The Philanthropy Happiness Report: New Research from Women’s Philanthropy Institute

10/17/2017 04:08 pm ET Updated Oct 17, 2017

Today at Foundation For The Carolinas in Charlotte, North Carolina, Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) released Women Give 2017. This groundbreaking research explores the powerful connection between charitable giving and life satisfaction.

IUPUI Women's Philanthropy Institute

The findings of the “Philanthropy Happiness Report” are fascinating and highly relevant both to donors and to nonprofit organizations seeking their support. The key takeaways shared by Dr. Debra Mesch, the director of WPI, include:

  • Giving makes us happy. Giving to nonprofits and other charitable organizations has a direct positive relationship with life satisfaction. “The more a household gives as a percentage of income, the higher the household’s life satisfaction.”
  • Giving makes us ALL happy. This positive relationship did not change across marital status demographics.
IUPUI Women's Philanthropy Institute

  • Changes in giving habits affect men and women differently. The gender demographic did show change. An increase in life satisfaction comes for single males when they become donors; for single and married women, the increase rises as their giving levels rise.
IUPUI Women's Philanthropy Institute

  • When women drive charitable decisions, more giving means higher satisfaction. Having a female either in charge of or involved in charitable decision-making translates to an increase in life satisfaction as the percentage of household income given to charity increases.
IUPUI Women's Philanthropy Institute

WPI selected Charlotte to host the national launch of Women Give 2017 in large part because the community has emerged as an epicenter for women’s leadership in philanthropy. The rocket fuel for this trend is Women’s Impact Fund, which maximizes women’s leadership in philanthropy by engaging and educating its (soon 500!) members, increasing charitable contributions and strengthening the community through the impact of collective giving.

Charlotte philanthropic leaders gratefully welcomed WPI because the Opportunity Task Force report spells out in unambiguous terms our city’s challenges. The community’s nonprofit organizations will play a key role in efforts to create new pathways for economic mobility. WPI’s Women Give series empowers philanthropists with self-awareness and equips nonprofits to inspire the generosity required to achieve Charlotte’s audacious goals.

<strong>Panelists at the Women Give 2017 launch. </strong>L to R: <strong>Liz Simmons</strong> (civic leader), <strong>Hugh M
Adrienne Penta
Panelists at the Women Give 2017 launch. L to R: Liz Simmons (civic leader), Hugh McColl (Bank of America, retired), Michael Marsicano (Foundation For The Carolinas), Carnelia Ivory (Charlotte City Council, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools), Melissa Bodford (uBack) and Will Alston (Wells Fargo).

Michael Marsicano, president & CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas, said it best when highlighting the relevance of the Women Give 2017 research to the Charlotte community, declaring, “We are not generous because we are happy; we are happy because we are generous!”

For updates on nonprofit law and trends in philanthropy, please follow me on Twitter at @Dianne_C_Bailey.

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