Friday, March 8, 2013

Women Get Less But Give More

With it being International Women's Day I had been trying to think of an approach to celebrate women here where the goal is to celebrate when men do good. Then as many things do, the correct approach came organically. Today I met with a friend to discuss the Well-Met Men project. I talked about one of my main reasons for doing this, that as a male who volunteers I have always felt that we are in the minority in philanthropy and wanted to inspire men to bridge the gap. After meeting I returned to my office to look up some information to send to the friend as follow-up and found this article in TIME Magazine, that reports a study showing women are more generous givers than men.

Eureka!


There is never a better way to get men going than competition, and showing they are down in the count, behind on the scoreboard -  pick your analogy - may be just the kick in the pants they need to join me in my efforts to increase our efforts.

Well, per the study, though we all know women are behind men in salary they are also much better givers than men, as much as 40% better at giving. No matter their income level, women not only are more likely to make donations, those donations are likely to be larger as well. It turns out that like the poster, women can indeed do it, especially when it comes to supporting charities. The numbers are staggering, in families with an income of at least $103,000 when control the checkbook they give less than $1,000 while a woman will give nearly double - that's right, double.

You go girls! OK, now let's go get 'em guys.

How do we turn this around, at least make it equal?

In the article, Dr. Debra Mesch director of Women's Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana who did the research says that 'not enough nonprofits have discovered the strength of targeting female givers and that there is room for research.' When women are the larger givers wouldn't you want to do what I am doing - find out how to increase men's participation? I personally feel that one reason women are bigger givers is they are already targeted more. Just look at the types of campaigns and events for fundraising. Far more than half, in fact a majority, of fundraising events are less than man-friendly events like walks which cater to families, auctions where most of the items are geared more towards a female audience, wine-tastings, fashion shows, I could go on. Sure there are golf outings, sports ticket give-aways, and others with a male focus. But what we need are more things like beer tastings, chili cook-offs, motorcycle and auto shows, and so on.

I always ask myself the chicken-before-the-egg question. Are there less man-friendly events because there are less men involved, or are less men involved because there are less man-friendly events? In the end it doesn't matter. Someone has to  make the change and that is the goal of Well-Met Men. Starting with my hometown of Milwaukee I want to consult with other organizations on how to gear their message towards men. And at the same time work with men to get them involved. With a two-headed approach addressing either scenario we can show that men indeed can do it too.

If we get more men involved they will make more events for men which will get even more men involved. Or if we make more events for men more men will get involved and make even more events for men.

Someone just has to make the first steps...

I could keep going, list more stats on say volunteering versus giving and more plans, but it's almost the end of International Women's Day and while it's still here let's celebrate them for the many things they do - including giving better than men.