How Households Make Giving Decisions


For decades, fundraisers have been trying to understand some of the differences in philanthropic giving between men and women. And, while much remains to be studied regarding same-sex families, women in heterosexual households have increasing financial power. It is a crucial element in understanding decision-making about giving across households.

In today’s episode, you’ll learn more about that process as you listen to Jeannie Sager and Jacqueline Ackerman of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, part of the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, talk about this year’s Women Give report. They explain what they were hoping to understand from the research, how it compares to previous years, and how the conversations couples have about philanthropy can affect their giving.

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Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • The history of research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute
  • The focus of the Women Give 2021 report
  • What the Women’s Philanthropy Institute was hoping to understand from the research
  • The changing roles of women’s influence in household financial decisions
  • The categories of giving decisions in a household
  • Results of their survey
  • How current joint and sole decision-making stacks up next to those decision-making choices 15 years ago
  • How couples talking about giving affects their giving
  • What was surprising in this year’s report


Jeannie Sager

Jacqueline Ackerman

Women Give 2021: How Households Make Giving Decisions

Women’s Philanthropy Institute


“Joint giving is still the norm.”

“Most households seem satisfied with the way they make giving decisions.”

“Having robust conversations about giving results in robust giving.”