Women’s Philanthropy Can Feel Messy – but It Works!


“Messy.” In my work of women’s philanthropy, lately this is the word that keeps coming up over and over again, so I know there is a deeper idea emerging. I saw this happen with the word “grapple,” and now fundraisers echo that word back to me when they are dealing with challenging issues. So, I’m […]

Mighty Oaks from Little Acorns Grow

Oak Tree

I remember presenting about women’s philanthropy at a general fundraising conference in 2012. I felt deflated after the session ended. First – there were only 20 people in the room set for 75, when other tracks had people spilling out the doors. This was an analog version of Facebook “likes” and my topic clearly wasn’t […]

Trust is Critical for Women’s Philanthropy

Of the five trends that the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) shared for 2022 and beyond, one jumped out at me: Trust-based philanthropy. Jeannie Sager, WPI Director, noted that based on their research, Trust is a 6th T and should be added to the five that represent the holistic approach taken by many women philanthropists. It […]

Focus groups accelerate women’s giving

Why did Tufts University conduct 9 focus groups of women stakeholders this year, while Bowdoin College did 5 early this summer, Furman University did 6 last year and Elon University is about to conduct 4 this fall? They know the power of deeply listening to women’s feedback to learn what resonates with all those who […]

Significant Resources Grow from Women’s Philanthropy

I recently caught up with a well-known fundraising consultant who has been in business for three decades or more. He asked about my work with women’s philanthropy. When I mentioned the significant increase in the number of organizations wanting to learn how to grow support from women, he quickly dismissed the efforts and said: I […]

The Fifth Principle grows donations and engagement in surprising ways

grows donations

In early 2006, right after an unprecedented response to Hurricane Katrina, a change in leadership, and deep budget concerns, the chair of the American Red Cross Board, Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, proposed a bold idea to begin an annual women’s giving program with an ask of $10,000 per year. This proposal was met with incredulity – how […]

The Power of
Leadership Champions

Women Leadership Champion Philanthropy

The President of a large Midwest state university recently called his Vice President of Advancement. “Tell me more about our focus on women’s philanthropy. It sure has our Board chair excited.” It turns out that the Board chair had cornered the President at a meeting and was sharing his enthusiasm about the potential of engaging […]

Deep Listening Will Grow Women’s Support

grow women's support

The second of six key principles that make women’s philanthropy work is “Women’s Input is Key.” Furman University (a mid-sized liberal arts university in South Carolina) took this to heart and has had extraordinary early results. They invited 21 accomplished women for an initial conversation about growing women’s support for Furman and have since increased […]

How to Stop Frustrating Our Women Donors

Recently the CEO of a national company shared with a colleague that his wife makes the contribution to a local nonprofit, but he keeps getting the thank-you letter. He said, “They keep on doing this and they keep on making her mad.  There’s no doubt this will make us stop giving.” In the same week, […]

What Is Uniquely Mine to Do?

Focus on women's philanthropy and inclusion

I’m deeply worried and feeling overwhelmed. The COVID-19 variants keeps me second guessing any in-person visits, the fires, heat and flooding underscore that climate change affects us all but particularly those most impoverished, and the chasms in our economic recovery continue to affect women, especially women of color, more severely and disproportionately. How do I, […]