Philanthropic Motivations of Female Donors to Virginia's 4-H Program

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Virginia Tech

Economic uncertainty and heightened competition for money among nonprofits has necessitated more efficient and effective resource development programs. Despite the many significant contributions of female donors, women's philanthropy has been largely unrecognized. Women have been left out of the majority of research on philanthropy, thus traditional male-based models of fundraising may not translate well with female prospects because of gender differences in giving.

This study examined motivating factors that led women to donate to nonprofit organizations, specifically the Virginia 4-H program. The study explored 32 female donors' motivations for giving, factors that impacted their satisfaction with giving, and motivating factors that resulted in repeat donations and giving at higher levels. The qualitative methodology combined focus groups and a validation questionnaire to determine themes that explain the multi-faceted nature of fundraising and the complexity of exploring and understanding female donor behavior. Results of this study are consistent with the six Cs of female philanthropy as proposed by Shaw and Taylor (1995), and findings corroborate other literature on female philanthropy. Expanding the six Cs to include compassion and community may provide more definitive answers to motivational factors impacting female philanthropy.

Knowledge of these variables will enable the Virginia 4-H Foundation Board of Directors to refine development efforts by implementing a development plan that respects altruistic characteristics of both men and women. Additionally, the findings contribute to the growing literature on female donors, an acknowledged need.

Development, 4-H Foundation, Philanthropy, Focus Groups, Fundraising