The Pentera Blog

Wealthy Women Donors Will Go Public About Their Gifts in Order to Inspire Others

Planned giving officers regularly deal with donors who are reluctant to go public with their charitable gifts through donor stories and other publicity. Now a new study on wealthy women donors supports the strategy of convincing donors that they can help generate other gifts by letting their stories be told.

Giving by and for Women: Understanding High-Net-Worth Donors’ Support for Women and Girls was published earlier this year by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The study conducted in-depth interviews with 23 women who have given more than a million dollars to nonprofits serving women and girls. Although the study was not about planned giving, one finding seemed particularly relevant to the industry:

“Some women shared how their discomfort with being identified as a major donor changed as they came to understand they had an opportunity to influence others, or be hyper-agents, by attaching their name to their gifts and getting other people to take action as well.”

The study quoted one donor as saying, “[I] didn’t want to go public ... but then they told me there was somebody younger than me who wanted to give a million-dollar gift, so I should announce it so that she would feel comfortable giving.”

The study said that the women did not want recognition designed to enhance their own status. That finding is consistent with recent research conducted by Pentera on donor stories appearing in client planned giving marketing materials. Women donors were found to be much more likely to make tribute gifts in honor of loved ones rather than to make gifts in their own names.

An article about Giving by and for Women and links to the complete report and an infographic are available here.