nearly 1,250 individual and institutional donors in six regions of the world made nearly 2,000 gifts of $1 million or more totaling $19 billion in 2012, a new report says.

Institutions of higher education received the most funds, $7.05 billion, followed by foundations, which received $2.87 billion, says the Million Dollar Donors Report from Coutts and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Individuals gave 46 percent of total dollars donated in all six regions combined, including the U.S., Britain, Russia, the Middle East, China and Hong Kong, while foundations gave the most gifts in four of the six regions.

Donors mainly focused on giving to organizations in their home country, with gifts abroad accounting for just 5.6 percent of the total value of $1 million donations in all six regions.

In the Middle East, however, 71 percent of $1 million gifts went abroad.

The report also says many million-dollar donors want to establish foundations to formalize and sustain their philanthropy, and increasingly want to be “strategic” in their giving by establishing a clear mission or objectives, or to collaborate with other philanthropists.

That shift toward strategic giving, a well-established trend in the U.S. and Britain, also is a  growing trend in Hong Kong and Russia, and is an emerging trend in the Middle East and China, the report says.

Interest in social investment that aims to generate measurable social impact in addition to a financial return also is growing in China, Hong Kong, Britain and the U.S., it says.

In the U.S., donors made 1,408 gifts of $1 million or more that totaled $13.96 billion, representing fewer gifts and a smaller total than in 2011, although the average gift size grew to $9.9 million, the highest value since the recession began in late 2007.

Foundations gave 52 percent of gifts of $1 million or more in the U.S. in 2012, up from 35 percent in 2011, while the share of gifts that size given by individuals fell to 35 percent in 2012 from 45 percent in 2011.

Higher education institutions received the biggest share of gifts of $1 million or more in the U.S., accounting for 40 percent.

The report, the first by the two organizations, builds on the Million Pound Donors Report published since 2008 by Coutts, the London-based wealth division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and the Million Dollar List published by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

The new study, conducted by the school, tracks 1,955 donations from 1,249 donors, and is based on data collected by institutional partners in each country from a combination of publicly available sources and, in some cases, from surveys of prominent donors and charities.

Todd Cohen

Most U.S. giving tied to religion

Religion drives charitable giving by U.S. households, with religious groups getting most of the money, and religious motivation stimulating most of the giving, a new report says.

Seventy-three percent of household giving goes to religious groups, including 41 percent to congregations and 32 percent to religious charities, says Connected to Give: Faith Communities, a report from Jumpstart and the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

In comparison, 27 percent goes to charities that are not identified as religious.

The report, conducted with GBA Strategies and based on a survey of 4,862 American households of various religious traditions, also finds that Americans with religious or spiritual orientations give at higher rates than those without those orientations.

Americans affiliated with different religious traditions give at similar rates to one another, and over half of Americans who give say their commitment to religion is a key motivation for their charitable giving.

“The implications are clear for all types of charitable organizations, whether or not they have religious ties,” Mark Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of economic and philanthropic studies at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, says in a statement. “They should pay attention to the religious orientations of their donors.”

Religious charities also should consider finding “ways to connect with non-religious donors who share an interest in their charitable purpose,” he says. “And organizations that think of themselves as non-sectarian may find that many of their donors have strong faith-based motivations to support their work.”

Who gives

Donors who give to congregations allocate 80 percent of their overall charitable dollars to groups with religious ties, including 48 percent to congregations and 32 percent to religious charities.

Among donors who make gifts for non-religious purposes, 69 percent of their charitable dollars support organizations with religious ties, including 39 percent for congregations and 30 percent for religious charities.

Non-religious charities

Although nearly three-fourths of charitable dollars given by households goes to religious groups, a larger number of Americans give to groups that are not identified as religious than to congregations or religious charities, the report says, with 53 percent giving to non-religious charities, and 44 percent each giving to congregations and to religious charities.

In 2012, 63 percent of all Americans gave to congregations or religious charities, with a median gift amount of $660, including a median gift of $375 to congregations and $150 to religious charities.

Among those giving to non-religious charities, the median gift was $250.

Implications

The report says non-religious charities might consider how to “diversify and segment their stakeholder base, explicitly making room for those with religious motivations alongside people who do not consider themselves religious.”

It also says that religious charities seeking support from non-religious donors might consider “benchmarking their outcomes,” compared to non-religious charities in the same field, rather than within religious communities.

Religious charities also might consider “how they communicate with people who are not traditionally or conventionally religious,” the report says.

It also says the U.S. nonprofit and philanthropic sector “would benefit from greater attention and sensitivity to the connections between religious identity and charitable giving, especially in professional education and training.”

Mixed giving

For most charitable purposes, donors give both to religious charities and non-religious charities rather than only to one type or the other, the report says.

Across all charitable purposes, 39 percent of Americans give both to religious and non-religious charities, while 5 percent give only to religious charities and 15 percent give only to non-religious charities.

Religious orientation

Americans with religious or spiritual orientations give at higher rates mainly because they give more to religious charities, the report says.

Among the 80 percent of Americans who formally identify with a religious tradition, 65 percent give to congregations or charities, compared to 56 percent of Americans who do not formally identify with a religion.

Americans affiliated with a religion give to congregations at three times the rate of those not affiliated with a religion.

Spirituality

Sixty percent of Americans think of themselves as religious and 18 percent think of themselves as spiritual but not religious, while 22 percent think of themselves as neither religious or spiritual, the report says.

Giving rates to congregations, religious charities and non-religious charities are highest among those who see themselves as religious, followed by those who see themselves as spiritual but not religious, and then those who see themselves as neither religious or spiritual.

Importance of religion

Forty-one percent of Americans say religion is very important to them, and 74 percent of them give to congregations or charities, while 25 percent say religion is somewhat important, and 60 percent of them give to congregations or charities.

Among Americans for whom religion is not important, 52 percent give.

Attendance at religious services

Among the 36 percent of Americans who attend religious services at least once a month, 79 percent give to congregations or charities, compared to 55 percent who give among those who attend religious services less frequently or not at all.

Different religious traditions

The report finds no significant differences overall in giving rates to congregations and charities among the give biggest religious groups the report analyzes — Black Protestants, Evangelical Protestants, Jews, Mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics — except that Jews give at lower rates to congregations.

And Americans across all different religious traditions give similarly across all charitable purposes, with a small number of exceptions where affiliates of certain religious traditions give at higher rates compared to those who are not affiliated.

Income level

The report finds no clear pattern of relationships between, on the one hand, religious identity and giving, and on the other, demographic categories such as income and age.

As household income rises, for example, the biggest increases in giving raters are to non-religious charities.

Lower-income Americans give to congregations, religious charities and non-religious charities at relatively consistent rates.

Giving rates to congregations and religious charities are similar among Americans with household incomes of $50,000 to $100,000 and those with household incomes of $100,000 or more.

Both those groups are more likely to give to congregations and religious charities than are Americans with household incomes below $50,000.

Those with household incomes above $100,000 are more likely to give to non-religious charities than those with lower household incomes.

Age and giving

Among people under age 40, higher incomes are associated with higher giving rates to congregations and non-religious charities, while giving rates to congregations increase with age among households with lower incomes, the report says.

Giving rates to religious charities are similar across age groups, although giving to congregations and non-religious charities increases with age.

Americans age 65 and older are more likely to give to congregations and non-religious charities than are those age 64 and younger.

Americans of all age groups, especially those age 65 and older, give at higher rates to congregations than to basic needs charities and “combined-purpose” religious charities — the two categories most popular among all Americans.

Age and religious affiliation 

Americans under age 64 who are affiliated with a religious tradition are less likely than those over 64 to give to congregations and religious charities, the report says.

And while non-affiliated Americans under 64 also are less likely than those over 64 to give to non-religious charities, they are more than twice as likely to give to congregations and religious charities.

Thirty-four percent of non-affiliated Americans under age 40 gave to a religious charity in 2012, compared with 15 percent of those age 65 and older.

Non-affiliated Americans under age 65 give to combined-purpose religious charities at more than twice the rate of those 65 and older.

Non-affiliated Americans age 65 and older give to basic-needs non-religious charities at higher rates than those under age 40 or age 40 to 64.

Religious motivation for giving

More than half of Americans who give say their commitment to religion is an important or very important motivation for their charitable giving, the report says.

Fifty-five percent of Americans who give say they are motivated to give by their commitment to their religious affiliation, 55 percent say they are motivated because they feel they should help others who have less, and 57 percent say they are motivated because they can make change and impact through their giving.

Far fewer are motivated to give as a result of expectations at work, because they were asked by a friend or associate, or because it is an expectation of their social network.

Todd Cohen

Companies tie giving abroad to bottom line, local needs

Local needs and corporate financial performance in countries in which they do business are the main factors that drive U.S. companies to make social invests abroad, a new study says.

Eighty-six percent of companies that gave internationally say they plan to increase or maintain the size of their foreign giving budget, says the study, commissioned by Global Impact and prepared by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

In creating their giving programs, the study says, companies typically align their business goals and the “charitable priorities of their stakeholders.”

They also look for nonprofit partners that match their own philanthropic goals in the areas of mission, geographic service area, and focus area.

A “demonstrated record of producing effective and efficient results” is the top attribute companies look for when selecting a nonprofit partner, the study says.

Companies also consider a nonprofit’s accountability, reputation, as well as its size and capacity, the study says.

Resources that companies said they need to expand or strengthen their international philanthropic commitments include assistance with screening potential nonprofit partners, and with developing strategies to engage employees in global partnerships.

The study also found that 20 percent of 27 companies that donated internationally gave only in developing countries; Asia and the Pacific Rim drew the most attention from companies that donated internationally, with a majority giving in the region; and companies with a larger share of their sales revenue coming from overseas made even more international gifts and gave more money internationally at the level of $1 million or more between 2000 and 2010, compared to companies with over 90 percent of sales revenue from the U.S.

The research was based on secondary research on Fortune 100 companies; an online survey of 59 Fortune 500 companies; and in-depth interviewed with four major U.S.-based companies.

Todd Cohen