Women in Philanthropy

Women in Philanthropy

Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took his twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons;  Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples. (Luke 8:1-4, NLT)

Throughout history, women have played an essential role in generosity. Dating back to the biblical narrative, we can trace the role women have played in giving from the first century through the modern missionary movement all the way to today. Women have always had the reputation of giving from their resources to expand God’s Kingdom. As you know, March is Women’s History Month, so we decided to highlight the importance of women in philanthropy. Here are ten insights regarding women in philanthropy from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute from the Lilly Institute of Philanthropy of Indiana University. Check out the current research:

  1. 62% of women are the primary sources of household wealth.
  2. 40% of women outearn their husbands.
  3. 47% of businesses are owned by women.
  4. Women will inherit $28 trillion in the next 40 years.
  5. Women currently own 40% of all wealth, and by 2030, women will control ⅔ of all of our nation’s wealth.
  6. 92% of women are the sole or equal partner in marital decisions about giving. Younger wives tend to be more involved in giving decisions than their older counterparts.
  7. Women give 3.5% of their income annually, while men give 1.8%.
  8. Women give based on empathy and meeting human needs, while men may be more motivated by self interests, such as tax savings.
  9. Men are inspired when they make an initial gift, while women are inspired when they increase giving to a cause to which they are committed.
  10. Women enjoy pooling their giving with others. For example, women enjoy giving circles where decisions are jointly made about giving. Women are more likely to use impact investing as a giving strategy.

What can church leaders do to recognize and acknowledge the wealth capacity, the earning power, and the generosity of women? What are some best practices about engaging women in generosity? We interviewed Keevan Kosidowski, Director of Giving Ministry at Hosanna Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and asked her for her response to this important question. Here are four key takeaways that she shared about how to engage women in generosity.

Always Include Spouses In Giving Education, Conversations, and Appeals

First, churches should always include spouses in giving education, conversations and appeals. It is important that your database is organized in a way that doesn’t exclude female spouses who are not listed as “head of household.” Churches can be unintentionally paternalistic which may make some women feel invisible or unseen.

Include Women in Key Leadership Roles

Second, include women in key leadership roles in your Legacy Impact Ministry. Make sure women have a seat at the table when setting strategy and shaping the messaging about giving, especially when it concerns special initiatives, capital campaigns, and even sermon series.

Diversify Communication Strategies

Next, diversify your communication strategies so they are inclusive of all women, including women of color. Be sure to use inclusive language, and don’t assume all women are married. Some of your most generous women may be single or widows. It is important that sermons and offering moments avoid stereotypes about men handling all decisions about money and giving.

Help Women Connect to Causes

Finally, help women connect to causes they care about through volunteerism. Invite them to become “hands on.” The hand and the heart are organically connected. When the heart is open, the open hand will follow.

Learn more about connecting with your female givers, watch this candid discussion with Keevan Kosidowski, Director of the Giving Ministry at Hosanna Church, and Jessica Furlong, Director of Stewardship at NorthRidge Church.