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Research and data clearly shows that women are more philanthropic than their male counterparts. Not only do they donate more generously; they also donate to a greater number of causes. As such, financial advisers are more conscious of how female philanthropists differ from males. For example, data shows that women have a more emotional response to the causes that they invest in and, as a result, they tend to also give time as well as money.

There are more and more female philanthropists, which is in part due to higher salaries for women, as well as the fact that many women remain single for a greater period of time and their life expectancy is longer, which sees women inheriting a greater share of the nation’s wealth.

The wealthiest female philanthropists have shown growing interest in transposing their philanthropic philosophy to their investment strategy, meaning that both are governed by the same set of values. Called ‘impact investing’, it is women who are driving the shift towards more philanthropically-minded investments. For more information about impact investing, please refer to the attached PDF.

According to the US Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Survey in 2017, women are 33% more likely to use their investments as a continuation of their political, social and environmental values than male investors. Women have also shown that they are more willing to compromise on returns on their investments in order to embrace impact investments, which are underperforming in indexes such as the S&P 500. For further details, please refer to the attached infographic.

The same study also found that only 10% of men own an impact investment, compared with 18% of female investors. For further discussion on the pros and cons of impact investments, please refer to the embedded video.

A Lack of Confidence

Advisers working with female philanthropists report that these women often require advice when deciding which gifting vehicle is the most beneficial. Where 64% of men report that they feel confident when choosing which assets should be donated to charity, only 54% of women report feeling confident about their choices, according to a survey of 3,254 Fidelity Charitable donors. Similarly, 52% of male donors feel confident about which tax strategy to choose when gifting, compared with 40% of women.

Some advisers explain the differing confidence levels between men and women as a reflection of women’s disinterest in the tax benefits and personal financial gains of their donations. Instead of placing importance on taxes, female donors are more interested in their values and motivations and how their donations can have a truly positive impact. The effect of the female philanthropist’s holistic mindset is that the decision process tends to take longer, as the financial and social impact is much more highly prized.

Research shows that women tend to donate to several causes rather than just one. Joey Horn believes that most women want to be engaged with the causes they support, where they feel that they can make a difference. Joey Horn supports a number of charities including Harvard Art Fellows, Mothers2Mothers, Right to Play and The Clark Art Institute.

Plan for Giving

Advisers are finding that they can help their female clients to create well-structured plans for giving, and that women prefer to embark on in-depth research into each of the charities and organisations that they may donate to. In fact, this seems to be another point of differentiation between men and women, as many more women seem to value research on charitable organisations before making a donation or adding them to their giving plan. Data from the Fidelity Charitable survey shows that 61% of women search for information on charity rating services, whereas only 47% of men do the same.

Female donors do not just rely on research and ratings when choosing a charity to donate to, they are also much more likely to ask for help from an adviser. Around 12% of women use an adviser to help them find the right organisation, which is double that of men, where only 6% request an adviser’s services.

Advisers are now able to use their position to help women – and, indeed, the entire family – become more involved in a family foundation. Anecdotally, these advisers report that they find themselves becoming the mediator to broker a deal between the sexes.