Women Take the Lead in Baby Boomer Philanthropy, Study Says


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The “silver tsunami” is upon us. In this case, it’s not a big wave caused by an earthquake. It is the age when the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire in droves across America. Every day over 10,000 people reach 65 years of age in our country. Non-profit organizations and foundations have been preparing for years to fund initiatives around aging. Why? The onslaught of aging adults brings a dramatic increase in need for health and human services on top of a recovering US economy. While this “silver tsunami” may be overwhelming, PMA wants to share some good news with you. Baby Boomer women are ready to lead in philanthropy.

In a new study released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, women in the Baby Boomer generation and even older groups gave more to non-profit organizations than men in the same age bracket. In fact, women were more likely to give than men when education, income and other factors affecting giving were equal. Even though women have less money in retirement, they have a greater life expectancy, which opens up new doors of philanthropy. Those who live longer have more chances to lead, volunteer, give and share the message of generosity with others.

This is not only a national conversation but also one happening on our back door step. In May 2012, members of the PMA team attended a Charlotte Leave A Legacy event that was titled, “Women in Philanthropy.” The entire event focused on the growing impact of women in philanthropy, and it highlighted several female leaders in the Charlotte community who had taken bold steps to increase available opportunities for women across the board. We enjoyed hearing Sue Worrel of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Charlotte, Mary Lou Babb of the Women’s Impact Fund, Stephanie Stenglein of Community School of the Arts and Elaine Lyerly of the Lyerly Agency offer their own experiences and advice to women in philanthropy. The group also challenged every attendee to review their own fundraising efforts and focus on bringing more gender balance into their plans.

As a non-profit leader, what are you doing to prepare for the “silver tsunami” and the increased leadership of women in philanthropy? PMA encourages every non-profit to conduct an assessment of their development platforms and create new ways to engage Baby Boomers and women. Take the time to understand and learn how to engage every generation in your donor relations. One of our many services at PMA is development assessment, structure and strategy. Our development assessments include a complete review of your organization’s earned and contributed income streams, partnerships, leadership and messaging. PMA also works to gain a thorough understanding of your organization’s strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats via stakeholder interviews and facilitated sessions. In this process, we present findings from outreach and research to leadership as a way to prepare for planning activities.

Let us help you bring more gender balance to your fundraising today. For more information about PMA’s services, please contact Josh Jacobson, our Managing Director, at jj@pattonmcdowell.com.

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Categories: Fundraising & Philanthropy, Nonprofit

Author:pattonmcdowell

Patton McDowell & Associates is a consulting firm dedicated to helping nonprofits and charitable foundations achieve their goals. We maximize an organization’s resources and help it achieve strategic efficiency.

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