Side Note

Men love being philanthropic — if they can get something in return

Recently, a Chapman University study found that men are more likely than women to prioritize personal enrichment over group well-being. Now, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University has noticed a similar trend with their philanthropic spending habits: Men are more likely to give money to causes where they can get something in return.



The study randomly sampled 1,435 upper-income households to see how gender, income, and educational background influence giving — especially when it comes to investing in for-profit companies that specialize in promoting social good, which the study refers to as “impact investing.” While women and men were roughly as likely to participate in impact investing on the whole, 18.9% of men surveyed did so “in place of some or all charitable giving,” as opposed to only 11.5% of women. Similarly, the study found that among married couples who engaged in some form of philanthropic spending, households “where the husband alone made charitable decisions were significantly more likely than other couples to make impact investments in place of charitable giving.”

In other words, men were more likely to shell out money for a cause with the expectation of a financial benefit, instead of just shelling out money for a cause. Debra Mesch, the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, summed up the study’s findings to Fast Company: “The motivations for women to engage in philanthropy are more altruistic versus men who see engagement as somehow helping themselves as well.”