New data finds that having an entrepreneurial mindset plays a bigger role in charitable giving than gender

Entrepreneurs of all genders are more charitably-inclined than non-entrepreneurs

Male entrepreneurs focus on “making an impact” or “leaving a legacy,” while women focus on specific issue areas

Women are more likely to see volunteering as an opportunity to build leadership skills 

BOSTON, November 19, 2019 – Both male and female entrepreneurs report higher rates of charitable giving than their non-entrepreneur peers, shedding light on how the entrepreneurial mindset can be a major driver of charitable activity. While entrepreneurs of all genders give similar amounts to charity and spend similar time volunteering, a few key differences exist in the motivation and implementation of their philanthropic efforts, according to a survey analysis released today by Fidelity Charitable®, an independent public charity and the nation’s largest grantmaker.

“The hands-on, results-driven mindset of entrepreneurs carries over to their charitable giving,” said Pamela Norley, President, Fidelity Charitable. “While men and women at large might have different ways of giving back, entrepreneurs of all genders tend to approach charitable giving and volunteering with similar generosity and personal involvement.”

The analysis, a supplement to a broader study of entrepreneurs as philanthropists, examines, through a lens of gender, how entrepreneurs with businesses of $1 million or more in revenue approach philanthropy. While non-business-owning men and women often diverge in their attitudes and behaviors around charitable giving, entrepreneurs of both genders are largely even in their involvement in giving back.

This indicates that the attitudes and motivations that align with becoming a successful entrepreneur are more influential than gender in the way a person approaches philanthropy. However, nuances exist in male and female entrepreneurs’ motivation behind giving, along with awareness about the ability to donate privately-held stock to charity.

  • Male and female entrepreneurs tend to approach giving with different goals in mind.  While both men and women say they would like to leave money to charity after they are gone, their motivations vary: two thirds of women mention a specific cause they would like to support, compared to only one third of men, while 44 percent of men say that they want to leave a legacy or make an impact, compared to only a quarter of women.

Graphic showing that similar percentages of men and women entrepreneurs wish to leave money to charity after they’re gone, but they have different motivations for doing so.

  • Male and female entrepreneurs spend an average of 7.5 and 7.3 hours each month volunteering, respectively. However, while women entrepreneurs value volunteering as a way to develop leadership skills, men are more likely to see it as a reputation boost. 

Graphic showing that men and women entrepreneurs spend similar amounts of time volunteering, but value different professional benefits of doing so.

  • Women are more likely to say that they’re going to exit their business in the next five years. However, they’re significantly less likely to be aware of some of the key strategies that could help them maximize their impact and charitable giving. Seventy-nine percent of male entrepreneurs said they are aware of the strategy of donating private equity directly to charity—compared to only 60 percent of female entrepreneurs.

Graphic showing that similar percentages of men and women entrepreneurs plan to exit their business in the next five years, but fewer women are aware that they could donate private equity from their business to charity to potentially eliminate capital gains tax.

For additional detail on the study and reporting methodology, visit www.fidelitycharitable.org/articles/giving-similarities-outweigh-differences-men-women-entrepreneurs.html.


About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 294,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $40 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to grow the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving accessible, simple and effective. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit https://www.fidelitycharitable.org.

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