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Eight Lessons for Working with Female Prospects and Donors

January 13th, 2010 Posted in Fundraising

Eight lessons for working with female prospects, donors

A growing body of research suggests that women give in different ways and for different reasons than men. “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus” holds true in philanthropy as well as many other areas, according to the latest issue of Perspectives on Canadian Philanthropy from The Offord Group. U.S. partner Martha Keates sums up the differences in these eight lessons for fundraising practitioners:

  1. Women’s leadership in philanthropy is well-established. Many of the female philanthropists a century ago behave just like female philanthropists now.
  2. Women have to be entrepreneurial to get around systemic barriers in their professions and their philanthropy. Keates says that as a result, women find entrepreneurial problem-solving approaches very appealing. Look for ways in which giving to your organization can address their entrepreneurial interests and passions.
  3. Women often work collaboratively and seek the opinions of others. Be sure to include and respect the opinions of those in your donor’s close network.
  4. Women consider volunteering an equal means of giving, so don’t differentiate between giving time and skills and giving money. Getting women involved in your organization is a significant step towards cultivating a major gift.
  5. Women’s volunteering will lead to giving when women see, feel, experience and imagine the change their involvement can make.
  6. Women often control the purchasing power in a household. Whenever possible, include the spouse of a male donor or prospect when you’re cultivating and negotiating gifts. Include the spouses in feasibility study interviews too.
  7. Women value education and are over-represented in the higher categories of giving to top colleges. They will respond strongly to opportunities to support education for women and girls.
  8. A major gift is not just a transaction for women. It is an experience that requires time for reflection.

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