This is part two in a two-part series on women in philanthropy. Read part one here.
Frequently, charitable giving by women, directly or through women’s funds, focuses on improving the quality of life and opportunity for girls and women. Women have long understood that the key to building and raising up communities is through empowering and educating their women, and philanthropic investments in women and girls can fuel positive change in communities around the world. Women philanthropists also have an opportunity to lead the way to more equitable giving to ensure nonprofits serving the most vulnerable are not only adequately funded, but that the lived experiences of communities of color are represented and prioritized.
Second, technology has spurred women’s philanthropic giving. Digital platforms inspire trust, provide ways to engage more diverse donors, and foster communities, especially among women donors who tend to define philanthropy beyond dollars and give back through donating their time and shared stories.
That being said, on digital platforms and social media, women give nearly 2/3 of online gifts and between 53 and 61% of total dollars. Women also give 60-70% of dollar to women’s and girls’ causes online. Additionally, women have been the driving force of increased giving during the COVID-19 pandemic, as they continued a pre-pandemic trend of increasing and expanding their scope of support.
A third trend of interest is impact. As donors, women want to make sure that we are making smart investments through our giving, that organizations will use our money wisely, and that our gift – no matter how big or small – will make an impact. In addition, women are using impact investing to complement traditional philanthropy and increasingly organizing collective power through giving circles.
Years ago, I made my all-girls alma mater Stoneleigh-Burnham my personal philanthropic priority simply because I knew that if I gave to SBS, my contribution would ensure that many more girls have the SBS experience and that my gift would really make a difference. The areas that I care most about supporting through my contributions to Stoneleigh-Burnham are renovation and capital projects, improving faculty salaries, and enhancing student experience. As a woman and an SBS alumna, I have an incredible opportunity to make a tremendous impact to ensure the future of all-girls’ education. I see this as seeding future leadership, and that flows into all the issues I care about.
What’s your philanthropic priority and how can you make a difference?