Fidelity Charitable study shows millennial women are changing the giving landscape, baby boomer women more satisfied

Women and Giving breaks down the differences in how generations view philanthropy; Study also highlights the differences between how men and women give

BOSTON, May 9, 2017 – Millennial women are listening to their hearts and their social networks as they embrace new ways of giving, but Boomer women are more strategic and satisfied, according to a new study by Fidelity Charitable. In time for Mother’s Day, the 2017 Women and Giving study, released today, examines attitudes, strategies and priorities around giving across generations and gender.

Fidelity Charitable donors Cindy and Gabriela Citrone are a perfect example of how two generations of philanthropists interact and benefit from one another. The mother and daughter echo many of the report findings in their own approach to philanthropy, while also demonstrating best practices for generating impact.

Cindy Citrone always saw philanthropy as an integral part of imparting her values to her children —an approach she learned from her own parents. As she taught her children these values, her giving evolved. She took an idealistic view to giving in her 20s but chose to be more focused and metrics forward as she matured as a philanthropist.

“In my early 20s we were young and idealistic. Every cause was equal, every cause was important and, of course, we wanted to do everything. We began spending more time looking at missions and metrics and realized that each organization was different, even if they were trying to solve the same problem. Now, when I give, I really want to be a part of the direction, I want to be a part of the impact,” said Cindy Citrone.

She has learned at least one way to drive impact from her daughter.

“My generation chooses to give quietly. My daughter is incredibly vocal on social media, bringing people together to a cause. She is teaching me how to make social media a part of my giving,” Cindy said, on helping to drive collaboration between nonprofits.

Gabriela Citrone, a senior in college, has already completed internships at numerous nonprofits that include the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The Pink Agenda, to name only a few. She credits her mother for teaching her how to focus on specific causes.

“My mom goes above and beyond for the causes and charities that she’s involved with and that has really shaped the way that I give, always looking to push myself —from donations to volunteering,” said Gabriela Citrone. “I definitely learned more about due diligence, risk scans and investigating everything I can about organizations I might support.”

Different generations of women give in different ways

Millennial women are modernizing giving, updating the approach of their Baby Boomer predecessors.

This social generation is more likely to talk about their giving and encourage others to support the causes they care about. In addition, Millennial women support a wider range of causes than Baby Boomers and are more likely than Boomers to use new forms of giving, such as crowdfunding and giving circles. Seventy-five percent of Millennial women said they are more likely to lead with their hearts than their heads when it comes to their giving, compared to 62% of Baby Boomer women.

Baby Boomer women, in contrast, are more strategic in their philanthropy, give to fewer causes—and report higher satisfaction. Fifty-five percent of Millennial women say they are satisfied and happy with their giving compared to 72% percent of Baby Boomer women. These differences suggest that a more focused approach to philanthropy could lead to a higher level of satisfaction among women donors over time.

“Our study shows that a commitment to giving back is a thread that runs through women’s lives. Giving is a tremendous source of fulfilment as you discover how to best put your time, talent and treasure to work to make a difference,” said Pamela Norley, president of Fidelity Charitable. “It’s also a reminder of how much we can learn from each other that can help us grow our impact.”

Men and women also give differently

Women are more spontaneous and empathetic, and are likely to give to more sectors than men. For instance, 64% of women say they are motivated by their heart (vs. head) when it comes to giving decisions, compared to 53% of men. Women, who prefer to use experts to inform their decision-making, are more confident than men when it comes to which charities to support. However, men are more confident than women when it comes to decisions about more of the financial aspects of giving, such as which tax strategies to use.

Fidelity Charitable has created guides for Millennial and Boomer women based on findings in the study to help each generation maximize their giving and find greater fulfilment.

2017 Women and Giving full report (PDF)

Giving tips for Baby Boomer women

Gving tips for millennial women

Key findings on the generational differences among women:

  • 75% of Millennial women said they follow their hearts when giving.
  • 55% of Millennial women support a wide variety of causes, compared to 33% of Boomer women.
  • 51% of Millennial women encourage others to donate to the same causes, compared to 30% of Boomer women.
  • 72% of Boomer women say they are satisfied with their giving, compared to 55% of Millennial women.
  • 63% of Millennial women report being torn between a desire to make a charitable donation and the need to hold on to money for personal needs, compared to 41% of Boomer women.

Key findings on the differences between men and women:

  • 64% of women are motivated by their heart (vs. head) when it comes to giving decisions, compared to 53% of men.
  • 51% of women are often motivated to give in the moment (vs. being strategic), compared to 40% of men.
  • 73% of women are confident about which charities to support, while only 40% are confident about which tax strategies or methods to use for giving.
  • 62% of men are confident about which charities to support, while 52% are confident about which tax strategies or methods to use for giving.

About Fidelity Charitable

Fidelity Charitable is an independent public charity that has helped donors support more than 219,000 nonprofit organizations with more than $25 billion in grants. Established in 1991, Fidelity Charitable launched the first national donor-advised fund program. The mission of the organization is to further the American tradition of philanthropy by providing programs that make charitable giving simple, effective, and accessible. For more information about Fidelity Charitable, visit

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