In this season of giving, charities are getting a wakeup call about just who in high-net-worth households is writing the checks and why they write them. According to a recent Bank of America/Merrill Lynch survey, in almost all high-net-worth households (90 percent), women are either equal partners or the sole decision-makers when it comes to that household’s charitable giving. High net worth was defined as having an income of $200,000 or more. The survey was designed to “quantify the philanthropic clout that women have” and indicated that in order to successfully solicit charitable donations, charities need to communicate clearly exactly what type of impact a gift will make. According to the survey, women not only tend to control charitable giving in their households but also tend to stop giving to charities if they are not able to be involved or if they feel that they are being solicited too frequently or asked for “inappropriate” sums. Men, on the other hand, tend to give to the same charities year after year and are unlikely to respond to frequent solicitations by stopping donations.
According to other research by the Center for Philanthropy at Indiana University, women are likely to “oversee more than $41 trillion passed from generation to generation” in the next 50 years because they live longer than men. In order for charities to receive a portion of those funds, it is important to convey that the act of giving will enable the giver to “do more together than we ever could do alone,: says director of the San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF), Tracy Johnson. SDWF awards grants of $250,000 or more each year. The grants are funded by $2,000 donations by members over the course of five years.
How do you make decisions about your own charitable giving?
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