The Principles that Make Women’s Philanthropy Work.

Six principles have emerged to describe successful women’s philanthropy.

Organizations who strategically employ these six principles when working with those that identify as women are achieving their goals faster, and are realizing increased and multi-pronged philanthropic investment from this critical constituent group.

These principles work, and are fundamental tenets that serve as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior. Together they invigorate philanthropy programs and solidify a program’s ability to thrive.

The 6 key principles to successful
women’s philanthropy

The 6 key principles to successful women’s philanthropy

1. Strategy begins with insight.

Pausing to learn, while seemingly counter-intuitive, is essential to gain the awareness that effective strategy is dependent upon. Successful organizations resist the urge to jump in, and instead pause to review industry research, their own donor data, and how their practices could better resonate with donors.

2. Women’s input is key.

The most valuable insights come from donors themselves. Successful organizations ask women about their motivations, preferences, and goals. Organizations that intentionally solicit input discover that women share ideas and strategies that can accelerate fundraising.

3. Women give more than money.

Women embrace a broad definition of philanthropy. In addition to finances, they bring their talents, time, networks, and voice to the causes they care about. Successful organizations engage women donors, volunteers, and leaders in ways that acknowledge this holistic approach to philanthropy.

4. Leadership involvement is pivotal.

Successful organizations have leadership involvement that fundamentally alters the path and scope of success. Organizational decision makers control the vision, strategic priorities, and ability to move resources that allow for real transformation and big outcomes.

5. Starting reveals the path forward.

Successful organizations realize they are creating something new with few precedents, so they start with a first initiative. They know that the success of their initial women’s philanthropy effort opens up awareness of other areas where women’s support can help their mission flourish.

6. The work is evolutionary.

Successful organizations know this work is not a “program” with a singular end game. Over time, they integrate practices that lead to significant cultural shifts that engage all donors. This results in more diverse partners and funding to achieve their desired impact.

Organizations that have integrated and fully embraced the power of these principles into their fundraising ethos have seen vastly increased philanthropic investment and constituent engagement.

Join us to take the first step in grappling with ways to increase the immense support that those who identify as women can bring to your important mission.

I’d love to share case studies and insights on how to apply these principles in your organization, so please join our email list.

Or, if you want to know my background and how I came to be an expert in this topic, click here.

“Kathleen was a terrific resource and asset to us as we launched our planning for William & Mary’s Women & Philanthropy initiative. She was instrumental in guiding us through the planning and research stage and then helped us to formulate our strategic plan based on our findings and goals. The real test has been over time. The plan she helped us to create did not sit on a shelf. It has guided our work and resulted in outcomes far beyond what we thought we could achieve. We consider her a vital partner in the success of our work to date.”

Valerie Cushman
Senior Director, Alumni Engagement & Inclusion Initiatives, William & Mary

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