Do You Know What Boys Want?
Men are a somewhat forgotten demographic in the fundraising world. Nonprofits have long created campaigns that target women, minorities or other specific groups, but men seem to fall by the wayside, lumped into other general campaigns.
This probably is a mistake. Those few groups that do target men as potential donors find that while men give to fewer causes than women do, they give more to those causes they support — and there are some proven ways to make your work their cause.
Men love to compete, and this can work to the advantage of any nonprofit. A January 2006 study conducted by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Indiana University found that donors were more likely to make larger gifts if they knew a person of the same sex had given a significant amount.
“Women tend to give from compassion; men give from competition,” says Shelley Serdahely, executive director for the social change organization Men Stopping Violence. “We establish leadership in the campaign when targeting men.”
For example, her organization recently solicited from a group of mostly male attorneys for a legal aid grant. Serdahely and her team invited the highest partners from the biggest firms to sit on MSV’s leadership council. They made sure those leaders were at every meeting so they were visible as part of the campaign. Serdahely felt the campaign was successful because it put law firms in competition with each other.
“Men understand the power of philanthropy,” says Joan Mazzotti, executive director for Philadelphia Futures, a nonprofit organization that provides urban high-school students the opportunity to go to college. “They make strategic gifts to better their business. I hate to characterize by gender, but business people (men or women) want to support organizations that have a record of success, and are able to quantify their result and performance.