What Women Want
Woolbright cites an experience at Hollins, a private, women’s liberal-arts college in Roanoke, VA, where a beloved campus beechtree was struck by lightning. A local artist came out and carved bowls out of the dead wood — a creative way to save the college landmark. The development office gave the bowls to some of its alumni who had given at larger levels.
“We gave the unique gift out selectively,” Woolbright says. “Everyone who received it was just thrilled because they knew it was something personal.”
Family and community
While Woolbright and the development team at Hollins adeptly pinpointed the desires of its female contributors, Tracie Christensen, executive director of development at the University of California, Los Angeles, has drawn some interesting conclusions of her own about women donors.
Christensen also serves as co-executive director of Women and Philanthropy at UCLA, a program that promotes women’s representation as major donors, leaders and decision makers. Among its many goals, the Women and Phil-anthropy program trains women to assume leadership roles on campus, mentors the next generation of women philanthropists, supports programs that reflect the varied interests of women and, ultimately, advocates women’s leadership at UCLA.
“We have found that the role of family is very important to women [who give to UCLA],” Chris-tensen says. “Among their many motivations for giving, women of means often look for mechanisms within an organization to participate with their children, to educate them on how to be philanthropic.”
Over the past ten years, one of the major differences in the composition of UCLA donors is their motivations for giving.
“Ten years ago, women would tell us that they gave strictly out of passion,” says Christensen, who also presented at CASE’s Online Speaker Series. “There are more women today who understand that often times your level of giving directly relates to having a seat at the table.”