Philanthropy and the Impact of the Pandemic on Giving

A recent study by Fidelity Charitable, a public charity that helps donors maximize the effectiveness of their donations through an advised fund, illuminates the noteworthy impact the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on giving, specifically among women.

The study was conducted by the independent research firm, Artemis Strategy Group on behalf of Fidelity Charitable and began in March of 2020, with a sample of 3,055 philanthropic individuals who gave at least $1,000 to charity in the previous year. In January of 2021, another sample of 830 philanthropic individuals satisfying the same requirements was instructed to take many of the same survey questions as the initial group. The goal here was to detect any possible shifts in donor rationales due to the pandemic and other events of 2020.

The key findings of the study shed light on the pandemic’s strong impact on the mindsets of philanthropic people. Among what the study classified as young women (21-41 years old), half of the participants said that the pandemic has made charitable giving a bigger priority in their lives. While this group felt the strongest about the pandemic’s impact, 31% of Gen X women (41-56 years old) and 25% of Baby Boomer (57-75 years old) women felt the same way.

It is important to note that men in the study also shared this sentiment. Approximately 84% of men in the study said that “charitable giving is a significant or pretty important part of my life” in 2021. This compares to 75% of men who said this in 2020.

The study also highlights the difference in the way women and men give back. Women are more likely to engage in things like volunteering, non-financial donations, and patronizing socially responsible businesses. Motivations also vary among men and women, with women caring more about creating positive social change. Among the women, 84% said that they are “passionate about creating positive social change,” compared to 72% of men. Similarly, 82% of women said, “I wish I could be doing more to create positive social change,” compared to 80% of men.

Men on the other hand, were more likely to give for reasons like tax incentives, expectations, or because they feel an obligation to do so, when compared to women. The study suggests that this could indicate “a higher likelihood that men take a head-based approach to philanthropy, while women focus more fully on heart-based reasons for giving.”

Men are also more likely to have made impact investments, financial contributions to business ventures without expectations of repayment, or funded microloans, when compared to women. These findings might be linked or impacted by another interesting discovery of the finding: that men are more likely to have talked to a financial advisor about charitable planning. Of the men surveyed, 20% indicated that they had spoken with an advisor, compared to 14% of women.

To learn more about the study, please visit Fidelity Charitable at

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