Australians play an important role in philanthropic decisions
A new report suggests it’s time to change the traditional view of what makes a philanthropist and who holds the purse strings. Hint: It’s not always the men.
When Kim Downes started her career as a fundraiser 32 years ago, she was taught to approach the man of the house because he was the decision maker and breadwinner.
Things are a little different these days, but the experience has led Downes to research the role and influence of Australian women in philanthropy.
In his role as philanthropy and fundraising strategist, Downes has spent the past 12 months independently researching the role and influence of Australian women in philanthropy.
Inspiration for this research, which will be published in July in partnership with JBWere, came from a course “Engaging Women as Donors” that she took at the Indiana School of Philanthropy.
Downes told Pro Bono News the course was fascinating and blew all the preconceived psychology behind fundraising out of the water.
“In fundraising, we are taught practices that consist mainly of approaching the man of the house because he is the decision-maker and the breadwinner. But that’s no longer true, and we haven’t changed over time, ”she said.
“Since the 1980s, women have returned to the workforce, we earn our own money and have the power to decide where that money goes. ”
Downes is quick to point out that even if you look at a household from a non-philanthropic perspective, it’s the women who make the decisions.
“It’s the women who decide which car to buy, what appliances they want, what school the children go to and what neighborhood they want to live in,” she said.
“So why shouldn’t they also be the source of philanthropic decisions? ”
His research confirms this point. He found that 77 percent of women said they shape or guide their family’s philanthropic giving.
The change of generation
With the greatest generational ever wealth transfer en route, Australia’s philanthropic sector will soon see a shift in the makeup of money holders, which Downes recognizes as a potential shift.
“When you have women in their 70s or 80s, you see that they have a different relationship with money because they haven’t earned it. When they inherit a fortune, they tend to feel obligated to give it as their husbands would have liked, ”she told Pro Bono News.
“For those of us in our 40s and 50s, we worked and contributed equally to the household. We have issues that are important to us and so this is where we choose to put our money. ”
When asked in Downes’ research women what motivates them to give, 50 percent said it had to be something they personally relate to and 30 percent said it had to be related to a cause (most likely a cause of seizure).
Women do not relate to the word philanthropy
A key finding of Downes’ research concerned the reactions of women to the words “philanthropy” and “philanthropist”.
“No one seemed to care. It’s like it’s from another time, ”she said.
“Australian women are calm and humble in their giving and don’t see it as anything special… just something that should be done. “
Downes believes feeling uncomfortable around the term is Australian idiosyncrasy, as she has found the opposite to be true in the UK and US.
“I don’t know if this is the big poppy syndrome, but I think Australian organizations really need to celebrate philanthropy more, they need to celebrate their volunteers and use the word philanthropy when speaking to people. people, ”she said.
“I was talking to a woman who told me that while her children, who were in their twenties, volunteered and were on committees, she felt like they couldn’t think of themselves as philanthropists because ‘They only gave $ 50 or less to organizations.
“It has been clear that somehow we have to educate people that if they donate their time, their money, their skills or all three, then they are leading real philanthropists. The amount given does not matter.
The report found:
- Women want to give back and want to teach their children to be thankful for what they have.
- 75 percent of women want to understand the needs of the community and then do something about it.
- 60% of women have been introduced to philanthropy by their family; 25 percent volunteering and only 1 percent donating circles.
- 77% of women said they shape or guide their family’s philanthropic giving.
- Social responsibility and compassion were the two biggest things women want their families to learn.
- Over 70 percent of women said they volunteer … but less than 40 percent of them sit on boards.
- When asked what motivates them to give, 50 percent said it had to be something they were personally related to and 30 percent said it had to be related to a cause ( most likely cause of the seizure).