Giving Patterns and Motivations of High-Level Donors

Women differ from men in motivations for and patterns of philanthropy according to The Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2011 Study of High Net Worth Women’s Philanthropy. In almost 90 percent of high-net-worth households, women were the sole decision-maker or had an equal voice in decisions around charitable gifts, and data indicate their motivations differ significantly from those of their male counterparts.

Women were more likely to make a gift when they felt it would “make a difference” as well as trusted the nonprofit to make good use of their donations in the community. Women were also more likely (66 percent) than men (50 percent) to give to an organization if they also volunteered there, and more women (over 86 percent) reported volunteering than men (78 percent). Approximately half of the women reported having trust in nonprofits to best address problems both at home and abroad compared to the one-third (33 percent) of men who felt the same.

Additional data on philanthropic motivations and patterns of wealthy donors – including reasons for ending support – are discussed in the report (prepared by The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University) available online at the Bank of America website.