The Pentera Blog

Higher-Wealth Parents Influence Charity by Daughters Much More Than Sons

Adult daughters of higher-wealth parents are much more likely to give to charity if their parents give, whereas adult sons' charity does not depend on their parents' giving. That gender difference is one of the key findings of Women Give 2018, a study released in March by the Women's Philanthropy Institute of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

While the study is about annual giving rather than planned giving, the philanthropic behavior of higher-wealth families is frequently relevant to planned giving because wealth is a key indicator of making a planned gift. This study, which uses data from the longest-running study of philanthropy in the United States (the Philanthropy Panel Study), defines higher-wealth as having assets of $100,000 or more—well below the definitions of wealth that are used in many recent studies.

The study found that 92% of adult daughters give to charity when their higher-wealth parents give—but that giving by adult daughters falls off by 27 percentage points (to 65%) when their higher-wealth parents do not give. For adult sons the giving rate stays at 87.5% whether their higher-wealth parents give or not. More daughters than sons give when their higher-wealth parents give, but more sons than daughters give when their higher-wealth parents do not give.

Giving by Adult Children of Parents with $100,000 or More in Assets
Source: Women Give 2018

"This is a statistically significant gender effect," the study authors wrote. "Whether parents give, and how frequently they give, may be more strongly linked to their daughters' giving because daughters are receiving different messages or because daughters are responding to the same messages in different ways."

The gender difference was not nearly as pronounced when the parents' wealth was under $100,000. The complete study and an infographic about it are available for download here.