Millennial and Boomer Women Give Differently, Report Finds

When it comes to giving to charity, millennial women listen more to their hearts and social networks and embrace new ways of giving than do boomer women, a report from Fidelity Charitable finds.

Based on a survey of 3,254 individuals, including 1,706 women, who itemized charitable deductions made in 2015, the report, Women and Giving: The Impact of Generation and Gender on Philanthropy (24 pages, PDF), found that 75 percent of millennial women said they were motivated more by their emotions than their heads when giving, and that 71 percent often were motivated to give in the moment, compared with 62 percent and 48 percent of boomer women. Millennial women also were more likely to include conversations about philanthropy in their social relationships, with 51 percent saying they have encouraged others to donate to the same organizations they support, and 46 percent saying they've used discussions and events related to charitable giving to deepen their relationships with their partners, compared with 30 percent and 16 percent of boomer women.

In addition, younger women were more likely to engage in less traditional types of giving, including purchasing products from a socially responsible business, giving money directly to an individual in need who is neither a friend nor a family member, donating through a crowdfunding or online giving platform, and/or participating in a giving circle. The survey also found that millennial women were more likely than boomer women to support a wide variety of causes (55 percent vs. 33 percent), with two-thirds of boomer women saying they supported a limited number of causes. The top priority issue for both generations of women was hunger and access to nutritious food, followed, among millennial women, by expanding access to basic health services, protecting the environment, and developing treatments or cures for a disease. Among boomer women, developing treatments or cures for a disease was the second-most mentioned priority, followed by expanding access to basic health services. In addition, millennial women were more likely to list creating opportunities for women and girls as a priority (21 percent vs. 10 percent) and to support international causes (52 percent vs. 38 percent).

According to the report, while seven in ten boomer women and men said they were satisfied with their giving, only 55 percent of millennial women and 63 percent of millennial men were satisfied, even though millennial women expressed greater confidence in their giving decisions than their male counterparts. Based on a separate survey of eight hundred and fifty-five Fidelity Charitable donors, including three hundred and sixty-five women, the report found that women were more likely than men to take advice on giving from charity rating services and experts on a particular cause or issue, whereas men were more likely to consult family members, friends, or religious leaders.

"Our study shows that a commitment to giving back is a thread that runs through women's lives," said Fidelity Charitable president Pamela Norley. "Giving is a tremendous source of fulfillment as you discover how to best put your time, talent, and treasure to work to make a difference. It's also a reminder of how much we can learn from each other that can help us grow our impact."