The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy focused their 2014 research, Women Give 2014, on the impact of religion as a key influencer of women’s philanthropy. Religiosity has long been seen as a key influencer for individual charitable giving but what about the impact of both religion and gender on philanthropic giving?
Traditionally, for both genders, research has shown that those engaged in religion are more likely to give and also give more to charity than those reporting no religious affiliation. This research has begun to cause some caution in the nonprofit sector considering the decline in religious affiliation, especially in the younger generations.
Today, nearly 1/3 of Americans under the age of 30 reportedly have no religious affiliation. Yet, in the recent Women Give 2014 research, women’s giving patterns may shed some new light on this trend.
The new research shows that younger women (age 44 and under) who are not religiously affiliated give approximately twice the amount to charity than the same gender cohort who are religiously affiliated but rarely attend services. In addition, this group gives approximately twice as much to charity than their male counterparts in their same age group. And, perhaps even more interesting, this group of women gives more than 2.5 times the amount to charity than middle-age and older women.
Women Give 2014 suggests that the trend of declining religious affiliation does not necessarily mean a decline in giving to charitable organizations. Instead, this research further reinforces the themes that our nonprofits need to focus efforts on reaching out to younger donors and women as philanthropic leaders of today and the future.