Keys to Successful Women's Philanthropy

These six principles have proven to hold true across all thriving women’s philanthropy models.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.