[FREE WHITE PAPER] Women & Giving: A Marketing Roadmap

Do genders give differently? How can I optimize my planned giving marketing to speak to my donors’ needs more personally? Does my nonprofit need to segment marketing approaches by gender?

These are important questions to ask in our industry. As personalization becomes more crucial in charitable giving communications, we must consider psychographic and demographic contrasts in our audience—including gender.

The Stelter Company’s most recent research, Women & Giving: A Marketing Roadmap, showcases the differences that surface between men and women as reported in NMI’s Healthy Aging Database® studies—differences related to giving, finances and self-image. Inside, you will find:

  • Financial circumstances unique to women
  • Women’s attitudes and behaviors toward charitable giving
  • Gender differences related to planned giving
  • Women’s outlook on life issues
  • Recommendations for marketing to women

I’m here today to share some findings that can help your nonprofit’s planned giving marketing program. Keep reading for 3 recommendations for marketing planned giving to women. But first, let’s look at 3 financial circumstances unique to women.

3 Circumstances Unique to Women

1. Women are more likely than men to view their situation with uncertainty and/or worry.

About a third of women say the terms “worrier” (36%) and “stressed” (35%) apply to them. A plurality (44%) say they don’t know whether they will have enough money to meet all of their financial obligations after retirement, with another one in five saying they definitely will not.

2. Women’s economic circumstances are more precarious than the average man’s.

Women are nearly twice as likely as men to live alone because of divorce or the death of a spouse, nearly half have no more than a high school degree and nearly half have annual household incomes of less than $50,000. Not quite half of women can say they are even somewhat satisfied with having enough money to retire, and only a few more are satisfied with their financial health, which may discourage them from making a commitment to an organization.

3. The physical and financial consequences of aging are more likely to weigh on women than men.

Concerns about becoming a burden, not being able to take care of oneself and being forced to leave their homes show up more frequently among women than men in this study. That connects thematically with women’s higher propensity to worry about running out of money in their later years.

5 Recommendations for Marketing Planned Giving to Women

A constellation of circumstances—lower levels of educational attainment, higher proportions of divorce/widowhood, lower average household income and net worth—shapes women’s attitudes and behaviors toward planned giving. Concerns about aging, financial stability and adequate retirement savings create a cloud of vulnerability over many women.

This environment creates practical hurdles for planned giving professionals to confront in their bid to encourage women to participate in planned giving in greater numbers. Here are 5 considerations:

1. You don’t need to tailor separate approaches by gender most of the time

When questioned about the motivations and mechanisms for making a planned gift, men and women respond similarly. Both genders express the highest interest in honoring a family member by making tribute gifts. Tax and ongoing income benefits appeal strongly to only about one in ten of each gender, with virtually no variation between the two.

2. Provide an introductory explanation of estate planning and giving options

Depending on the demographics of the target list, keep in mind that more women may be in the education stage of their donor journey, as opposed to the conversion stage. (Find out more about the donor journey here.)

3. Alleviate fears of economic insecurity

In light of women’s higher tendency to express concern about having enough resources in their post-retirement years, planned giving professionals may do well to educate women about revocable gifts and how to structure giving to make the best use of individual assets. Look for ways to address fears that resources won’t be available if their health or finances decline unexpectedly.

  •  Emphasize options that allow women to donate a percentage of the remainder of their estate.
  • Show practical examples of how even small donations from people of all wealth levels can make a difference.

BONUS: Uncover 2 more recommendations for marketing planned giving to women in our report.


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