The size and frequency of gifts given by women is changing as well. “Women are becoming more comfortable with making multi-year commitments in ways that they hadn’t done before,” Hall says. In the past, she says, women have shied away from giving multi-year gifts and making large promises to organizations, most likely because they were less in control of their finances.
In terms of which causes women give to, Hall says for the most part the 140 or so members of the Women Donors Network donate primarily to charities devoted to empowering, educating and providing health and social services to girls and women. And women as donors tend to be more concerned, on the whole, with disenfranchised populations.
A key to securing first-time and lasting donations from women donors, no matter your organization’s mission, is a quality donor relationship. “It’s not going to be a quick sort of sell like it very often has been to men in the past,” Hall says. “You really have to cultivate a relationship.” This involves giving women the opportunity to get to know the organization, showing donors that you respect their ideas and acknowledging their more-than-likely interest in being active in some way with the organization.
“It’s a longer cultivation process, but the payoff is very high because once you have a loyal donor, she’s around for a long time,” Hall says.
One organization that has donor relationships with women down is the San Francisco-based Global Foundation for Women, a grant-making foundation supporting women’s human rights organizations around the world. GFW, Hall says, doesn’t distinguish between a donor who gives $100 and a donor who gives $100,000.
“Everybody’s a donor,” she adds. “They have incredible follow-through and ongoing contact with members by phone, by mail, frequent meetings, they do donor trips. They have donors involved in every aspect of the organization, they have a very active board. They are really very vibrantly involved with their members, and you can become as actively involved or as little involved as you want.”