Giving More Than Money: How Women Are Changing Philanthropy

Women are pushing the conversation about what it means to be philanthropic.

As women, many of us are philanthropists at heart—sacrificing our time, talents, and resources to support what we care about. In 2023, the idea of what a philanthropist looks like is on the verge of transformation, with women gaining financial power and becoming more charitably inclined than the men alongside them.

Women across the entire globe, regardless of income level, race, ethnicity, and age are now more likely to give—and give more. (Source: Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI.) This fact combined with the growing financial power of women presents society’s opportunity to harness the power in showing up and advocating for good, says Jeannie Sager, the institute’s director.

(Source: IUPUI)

“Giving for most people, men included, is a means by which to articulate your values, but it’s almost even more so for women, because so much of their giving is based on empathy for others and understanding outcomes,” Sager says. “[Historically], women haven’t been super public about their giving, and in some ways, it had a lot to do with their relationship with money.”

Everything starts with a (financial) plan

Charitable giving is part of the wealth planning process at InVestra Financial, including the financial goals clients set. Some opt to ‘sprinkle’ donations among multiple charities, but the increasing trend now, especially for women with wealth, is shifting toward making a larger impact. Our planning process focuses on zeroing in on what causes really matter to our clients and helping women understand where they can make the biggest impact. In addition to directing donations to certain programs or organizations, those who give large gifts can request metrics to see how their donations help bring change in real time!

Women seldom have to be encouraged to discuss their plans for charitable giving. Our Wealth Advisors are here to develop the right solutions for women who want to incorporate charitable giving into their financial plan, as well as estate planning, retirement planning, and making a plan to create generational wealth for clients’ heirs.

Charitable Giving looks different to everyone. InVestra works with clients to refine their plans for philanthropy. Conversations with clients help develop a giving effort focused on a small number of charities, rather than writing 20 checks for a smaller amount. When you have a plan, you can be more impactful.

Champions of charity

Recently 100 female Dartmouth College in New Hampshire alumni gave $1 million each to the school. With the 50th anniversary of Title IX in 2022, women who once played college sports have donated millions to upgrade facilities and endow scholarships and coaching positions at their alma maters to give female athletes greater opportunities! In other recent news, Carol Roberts, former CFO for International Paper, donated $4 million to help build a field house at Yale University, where she played field hockey and softball in the 1970s.

Of course, there are smaller ways that women can lead and step up for the causes closest to their hearts. Best of all, women can do the same in building a legacy for philanthropy in their own families. One way to do that is to create a donor-advised fund that they can use to involve their children and even grandchildren to help them choose charities to receive donations.”

What are women of the world doing? You can do it too!

Even if they don’t make a large or public display of giving, women often view their wealth as vehicles for change. According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit Co., twice as many high-net-worth women under the age of thirty-five in the U.S. cite the ability to create change through charitable giving as a top definition of wealth.

The top three causes that women-dominant giving circles support are human services, women and girls, and education, according to research by the New York Women’s Foundation.

Women are stepping out of the shadows to be recognized for their giving. By adding ‘philanthropist’ as a key part of their identity, women can begin to redefine how people view being charitable and push the conversation about what it means to be philanthropic.