Men and women look at philanthropy differently, study says

In comparison to men, women are stronger believers in an individual’s ability to effect positive change, more likely to believe that supporting a cause creates a sense of purpose and meaning in life, and more likely to actively support a cause, according to a recent study.

The study, which analyzed responses to an online survey completed by 2,000 Americans, was prepared by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication, paid for by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and released last week.

The study shows that men tend to take a more cynical view of philanthropy than women do; men are more likely to look at supporting a cause as a fad and less likely to associate a sense of community and pride with supporting a cause. And though more than 4 in 10 Americans are actively involved in supporting a cause, men make up a significantly lower number of those volunteers than women do.

Men and women both list feeding the hungry and supporting the troops as being of paramount importance to them, but women are more likely than men to support youth-related causes like ending bullying and preventing childhood obesity.

Both sexes agree that donating money, learning more about a cause, and talking about it with others are good ways to participate in philanthropy. Women, however, are much more likely than men to get involved by donating clothing and other personal items, and volunteering their time in support of causes.

Women are also more likely to get involved with causes via social media, and more likely to believe that social media helps raise awareness and makes it easier to support causes. And Women are more likely than men to support a company if that company contributes to a cause they care about.

If you’re interested in how other groups of people compare when it comes to charitable giving, keep an eye out for other components, which the study’s sponsors will release in the near future, on the following schedule:

May 31 — Cause Involvement by Ethnicity

June 13 — Cause Involvement by Generation

June 30 — Cause Involvement and Behavior Change

Do these results surprise you? What do you think the breakdown will be for the upcoming categories?

-Erin

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